Jennifer Rubin (journalist)

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Jennifer Rubin
Born1961/1962 (age 57–58)[1]
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA, JD)
OccupationJournalist, lawyer
Known for"Right Turn" blog at The Washington Post

Jennifer Rubin is an American neoconservative[2] journalist[3] who writes the "Right Turn" blog for The Washington Post. Previously she worked at Commentary, PJ Media, Human Events, and The Weekly Standard. Her work has been published in media outlets including Politico, New York Post, New York Daily News, National Review, and The Jerusalem Post.

Early life and education[edit]

Rubin was born to a Jewish family[4] in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, and moved with her family as a child to California in 1968.[5]

She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, finishing first in her class in law school, according to Rubin.[6]


Labor and employment law[edit]

Before moving into opinion writing, Rubin was a labor and employment lawyer in Los Angeles, working for Hollywood studios, for 20 years. She now describes herself as a "recovering lawyer".[7] Commenting on working with her from 2000–05, Hollywood animator and trade union leader Steve Hulett described her to Media Matters as "always funny, with sharp observations. I never got the impression she was anything but a Democrat ... she was mildly critical of some of Kerry's campaign moves during the '04 campaign, but she wasn't in the Bush camp ... it's somewhat startling to me that she is now hard right."[8]


In 2005, she moved to Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She offered a column to The Weekly Standard about Mitt Romney, and continued doing freelance work for two years before joining Commentary.[9]

Rubin's move to The Washington Post in November 2010 became a national news story and was discussed by the media on all sides of the political spectrum, ranging from The American Conservative and The Weekly Standard, to and Slate. In welcoming remarks, The Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote, "her provocative writing has become 'must read' material for news and policy makers and avid political watchers."[10] In 2011, she was included on the list of "50 Most Influential American Jews" by The Jewish Daily Forward.[11] Slate blogger David Weigel called Rubin "one of the right's most prolific online political writers".[12] The Commentary editor John Podhoretz writes of Rubin, "She is a phenomenon, especially considering that for the first two decades of her working life, she was not a writer or a journalist but a lawyer specializing in labor issues."[13]

In August 2013, former Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton criticized Rubin in an open letter from his new desk at the Washington City Paper, saying that he received more complaint emails about Rubin than any other Post employee. Writing that her columns were "at best ... political pornography", he said "Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she's conservative, but because she's just plain bad."[14][15] Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for the Post, responded in a statement to Politico, "I appreciate Patrick's perspective but I think he is quite wrong about Jennifer Rubin. Regular readers of her blog know that she is an indefatigable reporter who is as hard on politicians on the right when she thinks they get things wrong as on the other side."[14]

Political views and commentaries[edit]

Rubin has supported the Likud government in Israel, and has been a critic of Hamas and of the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership.[16]

In November 2011, Rubin retweeted an anti-Hamas blog post that Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton called "reprehensible". Rubin later told Pexton that she endorsed and shared the views in the Post that "expressed an understandable desire for righteous vengeance against the kidnappers and human rights abusers of Gilad Shalit". Pexton said, "in agreeing with the sentiment, and in spreading it to her 7,000 Twitter followers who know her as a Washington Post blogger, Rubin did damage to the Post and the credibility that keeps it afloat."[17] Andrew Sullivan wrote, "we have a blogger at the WaPo endorsing throwing Arab prisoners into the sea to meet righteous divine punishment."[18] Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt defended Rubin, saying, "As a general matter I think it isn't wise for me to comment on the work of the ombudsman, who is entitled to his views, and over whom I do not have editorial control. However, I will say this: I think Jennifer is an excellent journalist and a relentless reporter. I think because she has strong views, and because she is as willing to take on her home team, as it were, as the visitors, she comes under more scrutiny than many and is often the target of unjustified criticism. I think she brings enormous value to the Post."[19]

In 2011, Rubin wrote a blog post suggesting that the 2011 Norway attacks were carried out by Islamic jihadists. Columnist James Fallows of The Atlantic criticized the piece as "rushed" and noted the subsequent discovery that the attack was carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, a native Norwegian who was not a Muslim.[20] Another Atlantic columnist, former Israeli soldier Jeffrey Goldberg, responded that the criticism was unwarranted, noting that other publications such as Wired and even The Atlantic itself had printed similar speculation; Goldberg concluded: "It is not perverse or absurd for normal people to think of al Qaeda when they hear of acts of mass terrorism. It is logical, in fact, to suspect al Qaeda."[21] In a follow-up column, Rubin acknowledged that early suspicions of a jihadist attack had proven to be mistaken.[22]

Criticism of Donald Trump[edit]

Rubin has been one of the most vocal conservative-leaning writers to frequently criticize Donald Trump, as well as the overall behavior of the Republican Party during Trump's term in office. Writing in the Huffington Post, Dr. Munr Kazmir criticized Rubin for being "completely against policies she herself had championed for seemingly no other reason than Trump being in favor of them".[23]

