Russ Baker

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For the aviator, see Russ Baker (pilot). For the satirical writer, see Russell Baker.

Russ Baker is an American investigative journalist.[1][2] In 2005, he founded the nonprofit website WhoWhatWhy.[1]

Baker has written for publications including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, Esquire, Slate and Salon, and served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review.[3][4][5] Internationally, his work has appeared in publications such as The Globe & Mail (Canada); The Sunday Times, The Guardian, and The Observer (UK); Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), La Repubblica (Italy), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), and the Sydney Morning Herald.


Baker received an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from UCLA, and has served as a member of the adjunct faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


After graduation from the Columbia School of Journalism, Baker worked as a metro reporter with Newsday in New York City.[6] In 1989, he became a New York correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. He also wrote for the Village Voice in New York, producing cover stories on corruption in the police union,[7] the use of humanitarian international relief as cover for covert operations, and the displacement and destruction of small businesses in New York through massive commercial rent increases.

In the early 1990s, Baker served as a member of the adjunct faculty at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

In 1995 Baker was hired by Fox Television to serve as an investigative producer for a new primetime news magazine show in development. Though the show was ultimately not launched, Baker's report on the efforts of the controversial Church of Scientology to recruit Michael Jackson through Elvis Presley's daughter aired on the program A Current Affair. In 1997, Baker traveled to Germany on assignment for John F. Kennedy Jr.'s George magazine, and produced an article] about a raging battle between Scientology and the German government.[8]

In 1998, Baker produced a story about Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, a leading opponent of President Bill Clinton, for the online magazine Salon.[4] Baker's reporting on Burton received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 1999 Baker traveled to France and became the first journalist to spend time with Ira Einhorn, the so-called Unicorn Killer, who had been 18 years on the lam for the murder of his girlfriend in Philadelphia, and was fighting an extradition process. This story appeared in the December 1999 edition of Esquire and later in an anthology of Esquire articles.[9]

In 2002 he received a U.S. government grant to travel to Belgrade, Serbia and train journalists there in investigative reporting. Baker remained and produced an article on the longtime fugitive Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.[10]

Following the 2004 election, Baker traveled to Ohio to assess allegations that George W. Bush's campaign had stolen the election in that state. Baker examined several specific examples of purported improprieties and irregularities in certain Ohio counties, as well as claims that exit polls proved fraud, and in an article published at the website concluded that the allegations misrepresented the facts.[11]

Baker wrote an article for The Nation critical of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who provided support for the Bush administration's claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.[3] In 2004, he wrote further articles critical of the George W. Bush administration, including controversy over the military record of Bush's opponent John Kerry. Baker examined Bush's own military record and contended that Bush himself had skipped out on two years of service during the Vietnam War.[12] He received a 2005 Deadline Club award for this reporting.[13] Baker has been a speaker at diverse private and public organizations, including many colleges and universities, and has been interviewed many times on radio and television stations, including on C-SPAN, on a number of NPR and PBS affiliate stations, on RT, and on radio stations both in the United States and abroad.

In a January 2015 profile, Boston magazine said that over the past decade, "Baker has abandoned the mainstream media and become a key player on the fringe, walking that murky line between conventional investigative journalist and wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.… It would be a lot easier to dismiss Baker as a nut and move on if it weren’t for his three decades of award-winning investigative-reporting experience."[6]

Family of Secrets[edit]

The cover of "Family of Secrets"
Main article: Family of Secrets

In 2009 Bloomsbury published his book Family of Secrets: the Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. The paperback edition was released in November 2009 under the title Family of Secrets: the Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. The book has been reviewed by many print and electronic journals.

The book, an investigative history of George W. Bush and his family, and the forces Baker contends had propelled them to power, was published by Bloomsbury Press in January 2009 and followed in November in paperback.


Baker is the founder and Editor in Chief of the news website WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit journalism organization whose stated goal is to "uncover and report information about current events that is unavailable from the mainstream media yet is crucial to a well informed citizenry in a democracy."[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Arena Profile: Russ Baker". Politico. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Rutten, Tim (January 7, 2009). "'Family of Secrets' by Russ Baker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b ‘Scoops’ and Truth at the Times”, by Russ Baker, The Nation, June 23, 2003.
  4. ^ a b Portrait of a political ‘pit bull’”, by Russ Baker, Salon, Tuesday, 22 December 1998 03:00 PM EST.
  5. ^ Baker, Russ (May 6, 2002). "I'm The Other Guy". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b Schreckinger, Ben (January 2015). "Boston Isn’t Strong. Boston Is Scared Sh*tless.". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  7. ^ The rogue police union”, by Russ Baker, Village Voice, 7 December 1993 Vol. XXXVIII No. 49.
  8. ^ The clash of the titans”, by Russ Baker, George Magazine, April 1997.
  9. ^ A touch of Eden”, by Russ Baker, Esquire, 1 December 1999, 12:00 AM.
  10. ^ Catch Me if You Can: If snaring Saddam was so important, why is Radovan Karadzic allowed to remain free?”, by Russ Baker, Washington Monthly, January/February 2004.
  11. ^ Election 2004: Stolen Or Lost”, by Russ Baker, TomPaine.Com(monsense), 7 January 2005. Archived April 1, 2013 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  12. ^ Fear of flying”, by Russ Baker, The Nation, 29 September 2004.
  13. ^ Why Bush left Texas”, by Russ Baker, The Nation, 14 September 2004.