Blitzer in 2011
Wolf Isaac Blitzer
March 22, 1948
|Residence||Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.|
|Education||University at Buffalo (BA)|
Johns Hopkins University (MA)
|Title||Anchor, The Situation Room|
|Spouse(s)||Lynn Greenfield (m. 1973)|
|Website||Page on CNN|
Wolf Isaac Blitzer (born March 22, 1948) is an American journalist, television news anchor and author who has been a CNN reporter since 1990. He is the host of Wolf and The Situation Room. Blitzer also serves as the network's lead political anchor.
Early life and education
Blitzer was born in Augsburg, Germany, the son of Cesia Blitzer (née Zylberfuden), a homemaker, and David Blitzer, a home builder. His parents were Jewish refugees from the German concentration camp in Oświęcim (Auschwitz) in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was raised in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970. While there, he was a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi. In 1972, he received a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. While at Johns Hopkins, he studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he learned Hebrew.
Blitzer has said he has frequently been asked about his name, which has been characterized as seemingly made for TV. Blitzer explains that his surname goes back for generations, and his first name, 'Wolf', is the same first name as his maternal grandfather.
Washington and Jerusalem
Blitzer began his career in journalism in the early 1970s, in the Tel Aviv bureau of the Reuters news agency. In 1973, he caught the eye of Jerusalem Post editor Ari Rath, who hired Blitzer as a Washington correspondent for the English language Israeli newspaper. Blitzer remained with the Jerusalem Post until 1990, covering both American politics and developments in the Middle East.
Fluent in Hebrew, Blitzer also published articles in several Hebrew-language newspapers. Under the name Ze'ev Blitzer, he wrote for Al HaMishmar. Using the name Ze'ev Barak, he had work published in Yedioth Ahronoth. Ze'ev (זאב) is the Hebrew word for "wolf" and Barak (ברק) is the Hebrew word for "lightning" (which in German/Yiddish is Blitz).
In the mid-1970s, Blitzer also worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the editor of their monthly publication, the Near East Report. While at AIPAC, Blitzer's writing focused on Middle East affairs as they relate to United States foreign policy.
At an April 1977 White House press conference, Blitzer asked Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat why Egyptian scholars, athletes and journalists were not permitted to visit Israel. Sadat responded that such visits would be possible after an end to the state of belligerence between the two nations. In November of that year, Sadat made a historic visit to Israel, and Blitzer covered the negotiations between the two countries from the first joint Israeli-Egyptian press conference in 1977, to the final negotiations that would lead to the signing of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty two years later.
In 1985, Blitzer published his first book, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook (Oxford University Press, 1985). The text outlined his personal development as a reporter, and the relations between the United States and Israel.
In 1986, he became known for his coverage of the arrest and trial of Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew who was charged with spying for Israel. Blitzer was the first journalist to interview Pollard, and he later wrote a book about the Pollard Affair titled Territory of Lies. In the book, Blitzer writes that Pollard contacted him because he had been reading Blitzer's byline for years, and because Blitzer "had apparently impressed him as someone who was sympathetic". Pollard also hoped that Blitzer would help him "reach the people of Israel, as well as the American Jewish community."
Blitzer's interview with Pollard was controversial in the context of the legal action against him, as it was construed by some media voices as a possible violation of the terms of Pollard's plea deal, which forbade media contact. Blitzer's subsequent book about the affair was included in The New York Times list of "Notable Books of the Year" for 1989. In its review, the Times praised the book as "lucid and highly readable" and called Blitzer's judgment of Israeli officials "harsh but fair".
A review in The New York Review of Books was more critical, prompting a letter from Blitzer accusing the reviewer of making several inaccurate statements. Reviewer Robert I. Friedman responded to Blitzer's criticism by characterizing Territory of Lies as "a slick piece of damage control that would make [Blitzer's] former employers at AIPAC (not to mention Israel's Defense Ministry) proud."
Pollard was released on November 20, 2015, in accordance with federal guidelines in place at the time of his sentencing.
In 1992, Blitzer became CNN's White House correspondent, a position he would hold until 1999. During this period, he earned an Emmy Award for his coverage of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In 1998, he began hosting the CNN Sunday morning interview program Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, which was seen in over 180 countries. Blitzer's first assignment as an anchor was on the daily newscast The World Today, in 1999. In 2000, he started anchoring his own show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, which ran until 2005.
CNN has selected Blitzer to anchor their coverage of all U.S. presidential elections since 2004. Since August 8, 2005, Blitzer has hosted The Situation Room, a two-hour afternoon/early evening program on CNN.
In 2016, Senator Paul was one of the first members of Congress to come out in opposition to U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. The war has led to massive civilian casualties. Blitzer questioned Senator Paul's reasoning during an interview, stating that cutting off military aid would hurt the profits of the arms industry. "So for you this is a moral issue," he told Senator Paul on CNN. "Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?"
Criticism of style
Blitzer has won awards, including the 2004 Journalist Pillar of Justice Award from the Respect for Law Alliance, and the 2003 Daniel Pearl Award from the Chicago Press Veterans Association. His news team was among those awarded a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina, an Alfred I. DuPont Award for coverage of the 1999 Southeast Asian tsunami, and an Edward R. Murrow Award for CNN's coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
In November 2002, he won the American Veteran Awards' Ernie Pyle Journalism Award for military reporting. In February 2000, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. In 1999, Blitzer won the International Platform Association's Lowell Thomas Broadcast Journalism Award. Blitzer won an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. Blitzer was also part of the CNN team that was awarded a Golden ACE award for their 1991 Gulf War reporting. In 1994, American Journalism Review cited him and CNN as the readers' choice for the Best in the Business Award for network coverage of the Clinton administration.
In May 1999, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by the University at Buffalo. On May 20, 2007, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the George Washington University at their undergraduate commencement exercise. On May 23, 2010, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Niagara University at their undergraduate commencement exercise. Also, on May 14, 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Penn State University. On September 25, 2011, Blitzer was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Hartford. On May 10, 2014, Blitzer received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Howard University.
Other media appearances
Blitzer appears as himself in the 2009 documentary "Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace." The film deals with the back room negotiations that led to the historic 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. At the time, Blitzer was the Washington Bureau Chief of the Jerusalem Post, and played a key role in establishing a back channel of communications between Israel and the White House by introducing President Carter's General Counsel, Robert Lipshutz, to New York businessman Leon Charney, a close friend of then Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman. The flow of information between Weizman and Carter, via Charney and Lipshutz, contributed to finalizing the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
On September 17, 2009, Blitzer competed on an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!, finishing the Double Jeopardy round with −$4,600. He was given $1,000 to bet in Final Jeopardy!, finishing with $2,000 and ultimately losing to comedian Andy Richter, who won $68,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Blitzer has appeared in numerous films as himself reporting on events, including actual events and fictional events dealing with the related movie's plot including the James Bond film Skyfall in North American versions and in the blockbuster trailer parody "Movie: The Movie: 2V" presented on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He was in the news in Ben 10: Omniverse. In An American Benwolf in London, Ben noticed that Wolf Blitzer was on TV, and then decides to rename Benwolf into Blitzwolfer.
Blitzer, along with fellow CNN anchor John King, is an avid fan of the Washington Wizards NBA franchise, and participates in a pre-game video update for the team at home games known as the "Wizards Situation."
Since 2013, Blitzer has made guest appearances in Netflix's political drama House of Cards, portraying himself.
Blitzer also makes a brief cameo in the 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Blitzer also appeared in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018).
- Encyclopedia of television news, By Michael D. Murray, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999, ISBN 978-1-57356-108-2.
- "UBT: Wolf Blitzer". buffalo.edu.
- Maxine Block; Anna Herthe Rothe; Marjorie Dent Candee; Charles Moritz (2007). "Current Biography Yearbook". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- "20 Questions with Wolf Blitzer". TheHill.
- New York Magazine. February 11, 1991, p. 36.
- Sheridan, Patricia (October 3, 2005). ""Breakfast with...". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 6, 2005.
- Makovsky, David (1990-04-29). "Wolf Blitzer, 'Symbol of Integrity', Leaves Post For Cable Network Job". The Jerusalem Post.
- Blitzer, Wolf. Between Washington and Jerusalem. 1985, page ix.
- "The American Spectator". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
- "MiddleEast.org - Mid-East Realities". middleeast.org.
- "Jewish Virtual Library".
- Luxenberg, Steven (1989-05-21). "The American Who Loved Israel Too Much: Book Review". Washington Post.
- Blitzer, Wolf. Territory of Lies. 1989, page xv.
- Blitzer, Wolf. Territory of Lies. 1989, page xix.
- "Notable Books of the Year". The New York Times. 1989-12-13. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- Pear, Robert (1989-05-07). "The Spy from South Bend" (Book Review). The New York Times.
- Friedman, Robert (1990-02-01). "'Territory of Lies'" (letter by Blitzer, response by Friedman). New York Review of Books. Retrieved February 16, 2007.
- "After 30 Years, Jonathan Pollard Released From American Prison." Haaretz. November 20, 2015.
- "CNN TV - Anchors/Reporters:Wolf Blitzer". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "Wolf Blitzer". CNN. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- Who's Who in America – 2007. Marquis' Who's Who Ltd. 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
- "Senators consider vote to block US arms deal to Saudi Arabia – report". The Guardian. 14 August 2016.
- "Wolf Blitzer Is Worried Defense Contractors Will Lose Jobs if U.S. Stops Arming Saudi Arabia", The Intercept, September 9 2016
- Hirschorn, Michael (April 12, 2010). "Don't cry for CNN". New York (Intelligencer). New York Media LLC. p. 12. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "GW News Center". gwu.edu.
- "CNN's Blitzer Takes Audience into the 'Situation Room'". University of Hartford. September 26, 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04.
- "Entrepreneur and Entertainment Mogul Sean Combs to Deliver Howard University's 146th Commencement Address - Howard University Newsroom". howard.edu.
- "TV Festival 2009: Opening Film". tvfestival.net. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05.
- Linkins, Jason (2009-09-18). "Andy Richter Crushes CNN's Wolf Blitzer In Celebrity Jeopardy". Huffington Post.
- "Adventures in 'Celebrity Jeopardy': What is, Get a clue, Wolf Blizter?". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- "Wolf Blitzer". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- "CNN's Wolf blitzes D.C.'s Wizards". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- Davidovit, Aliza. "Wolf Blitzer" (PDF). davidovit.com.
- New York Times: "Ilana Blitzer, Joseph Gendelman" November 7, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wolf Blitzer.|
- CNN bio
- CNN.com – The Situation Room
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Wolf Blitzer on Charlie Rose
- Wolf Blitzer on IMDb
- Works by or about Wolf Blitzer in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Wolf Blitzer for the Defense (Department)", Jim Naureckas, FAIR Extra!, January/February 2003
- Google Video on Israel Discussion – Held Nov 1989.
- "Wolf Blitzer's emotional roots journey". CNN.com. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
| CNN Senior White House Correspondent