Ken Silverstein

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Ken Silverstein

Ken Silverstein is an American journalist who, in September 2010, left his position as Washington editor and blogger at Harper's Magazine, but remained a contributing editor.[1] He resides in Washington, D.C.


Silverstein worked for the Los Angeles Times as an investigative reporter, for The Associated Press in Brazil, and has written for Mother Jones, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Slate, and Salon.[2]

He is a self-described "vole" in the newspaper business, and an opponent of what he considers "false 'balance'" in the news media.[2] In 1993, Silverstein started CounterPunch, a political newsletter. Silverstein left this publication in 1996.

Silverstein previously wrote a regular column for Harper’s Magazine, called Washington Babylon. His last column was in September 2010. Silverstein was also Washington editor for Harper's.[1]

He drew attention in 2007 for a report in which he went undercover as part of an investment group with business interests in Turkmenistan, raising questions about journalistic ethics. Silverstein said that he could not have exposed the willingness of the companies to work with a Stalinist dictatorship using conventional journalism methods.[3][4][5]

In December 2013, Silverstein was hired as senior investigative reporter by First Look Media.[6] In November 2014, Silverstein began writing for First Look's The Intercept. There, Silverstein sparked some controversy for an article critical of the popular NPR podcast, Serial.[7][8][9]

In February 2015, Silverstein announced his resignation from The Intercept in a series of Facebook posts calling his former employers a "pathetic joke". Expressing anger and disillusionment towards the company, Silverstein stated, "I am one of many employees who was hired under what were essentially false pretenses; we were told we would be given all the financial and other support we needed to do independent, important journalism, but instead found ourselves blocked at every step of the way by management's incompetence and bad faith."[10]

Silverstein launched the website Washington Babylon in 2016, for which he is editor-in-chief.[11] The site is named after his previous column at Harper's and the 1996 book he co-wrote with journalist Alexander Cockburn. Silverstein said his goal for Washington Babylon is "to cover DC politicians and journalists like Hollywood celebrities – not the way they are worshiped by our current media masters."[12]



  • Washington Babylon, Verso Books, 1996 (co-authored with Alexander Cockburn)
  • Private Warriors, Verso Books, 2000
  • Washington on $10 Million A Day: How Lobbyists Plunder the Nation, Common Courage Press, 2002
  • The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor, Random House, 2004
  • Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyists Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship, Random House, 2008
  • The Secret World of Oil, Verso, 2014


  1. ^ a b Silverstein, Ken (29 September 2010). "Signing Out". Harper's. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Ken Silverstein". Harper's. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2009-06-16 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Ken Silverstein". PBS. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  4. ^ "In New Expose, Ken Silverstein Goes Undercover to Find Out What US Lobbyists Do For Dictators". Democracy Now. Archived from the original on 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  5. ^ Silverstein, Ken (2007-06-30). "Undercover, under fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  6. ^ Hirsh, Michael (2015-02-27). "Where Journalism Goes to Die". Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  7. ^ Anna Silman (2015-01-11). "The Intercept is trolling Sarah Koenig: Why the site took such a weirdly antagonistic approach to "Serial"". Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  8. ^ "'Serial' Responds to Kevin Urick And 'The Intercept'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  9. ^ "'Serial' fires back at prosecutor's claims". New York Daily News. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  10. ^ "Reporter Burns Every Bridge While Announcing He's Leaving First Look". 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  11. ^ "Washington Babylon (@DCBabylon1) | Twitter". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  12. ^ "About". Washington Babylon. Retrieved 1 May 2017.

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