|Is||Journalist Columnist Editor Contributing editor Writer|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||19 July 1973, United States of America, USA|
John Phillips Avlon (born January 19, 1973) is an American journalist and political commentator. He is a Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN and was the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast from 2013 to 2018. Avlon was previously a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and chief speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Avlon is the author of several books, including Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics (2004), 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.
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. He is of Greek descent and his grandparents were immigrants. He was educated at Milton Academy, a coeducational, independent preparatory school in Milton, Massachusetts. He is a childhood friend and schoolmate of Matthew Pottinger. He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia University.
Avlon started his career as the youngest speechwriter for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He was promoted to Chief Speechwriter and the Deputy Director of Policy. 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. . He was also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is an advisory board member of the Citizens Union of New York, Bronx Academy of Letters, and the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
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. In 2013 Avlon became editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. By September 2014 the website reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors; it was a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community. During Avlon’s leadership The Daily Beast doubled its traffic to 1.1 million readers a day and won over 17 awards for journalistic excellence.
In May 2018 Avlon announced his departure from The Daily Beast and moving to CNN as Senior Political Analyst and Anchor. Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of IAC, issued a statement shortly after Avlon announced his departure, "John Avlon has been a superb editorial leader of the Daily Beast. He’s built a formidable newsroom, and a culture of excellence and decency. I only wish him the best for the future, and greatly am appreciative of his bringing Noah Shachtman onboard as his deputy so that we’re in the position to continue the fine work of the Daily Beast."
Avlon has made appearances on a variety of television shows such as, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as on news programs on MSNBC, PBS, CNN, and C-SPAN.
Avlon created and hosted the "Wingnut of the Week" segment on CNN. 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."
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.
In June 2018 Avlon moved to CNN full time as Senior Political Analyst making daily appearances on New Day, as well as guest anchoring for programs including State of America and Reliable Sources. The segment was referred to as "a standout, and a welcome feature on television in a current era lacking in reality-based news coverage." Digital news outlet Mediaite, in referring to Avlon's New Day segment said, "Need fascinating but unexpected perspective on the news of the day? John Avlon’s recurring segment “Reality Check” is a hit."
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.
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."
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.
In 2011, Avlon co-edited the anthology Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns with Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis. The book earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly prior to publication. The trio edited and published a sequel in 2012, Deadline Artists 2: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs. 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."
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Avlon was among the first reporters to suggest that Rick Santorum, rather than Mitt Romney, had won the narrow Iowa caucuses (Santorum was declared the victor weeks after the election night tally favored Romney). In 2013, Avlon broke the news that Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics. 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.
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."
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."
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."
In 2010, Avlon became a founding leader of No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving. 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."
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.
Avlon is on the board of Governors for the Overseas Press Club and the board of directors for the House of Speakeasy.
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." In 2012 he won the NSNC award for the best online column. 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.
Marriage and family
Avlon is married to PBS Firing Line host and political commentator Margaret Hoover. She is a great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover. They have a son Jack, born in 2013, and a daughter Toula Lou, born in 2015.