David Corn (born February 20, 1959) is an American political journalist and author. He is the Washington, D.C.
bureau chief for ''Mother Jones
'' and is best known as a cable television commentator.
Early life and education
Corn was raised in a Jewish
family in White Plains, New York
[Brown Alumni Magazine: "You Don't Have to Trust Me" by Stephanie Grace]
He graduated from White Plains High School
in 1977. He attended Brown University
, where he majored in history and worked for ''The Brown Daily Herald
After his junior year, he interned at ''The Nation
'' where he accepted a job as editorial assistant instead of returning to finish his degree.
He earned his remaining credits at Columbia University
and received a B.A. from Brown in 1982.
He joined ''Mother Jones'' in 2007.
He had previously been the Washington editor for ''The Nation
'' and has appeared regularly on FOX News
, National Public Radio
, and BloggingHeads.tv
. Corn appeared on FOX News more than sixty times, according to a tally by ''Politifact.com
'', before becoming a commentator on MSNBC.
In February 2013, Corn was given the 2012 George Polk Award
in journalism in the category of political reporting for his posting of a video and reporting of the "47 percent story," Republican
nominee Mitt Romney
's videoed meeting with donors during the 2012 presidential campaign
He criticized Nation Books (now Bold Type Books), owned at the time by Corn's employer, ''The Nation'', published the translation of a controversial French book on Osama bin Laden
and the 9/11 attacks
. ''Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden'', by Jean-Charles Brisard
and Guillaume Dasquié
, suggests that the attacks resulted from a breakdown in talks between the Taliban
and the United States to run an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Corn argued that publishing "contrived conspiracy theories" undermined his ability to expose actual governmental misbehavior. Others involved in the controversy argued that Corn was interfering with the First Amendment rights of both the author and publisher, and that Corn had the right to criticize it, but should not have tried to suppress its publication.
Corn's first book was ''Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades'', a 1994 biography of longtime Central Intelligence Agency
official Theodore Shackley
, which received mixed reviews. The book used Shackley's climb through the CIA bureaucracy to illustrate how the Agency worked and to follow some of its Cold War
-era covert operations. In ''The Washington Post
'', Roger Warner called it "an impressive feat of research"; in ''The New York Times
'', however, Joseph Finder
asserted that Corn distorted history seriously to blame Shackley for a series of institutional CIA failings and pointed out a series of serious errors in the book. Among them, Finder said, was that Corn "recycled a long-discredited canard, much beloved by conspiracy theorists, that on the day of President John F. Kennedy
, the agency's chief of covert operations, Desmond Fitzgerald
, met in Paris
with one of the C.I.A.'s Cuba
n agents and gave him a 'ball-point pen' that could be used to inject Castro
with a deadly toxin called Black Leaf 40. FitzGerald was actually the host of a lunch in Washington at the time, at the City Tavern Club
Corn contributed a short story to ''Unusual Suspects'' (1996), a paperback collection of original crime stories.
His novel, ''Deep Background'' (1999), is a conspiracy thriller about the assassination of a U.S. president at a White House
press conference and the ensuing investigation. Reviews praised Corn's mastery of the political atmosphere and characters, although they split on whether this was a virtue or, coming towards the conclusion of Bill Clinton
's term in office, already all-too-familiar territory. Reviewing the book in ''The New York Times'', James Polk opined that although the book included dramatic scenes such as a "seedy nightspot catering to homosexual marines, an interagency hit squad, a high-class ''look, but don't touch'' escort service", the novel could not deliver "enough shocks left to sustain the genre."
Corn was a critic of Clinton's successor, President George W. Bush
. Corn's next book, 2003's ''The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception'', said that Bush had systematically "mugged the truth" as a political strategy, and he found fault with the media for failing to report this effectively. The book also broke with journalistic practice for its charge of lying, a word usually avoided as editorializing. In particular, Corn criticized many of the arguments offered to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq
, and he challenged ''The New York Times'' columnist William Safire
for claiming links between Iraq
i leader Saddam Hussein
. In ''Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
'', co-written by Michael Isikoff
of ''Newsweek'' and Corn, they analyzed the Bush administration's drive toward the invasion.
Corn with journalist Michael Isikoff co-wrote a book about the Donald Trump
campaign and administration's ties with Russia and Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign
, including a history of similar Russian tactics during earlier administrations. Their book, ''Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
'', was released by Twelve
in March 2018.
The Plame affair
Corn was personally involved in the early coverage of the controversy over leaks to the media of the name of CIA
officer Valerie Plame
. After Robert Novak
revealed Plame's identity in his July 14, 2003, column, Corn was among the first to report, several days later, that Plame had been working covertly; He also raised the possibility that the leak of her identity violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act
(IIPA); however, prosecutors found no evidence that those government officials who leaked her name knew she was a covert agent, and no official was ultimately charged with violating the IIPA.
Novak, for his part, disputed that Plame had been a covert operative at the time her identity was revealed. He also objected to the negative portrayal of himself in ''Hubris'', the book in part about the matter by Corn and Isikoff. Novak said of Corn, "Nobody was more responsible for bloating this episode." Novak felt that Corn was too close with former ambassador Joseph Wilson
, Plame's husband and a key figure in criticism of the administration's arguments for invasion.
Who Said What When: The rise and fall of the Valerie Plame 'scandal.'
''The Weekly Standard'', October 16, 2006.
However, in early 2007, an unclassified summary of Valerie Plame's employment history at the CIA was disclosed for the first time in a court filing which confirmed that Plame was indeed a covert operative at the time Novak made her name public.
Mitt Romney "47 Percent" video and George Polk Award
In announcing Corn's being awarded the George Polk Award
for 2012, the sponsors wrote:
David Corn of ''Mother Jones'' will receive the George Polk Award for Political Reporting ... Through persistent digging and careful negotiation with a source, Corn secured a full recording of Romney at a $50,000-a-plate Florida fundraiser declaring that 47 percent of Americans — those who back President Obama — are "victims" who are "dependent upon government" and "pay no income tax." Corn worked for weeks to obtain the recording ... Furthermore, it was Corn's extensive previous reporting on Romney that convinced the source to trust him with its release.
Corn's article that introduced the secret tape was published online on the ''Mother Jones'' on September 17, 2012.
[For the story about how and why Corn obtained the tape, see Paul Farhi, "How Mother Jones got the Romney '47 percent' story," ''The Washington Post'']
September 18, 2012
David Corn profile
from Crown Publishing Group
Were We Misled? A Debate on Pre-War Intelligence
(Episode of The Brian Lehrer
Show on WNYC
with Corn as a panelist, February 15, 2006)
Video discussions/debates in which Corn has taken part
* David Corn"WATCH: Full Secret Video of Private Romney Fundraiser. Mitt Romney wanted the full tape. Here it is." ''Mother Jones,'' September 18, 2012
David Corn investigated for inappropriate workplace behavior
Category:George Polk Award recipients
Category:American male journalists
Category:American magazine editors
Category:American political commentators
Category:Jewish American journalists
Category:American political writers
Category:20th-century American novelists
Category:Brown University alumni
Category:New York Press people
Category:The Nation (U.S. magazine) people
Category:Place of birth missing (living people)
Category:American male novelists
Category:Mother Jones (magazine) people
Category:20th-century American male writers
Category:21st-century American male writers
Category:Novelists from New York (state)
Category:People associated with Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections