Open main menu

John Phillips Avlon (born January 19, 1973)[2] is an American journalist and political commentator. He is a Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN and former editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast from 2013 to 2018.[3][4][5] Avlon was previously a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and chief speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

John Avlon
John avlon pic.jpg
Avlon in North Carolina, June 2012
Born
John Phillips Avlon

(1973-01-19) January 19, 1973 (age 46)
Alma materYale University
Columbia University[1]
OccupationAuthor, columnist, political analyst, former editor-in-chief
Spouse(s)Margaret Hoover (m. 2009)
Children2
WebsiteJohnAvlon.com

Avlon is the author of several books, including Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics (2004),[6] which critically appraises both traditional American centrism and the more recent radical centrism. He also wrote Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America (2010). In January 2017, Avlon published Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations, in which he highlights the history and content of President George Washington's parting treatise to the American people in the context of the contemporary political climate.

Early life and education

Avlon was born in 1973 to Dianne Alexander (Phillips) and John Jeffrey Avlon, a lawyer and real estate executive with companies in Charleston, South Carolina and New York City.[7] He is of Greek descent and his grandparents were immigrants.[8] He was educated at Milton Academy, a coeducational, independent preparatory school in Milton, Massachusetts.[9][10] He is a childhood friend and schoolmate of Matthew Pottinger.[11] He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.[12]

Career

Avlon started his career as the youngest speechwriter for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.[13] He was promoted to Chief Speechwriter and the Deputy Director of Policy.[14] He prepared the mayor's addresses for the State of the City (1999 through 2001), testimony to Congress on Homeland Security, and address to the UN General Assembly on counter terrorism.[15][16]

He was also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.[17]

Avlon joined The Daily Beast in 2008 one month after its launch. He worked his way up through the organization starting as a columnist and moving on to political editor, executive editor and then managing editor.[18] In 2013 Avlon became editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast.

In May 2018 Avlon announced his departure from The Daily Beast and moving to CNN as Senior Political Analyst and Anchor.[19]

Television

Avlon created and hosted the "Wingnut of the Week" segment on CNN.[20] 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."[21]

Avlon first appeared on television in 2005 on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his book Independent Nation. He credits this debut with the launch of his TV career.[22]

In June 2018 Avlon moved to CNN full time as Senior Political Analyst making daily appearances on New Day (TV_program) as well as guest anchoring for programs including State of America and Reliable Sources.[23][24] The segment was referred to as "a standout, and a welcome feature on television in a current era lacking in reality-based news coverage."[25]

Writing

Avlon has written numerous articles and essays. He wrote the Newsweek cover-story: "A 21st Century Statesman," (February 28, 2011), about actor, director and activist George Clooney. It was based in part on Avalon's trip accompanying Clooney to South Sudan to witness the referendum for independence from the North after two decades of civil war.[26]

His essay on New York, "The Resilient City", written after the 9/11 attacks, was selected to conclude the anthology Empire City: New York Through the Centuries (2002). Fred Siegel, the author of The Future Once Happened Here, praised it as "the single best essay written in the wake of 9/11."[27]

In 2010, Avlon published Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America about the evolution of fringe political movements and their inroads into mainstream American politics. Bill Clinton commented:

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.[28]

In 2011, Avlon co-edited the anthology Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns with Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis.[29] The book earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly prior to publication.[30] The trio edited and published a sequel in 2012, Deadline Artists 2: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs.[31] An opinion piece in The Washington Post described Deadline Artists as "one of the greatest collections of newspaper articles ever compiled" and saluted 'DA2' as "an equally superb sequel...may more siblings follow." [32]

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Avlon was among the first reporters [33] to suggest that Rick Santorum, rather than Mitt Romney, had won the razor-tight Iowa caucuses (Santorum was declared the victor weeks after the election night tally favored Romney).[34] In 2013, Avlon broke the news that Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.[35] The ethics investigation is thought to have contributed to her decision not to run for re-election.

In 2017, Avlon published Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations. His publisher released the book the day that President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech. American historian Richard Norton Smith said:

It's hard to tell which is more nearly perfect—John Avlon's argument or his timing. In the wake of a dispiriting campaign, Avlon finds in Washington's Farewell Address a stunningly topical antidote to excessive partisanship and greedy self interest. His book is a stake through the heart of political extremism.[36][37]

In April 2018 it was announced that Avlon was working on a book planned for release in Fall of 2020 titled Lincoln's Farewell, focusing on the final five weeks of Lincoln's life and "his determination to reunite the nation through a radical new vision of winning the war by also winning the peace."[38][39]

In July 2018 Kirkus Reviews called Avlon's contribution to the forthcoming anthology Fight for Liberty: Defending Democracy in the Age of Trump, "Perhaps the best piece in the collection, who observes with considerable understatement that "America is living through a stark departure from its best political traditions."[40]

Editoral approach

As Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, Avlon has been cited for supporting original and breaking content for the platform. "There's an explicit mandate," said Pulitzer Prize winning Daily Beast national security reporter Spencer Ackerman "from John Avlon that we are not in commodity news business. We have to break news. I am not in a position where, like at a lot of other places, I have to rewrite other peoples' stories. It's a seemingly trivial observation but has tremendous amount of impact."[41]

Political activism

In 2010, Avlon became a founding leader of No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents[42] whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving.[43] Avlon also belongs to Reshape New York, a group that supports redistricting reform to end 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."[44]

In 2011, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Avlon to the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee. The VAAC advises the New York City Campaign Finance Board on its voter engagement mandates, including voter registration and participation outreach activities.[45][46]

Associations

Avlon is on the board of Governors for the Overseas Press Club and the board of directors for the House of Speakeasy.[47][48]

Honors

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists honored Avlon in 2011 for his online column in The Daily Beast; their citation read: "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."[49] In 2012 he won the NSNC award for the best online column.[50] In 2017 Avlon was named "One of the Most Influential in News Media" by Mediaite stating:

Besides steering one of the more influential online media outlets in the country, John Avlon is also a trusted, grounded and welcome voice on CNN (and Bill Maher) panels. While eschewing hard partisan tribalism for a more centrist approach, Avlon has still been one of the most vociferous Trump critics in this new world. The Daily Beast continues to thrive with Avlon at the helm.[51]

