Born to a Jewish family, Kirchick attended Yale University and wrote for its student newspaper, the Yale Daily News. He is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington; prior to this he was writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
For over three years, Kirchick worked at The New Republic, covering domestic politics, intelligence, and American foreign policy. While he remains a contributing editor for TNR, Kirchick’s reportage has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The American Interest, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Prospect. He writes frequently for newspapers including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Ha’aretz.
Kirchick has worked as a reporter for The New York Sun, the New York Daily News, and The Hill, and has been a columnist for the New York Daily News and the Washington Examiner. He is a regular book critic and reviews frequently for Azure, Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, Policy Review, and World Affairs, among others. Kirchick is a contributing writer to the Advocate, and has received the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Excellence in Student Journalism Award and the Journalist of the Year Award.
In 2008, Kirchick wrote about newsletters that contained homophobic and racist material, published under the name of Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. The story became prominent in the 2012 presidential election. Sam Stein of the Huffington Post also wrote in an article on the newsletters that there is evidence from old interviews with Ron Paul that he was writing for the newsletter during the period of time that the racist language was being published in his newsletter.
It was later claimed by television station WXIX that Ron Paul was not the author of the newsletter segments which contained the material in question. In their second newscast on the scandal in January 2012, based on information provided by Lew Rockwell who had also worked on the newsletter, WXIX's Reality Check claimed that the offending articles may have been written by one of the freelance writers who were said to have been employed at the time.
Erik Wemple for The Washington Post wrote an article that included Kirchick's response to WXIX's second newscast, where Kirchick implied that the writer of the WXIX article, Ben Swann, was incorrect in his naming of the supposed writer of the "Special Edition on Racial Terrorism".
Ron Paul did not initially deny authorship of the offending material, though he had begun denying it by 2001. He has accepted responsibility for the content regardless of its author, as it was published under his name.
August 2013 RT appearance
After advocating the death penalty for Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning on 30 July 2013 in the Daily News, Kirchick was invited to appear on Russia's RT TV network live panel discussion awaiting Manning's sentencing on Wednesday, 21 August 2013. He accepted; however, once it was his turn to speak, Kirchick refused to discuss Manning's sentencing, instead choosing to protest the Russian LGBT propaganda law. When asked by RT news editor Ivor Crotty if he was ready to have a conversation about Manning with the assembled panel, Kirchick retorted angrily: "RT has been Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden 24/7. I haven't seen anything on your network about the anti-gay laws that have been passed in Russia and the increasing climate of violence and hostility towards gay people". That account was objected by one of the program's hosts who said they had a panel discussing it only the day before. Tweeting shortly after the segment, Kirchik claimed RT "just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport".
Later that day, Politico reached out to both Kirchick and RT for comment. Kirchick called for a "boycott" of RT, calling its employees "not journalists, they're propagandists". RT responded in an e-mail, calling Kirchick's protest "unrelated to the subject of the panel. Regretfully, RT had no other recourse but to continue the discussion without him". The Washington Post PostPartisan blogger Jonathan Capehart commended Kirchick for his "heroic" action; The New Republic's Julia Ioffe praised Kirchick's "trolling of RT"; and the next day, Kirchik's opinion piece titled "Why I ambushed Russia's news network with rainbow suspenders" got published by The Washington Post. In it Kirchik further denounces RT as broadcasting "sophisticated conspiracy theories and “anti-establishment” attitudes to push a virulently anti-American and illiberal agenda" while relying on "a pool of talking heads, including 9/11 truthers, anti-Semites and other assorted extremists, who espouse the sort of views found where the far left and the far right converge". A day later, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell invited Kirchick into his show where they discussed related concerns and controversies at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
2016 presidential elections
Kirchick was one of a number of neoconservatives, along with Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, who supported Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, over the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump for the presidency during the 2016 American presidential elections. He stated that while Clinton stands for the "status quo", Trump was instead a "brashly authoritarian populist."
On August 15, 2016 the Daily Beast published an article by Kirchick which listed Jill Stein, Rania Khalek, Corey Robin, Glenn Greenwald, Ishaan Tharoor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and others as "Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left." Salon's Ben Norton contacted all of those who were mentioned in the article. All of them except for Christopher Ketcham stated they did not support Trump.
- 2006 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Excellence in Student Journalism
- 2007 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Journalist of the Year
- Washington Free Beacon: "Hughes Drops Jews" January 28, 2013
- Downs, Jim; Manion, Jennifer (2004). Taking back the academy!: history of activism, history as activism. Taylor & Francis. p. 115. ISBN 9780203339589. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- . Foreign Policy Initiative. 2013 http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/james-kirchick. Missing or empty
- Staff writer (October 10, 2010). "Gewalt bei erster Belgrader Homosexuellen-Parade". Nachrichten.at. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Brian Montopoli (December 20, 2011). "Ron Paul disavows racist newsletters under his name". CBS News. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Jonathan Chait (December 15, 2011). "News Bulletin: Ron Paul Is a Huge Racist". New York Magazine. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Coppenger, Mark (2011). Moral Apologetics for Contemporary Christians: Pushing Back Against Cultural and Religious Critics. B&H Publishing Group. pp. 214–215. ISBN 9780805464207. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Edwards, Jason A.; Weiss, David (2011). The Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism: Critical Essays. McFarland & Company. p. 11. ISBN 9780786486816. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Staff writer (September 6, 2007). "South Africa: The New Banana Republic of the Free World?". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Sergio Muñoz Bata (December 18, 2008). "Cuando el arte imita a la vida". La Prensa Gráfica. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Andrew Belonsky (October 3, 2006). "Homo Journos Honored". Queerty. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Staff writer (August 30, 2007). "NLGJA Announces 2007 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners & LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame Inductees". National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Sam Stein (December 23, 2011). "Ron Paul Touts Newsletters In 1987 Interview". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- Ben Swann (January 5, 2012). "Reality Check: The story behind the Ron Paul newsletters". Fox19. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Erik Wemple (January 19, 2012). "Cincinnati anchor goes deep on Paul campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- Stein, Sam (December 26, 2011). "Ron Paul, In 1996, 'Did Not Deny' Controversial Statement In Newsletter". Huff Post Politics. The Huffington Post.
- Mark Trumbull (December 29, 2011). "'Racist newsletter' timeline: What Ron Paul has said". CS Monitor. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "Bradley Manning gets off easy". New York Daily News. July 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "Reporter interrupts live broadcast to protest Russia anti-gay laws". The Telegraph (U.K.). August 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Mackey, Robert (August 21, 2013). "American uses Kremlin-financed network to denounce Russia's anti-gay legislation". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Gay reporter James Kirchick kicked off Russia’s RT news network for protesting anti-gay laws, nydailynews.com, August 21, 2013,
- Tweet;21 August 2013
- "Estonian president, Swedes back Kirchick". Politico. August 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "No love for Russia today from Jamie Kirchick". The Washington Post PostPartisan blog. August 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "This Video Proves That Trolling Russia Is Better Than Boycotting It". The Washington Post PostPartisan blog. August 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "Why I ambushed Russia's news network with rainbow suspenders". The Washington Post. August 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- Russia says anti-gay law will not affect Games;Reuters, 22 August 2013
- IOC Statement;IOC, 22 August 2013
- Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell;MSNBC, 23 August 2013
- Another neocon endorses Clinton, calling her “2016’s real conservative” and “the candidate of the status quo” ;Salon.com, 11 November 2016
- Kirchick, James (15 August 2016). "Beware the Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- Norton, Ben (August 17, 2016). "No, they don't support Trump: Smeared left-wing writers debunk the myth". Salon.