Rubin denounced Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement as "a dog whistle to the far right" and designed to please his "climate-change denial, right-wing base that revels in scientific illiteracy." Previously, after Barack Obama had approved the agreement, Rubin characterized it as "nonsense" and argued that it would not achieve anything. Rubin characterized Trump's 2017 decision to not implement parts of the Iran nuclear deal as the "emotional temper tantrum of an unhinged president." She had previously said that "if you examine the Iran deal in any detail, you will be horrified as to what is in there." Rubin had vocally supported the United States officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Early in his presidency, she criticized Trump for not doing so, saying that it was indicative of his tendency to "never keep his word." She concluded that Trump "looks buffoonish in his hasty retreat." In December 2017, after Trump announced that he would move the embassy, she characterized it as "a foreign policy move without purpose."[24]

Rubin was criticized by Warren Henry of The Federalist for changing her view on John R. Bolton after he was named National Security Advisor of the Trump administration. After Bolton was appointed National Security Advisor, Rubin tweeted that the appointment was a "wake-up call to Rs who always assumed wise, calm advisers would be there to constrain Trump." In December 2016, Rubin had recommended that Bolton be given a high-level position in the State Department, and in 2011 had called on him to run for president.[25] In a tweet referenced by CNN Media, Mike Huckabee questioned Rubin, writing "Jen Rubin is WAPO's excuse for conservative," and adding that Rubin's "contempt for all things Trump exposes her and WAPO as Fake News."[26]

Domestic policy views[edit]

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argued that after the 2012 presidential election, Rubin criticized aspects of the Mitt Romney campaign that she had previously praised, with Friedersdorf insisting that she had acted as "a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate".[27]

In a November 21, 2013, column, Rubin called on the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to end its campaign against same-sex marriage.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Rubin and her husband Jonathan have two sons.[1] She and her husband moved to Oakton, Virginia from Los Angeles in 2005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Ben (October 25, 2011). "Perry's nightmare: WaPo's Rubin". Politico.
  2. ^ Daniel W. Drezner, Who belongs in the anti-Trump coalition?, Washington Post (December 12, 2017): "[Kristol] is hardly the only neoconservative to fall into this category; see, for example, Peter Wehner or Jennifer Rubin."
  3. ^ Friersdorf, Conor (November 8, 2012). "The Right's Jennifer Rubin Problem: A Case Study in Info Disadvantage". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Jewish Journal: "Five heroes of 2016" by Rob Eshman October 19, 2016
  5. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (October 2010). "California, There It Went". Commentary. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Weingarten, Gene. "Gene Weingarten: When Trump plays the Trump card". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Gharib, Ali. "Jennifer Rubin Joins the Mainstream Media". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  8. ^ Zaitchik, Alexander. "The Wash. Post's Jennifer Rubin Divide And The Iraq War". Media Matters. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  9. ^ Jaffe, Harry. "Jennifer Rubin Is Whacking the Lefties", Washingtonian (April 2011)
  10. ^ Don Irvine (November 24, 2010). "WaPo Tilts Right, Hires Conservative Blogger". Accuracy in Media. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "Forward's 50 Most Influential American Jews". Jewish Virtual Library. November 11, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2011.[failed verification]
  12. ^ David Weigel, Punditin' Ain't Easy, The Washington Independent, January 13, 2009.
  13. ^ John Podhoretz, "To Jennifer Rubin, The Fondest of Farewells", Commentary, November 23, 2010.
  14. ^ a b Dylan Byers (August 15, 2013). "Ex-Washington Post ombudsman: 'Fire Jennifer Rubin'". Politico. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  15. ^ Pexton, Patrick. "Ombo Sauce: Advice for Jeff Bezos From the Post's Former In-House Critic". Washington City Paper. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  16. ^ Ben Smith (October 26, 2011). "Erickson: Post blogger is 'Likud', not GOP". Politico. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  17. ^ Patrick B. Pexton (November 7, 2011). "Post Roast: Jennifer Rubin's retweet". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  18. ^ "The WaPo's Israel Problem", Andrew Sullivan, November 14, 2011
  19. ^ "Hiatt defends Rubin after ombud blast", Dylan Byers, Politico, November 8, 2011
  20. ^ James Fallows (July 23, 2011). "The Washington Post Owes the World an Apology for this Item". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  21. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg, "On Suspecting al Qaeda in the Norway Attacks", The Atlantic, July 23, 2011.
  22. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (July 23, 2011). "Right Turn: Evil in Norway". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  23. ^ Kazmir, Munr (December 20, 2017). "Consistency is King.....Or At Least It Should Be". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  24. ^ Cooke, Charles C.W. (December 18, 2017). "Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers". National Review. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  25. ^ Henry, Warren (March 23, 2018). "Jennifer Rubin's Flip-Flop On John Bolton Is Worthy Of Monty Python". The Federalist. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  26. ^ Kludt, Tom. "How Jennifer Rubin went from Romney 'shill' to Trump scourge". CNNMoney. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  27. ^ Friedersdorf, Conor. "The Right's Jennifer Rubin Problem: An Information Disadvantage Case Study". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 8, 2012. [F]or all the months she was acting as America's most reliable Romney sycophant, she actually thought his campaign was bumbling ... she deliberately misled her readers ... [and] is [now] widely perceived as a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate.
  28. ^ Jennifer Rubin (November 21, 2013). "The Marriage Mission". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]