Marriage and family

Avlon married Margaret Hoover, a conservative author and TV personality, in 2009.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Margaret Hoover, John Avlon". New York Times. November 6, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Lippmann, Daniel (January 19, 2018). "BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: John Avlon, editor in chief of The Daily Beast and a CNN analyst". politico.com. Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  3. ^ "Daily Beast Hires Executive Editor; Promotes John Avlon to Editor-In-Chief (Updated)". The Wrap.
  4. ^ "John Avlon Leadership Profile". IAC.
  5. ^ Wemple, Erik (May 24, 2018). "Big changes at the Daily Beast: EIC John Avlon to CNN; Noah Shachtman to replace him". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Avlon, John (2004). Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics. Harmony Books / Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-5023-9.
  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 - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  9. ^ http://www.miltonacademy.info/annualreport/?page_id=495
  10. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/contributors/john-avlon.html
  11. ^ Avlon, John (27 December 2005). "Gen Xer Joins the U.S. Marines". The New York Sun. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Education - Week Nine Lectures - Chautauqua Institution". Ciweb.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  13. ^ Feuer, Alan (November 10, 2016). "Rudy Giuliani, America's Mayor, Rolls the Dice". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2017. John Avlon, one of his former speechwriters...
  14. ^ "Margaret Hoover, John Avlon". nytimes.com. The New York Times. November 6, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2017. In 2007 and 2008, he was the chief speechwriter and the deputy director of policy for the presidential campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.
  15. ^ "Politics and Economy: John Avlon". pbs.org. Bill Moyer's NOW. March 24, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2017. His work included preparing the Mayor's State of the City Addresses for 1999 through 2001; testimony to the United States Congress on issues of Homeland Security and Government Reform; and the Address to the United Nations General Assembly on Combating Terrorism.
  16. ^ "John Avlon - Columnist and Associate Editor of the New York Sun, Former Chief Speechwriter for Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Author of Independent Nation". speakerpedia.com. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  17. ^ "What Independent Voters Want", Wall Street Journal
  18. ^ "John Avlon Joins CNN Full Time as Senior Political Analyst, with Regular Daily Presence on New Day". cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. CNN Press Room. May 24, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2018. Most recently, Avlon was Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast since 2013, succeeding the site’s founder Tina Brown. Under his leadership, The Daily Beast more than doubled its traffic to 1.1 million readers a day, with the highest engagement of any digital first news site while winning 17 awards for journalistic excellence. He first joined The Daily Beast as a columnist one month after its launch, in November of 2008, and rose through the ranks as political editor, executive editor and managing director.
  19. ^ Wemple, Erik (May 24, 2018). "Big changes at the Daily Beast: EIC John Avlon to CNN; Noah Shachtman to replace him". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  20. ^ SteveK on May 08, 2009 06:15 PM (2009-05-08). "CNN's New "Wingnut" Segment Hits Left and Right - mediabistro.com: TVNewser". mediabistro.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  21. ^ Parker, Kathleen (April 20, 2005). "Seeking Balance in an Either-Or World". townhall.com. Townhall. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  22. ^ McLaughlin, Aidan (April 24, 2018). "The Daily Beast is Buzzing With Solid Scoops and An Editor Who Knows How to Spread The Word". mediaite.com. Mediaite. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "John Avlon Joins CNN Full Time as Senior Political Analyst, with Regular Daily Presence on New Day". cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. CNN Press Room. May 24, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  24. ^ Concha, Joe (September 13, 2018). "CNN's Avlon on Trump 'complicity' for Florence: Policies 'tearing down our defenses to climate change'". thehill.com. The Hill. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Mediaite's Ranking of Best Morning Show on Cable News: Morning Joe, New Day, or Fox & Friends". mediaite.com. Mediaite. December 14, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  26. ^ Avlon, John (February 20, 2011). "Clooney's Not Kidding: Actor Adds 'Arrested Activist' To Credit Roll". newsweek.com. Newsweek. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "Contributors - John Avlon". city-journal.org. Retrieved June 11, 2017. Avlon's essay on the attacks of September 11, 2001—"The Resilient City," published in the anthology Empire City: New York Through the Centuries—won acclaim from Fred Siegel, author of The Future Once Happened Here, as "the single best essay written in the wake of 9/11.
  28. ^ "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America". amazon.com. Amazon / Beast Books. 2010. Retrieved June 1, 2017. Editorial Reviews: "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.
  29. ^ Deadline Artists - About the Editors
  30. ^ "Publishers Weekly Review". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  31. ^ "Deadline Artists: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs—More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns". New York Journal of Books. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  32. ^ [1], Washington Post, 15 March 2013
  33. ^ Avlon, John (January 18, 2012). "Did Rick Santorum Win the Iowa Caucuses, Not Mitt Romney?". thedailybeast.com. The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  34. ^ Avlon, John (January 19, 2012). "Iowa caucus -- myths and reality". cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  35. ^ "Exclusive: Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Bachmann's Political Woes", Daily Beast, 25 March 2013
  36. ^ "Washington's Farewell /Editorial Reviews". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  37. ^ John Avlon (10 January 2017). "George Washington's Farewell Warning - CNN". Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  38. ^ Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake; Lippman, Daniel; Montellaro, Zach (May 3, 2018). "Playbook Power Briefing". politico.com. Politico. Retrieved May 7, 2018. MEDIAWATCH – JOHN AVLON, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast and a CNN analyst, is writing a new book for Simon and Schuster called "Lincoln's Farewell" about the final five weeks of Abraham Lincoln's life. The book is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2020. He is the author of "Washington's Farewell."
  39. ^ "History/Politics/Current Affairs". publishersmarketplace.com. Publisher's Marketplace. April 19, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018. Editor in Chief of The Daily Beast, CNN analyst, and author of WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL, John Avlon's LINCOLN'S FAREWELL, which offers new insights into Lincoln's greatest unsung lesson for future generations: his determination to reunite the nation through a radical new vision of winning the war by also winning the peace, to Alice Mayhew at Simon & Schuster, by Sloan Harris at ICM (NA).
  40. ^ "Kirkus Review - Fight for Liberty". kirkusreviews.com. Kirkus Review. July 30, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018. Perhaps the best piece in the collection is by journalist John Avlon, who observes with considerable understatement that America is living through a stark departure from its best political traditions.
  41. ^ Warren, James (December 11, 2017). "How the Daily Beast breaks big Trump-Russia stories". poynter.org. Poynter. Retrieved December 17, 2017. There's an explicit mandate," said Pulitzer Prize winning Daily Beast national security reporter Spencer Ackerman "from John Avlon that we are not in commodity news business. We have to break news. I am not in a position where, like at a lot of other places, I have to rewrite other peoples' stories. It's a seemingly trivial observation but has tremendous amount of impact.
  42. ^ Oliphant, James (September 26, 2010). "Tired of 'tea party' sniping, moderates organize". Los Angeles Times.
  43. ^ "Houston ground zero for a radical political movement reaching both Democrats and Republicans". Culture Map Houston. June 2, 2010.
  44. ^ "Reshape New York Campaign Launch" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  45. ^ "New York City Campaign Finance Board Announces Members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee". Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  46. ^ "Members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee 2011". Archived from the original on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  47. ^ "Overseas Press Club - Board of Governors". opcofamerica.org. Overseas Press Club. Retrieved September 9, 2018. John Avlon, Active Board - After 5 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast and a CNN analyst, John Avlon is now full time on CNN’s New Day between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. as Senior Political Analyst and fill-in anchor as well as advising on digital.
  48. ^ "Annual Gala - House of Speakeasy". houseofspeakeasy.org. House of Speakeasy. Retrieved November 25, 2018. Board of Directors - Gilberto Agosto, Harold Augenbraum, John Avlon, Jonathan Barton, Hugh Chisholm, Nicholas Dubrul, Amanda Foreman, Danielle Ganek, Cathy Barancik Graham, Camille Massey, Michael J. Meehan, II, Lucy Sykes, Lucas Wittmann, Chairman
  49. ^ "Daily Beast's John Avlon Honored". Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  50. ^ "NSNC 2012 Award Announcement". columnists.com. May 1, 2015. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  51. ^ Baragona, Justin (December 20, 2017). "Most Influential in Media 2017". mediaite.com. Mediaite. Retrieved December 21, 2017. Besides steering one of the more influential online media outlets in the country, John Avlon is also a trusted, grounded and welcome voice on CNN (and Bill Maher) panels. While eschewing hard partisan tribalism for a more centrist approach, Avlon has still been one of the most vociferous Trump critics in this new world. The Daily Beast continues to thrive with Avlon at the helm. (JB)

External links