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John Avlon

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John Avlon
John avlon pic.jpg
Avlon in North Carolina, January 2012
Born John Phillips Avlon
1973 (age 42–43)
Alma mater Yale University
Columbia University[1]
Occupation Author, columnist
Spouse(s) Margaret Hoover (m. 2009)

John Phillips Avlon (born 1973) is an American journalist and political commentator who is the editor in chief of The Daily Beast[2] and a CNN political analyst.[3] He is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics,[4] which critically appraises both traditional American centrism and the more recent radical centrism. He is also the author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.[5] Former President Bill Clinton said that the book Wingnuts "offers a clear and comprehensive review of the forces on the outer edges of the political spectrum that shape and distort our political debate. Shedding more heat than light they drive frustrated alienated citizens away from the reasoned discourse that can produce real solutions to our problems."[6] Avlon has also been a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and worked as chief speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Early life and education

Avlon is the son of Dianne Alexander (Phillips) and John Jeffrey Avlon, a lawyer, of South Carolina.[7] He is of Greek descent.[8] He was educated at Milton Academy (also known as Milton), a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts, and received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.[9] Avlon was the youngest and longest-serving speechwriter in the Giuliani Administration as well as Deputy Communications Director. His work included helping prepare the Mayor's State of the City Addresses for 1999 through 2001.


Avlon has lectured at Yale University, NYU, the Citadel, the Kennedy School of Government, and the State Department’s visiting journalist program. He was Director of Speechwriting and Deputy Policy Director for Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.[10] He was also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.[11] He is an advisory board member of the Citizens Union of New York, Bronx Academy of Letters and the Theodore Roosevelt Association.[12] In September of 2014, one year after Avlon became editor in chief, The Daily Beast reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors - a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community.[13]


He has appeared on The Daily Show,[14] CNN, MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher,[15] PBS, and C-SPAN. He created and hosted the "Wingnut of the Week" segment on CNN.[16] Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker wrote that "Americans who are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate, and are looking for someone to articulate a common sense middle path, may have found their voice in John Avlon."[17] In a profile, author Stephen Marshall wrote “Avlon talks about politics the way ESPN anchors wrap up sports highlights.”[18] Avlon appeared on Erin Burnett's OutFront throughout the 2012 election cycle.


Avlon wrote the Newsweek cover-story published on February 28, 2011, "A 21st Century Statesman," after traveling to South Sudan with the actor George Clooney and activist John Prendergast to witness the referendum for independence from the North after two decades of civil war.[19] His essay on the attacks of September 11, The Resilient City was selected to conclude the anthology Empire City: New York Through the Centuries and won acclaim from Fred Siegel, the author of The Future Once Happened Here, as "the single best essay written in the wake of 9/11." The New York Historical Society selected a line from “Resilient City” for inclusion in its permanent documentary exhibit "New York Story,” which Avlon reads in the film.[20]

The National Society of Newspaper columnists honored Avlon for his online column in 2011 with a citation saying "While [Avlon] brings a reporter’s sensibility to his interviews and research, he infuses his accounts with witty judgments that contribute a strong, unapologetic perspective."[21] He won the NSNC award for best online column in 2012.[22]

In 2011, Avlon co-edited the anthology Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns with Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis,[23] earning a starred review from Publishers Weekly prior to publication.[24] In October 2012 "Deadline Artists 2: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs" was released.[25] The Washington Post called Deadline Artists "one of the greatest collections of newspaper articles ever compiled" and saluted DA2 as "an equally superb sequel...may more siblings follow." [26]

During the 2012 presidential election, Avlon was among the first reporters to question whether Rick Santorum, and not Mitt Romney, had actually won the razor-tight Iowa Caucuses (Santorum was declared the victor weeks after the election night tally favored Romney).[27] In 2013, Avlon broke the news that Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which contributed to her decision not to run for re-election two years after running for president.[28]

Political Activism

In 2010, Avlon became a founding leader of No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents[29] whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving.[30] Avlon also belongs to Reshape New York a group that is for redistricting reform and ending partisan gerrymandering by, “proposing an independent, impartial and politically balanced citizens redistricting commission to draw fair district boundaries through a process that allows for ample public input.”[31] He was appointed to the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee in 2011.[32]

Personal life

After the attacks of September 11th, Avlon and his team were responsible for writing the eulogies for all New York City Firefighters,[33] New York City Police Officers, Port Authority Police Officers and other emergency workers killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center. Additionally, he served on the staff of the Bilingual Education Reform Task Force, the City Hall Park Restoration Committee, and the 2001 Charter Revision Commission, which established the Office of Emergency Management as a permanent city agency.

Avlon is married to Margaret Hoover,[7] the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover and author of American Individualism.[34]


  1. ^ "Margaret Hoover, John Avlon". New York Times. November 6, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Daily Beast Hires Executive Editor; Promotes John Avlon to Editor-In-Chief (Updated)". The Wrap. 
  3. ^ "NEW DAY Transcript". CNN. 
  4. ^ Avlon, John (2004). Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics. Harmony Books / Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-5023-9.
  5. ^ Avlon, John (2010). Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America. Beast Books / Perseus Books Group. ISBN 978-0-9842951-1-1.
  6. ^ "Bill Clinton". Editorial Review. 
  7. ^ a b "Margaret Hoover, John Avlon". The New York Times. 2009-11-08. 
  8. ^ [ Displaying Abstract ] (2012-06-10). "Miss Dianne Phillips Wed in Ohio - Article -". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Education - Week Nine Lectures - Chautauqua Institution". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  10. ^ Giuliani aide likened boss to Bill Clinton - Ben Smith -
  11. ^ What Independent Voters Want - Wall Street Journal
  12. ^ Citizens Union - Board Members
  13. ^ "Hadas Gold, "One year after Tina Brown exit, Daily Beast traffic surges," 1 October 2014.". Politico. 
  14. ^ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, April 13, 2005
  15. ^ Real Time with Bill Maher May 15, 2010
  16. ^ SteveK on May 08, 2009 06:15 PM (2009-05-08). "CNN's New "Wingnut" Segment Hits Left and Right - TVNewser". Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  17. ^ "It's not easy seeking political balance in an either-or world". Oakland Tribune. [dead link]
  18. ^ "DuPlain Enterprises". 
  19. ^ "A 21st-Century Statesman". Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Daily Beast's John Avlon Honored". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  22. ^ "NSNC 2012 Award Announcement". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  23. ^ Deadline Artists - About the Editors
  24. ^ "Publishers Weekly Review". Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  25. ^ "New York Journal of Books". Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Oliphant, James (September 26, 2010). "Tired of 'tea party' sniping, moderates organize". Los Angeles Times. 
  30. ^ "Houston ground zero for a radical political movement reaching both Democrats and Republicans". Culture Map Houston. June 2, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Reshape New York Campaign Launch" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  32. ^ "Members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee 2011". Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  33. ^ The Village Voice Blogs, September 9, 2011
  34. ^ "American Individualism by Margaret Hoover". 

External links