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John Avlon

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Occupation  Author and Columnist
Spouse  Margaret Hoover (m. 2009)
Role  Journalist

Name  John Avlon
Education  Yale University
John Avlon John Avlon Author Columnist and EditorinChief of The

Full Name  John Phillips Avlon
Books  Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fr, Independent nation, Wingnuts: Extremism in the Ag
Similar People  Margaret Hoover, Errol Louis, Mary Matalin, Erin Burnett, David Frum

City Talk: John Avlon, author, "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Attacking America"

John Phillips Avlon (born 1973) is an American journalist and political commentator who is editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst. Avlon has also been a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and chief speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.


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He 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.

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Early life and education

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John 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.


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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.

John Avlon The Daily Beast

Avlon has lectured at Yale University, NYU, the Citadel, the Kennedy School of Government, and the State Department’s visiting journalist program. He was Director of Speechwriting and Deputy Policy Director for Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.

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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.

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. In a column at the end of 2016, Avlon said that The Daily Beast had doubled its traffic from the previous four years and was reaching more than a million readers a day.


In the style of modern media, Avlon has appeared on a range of TV shows that commenting on the news: The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as on news programs: 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."

In a profile, author Stephen Marshall wrote “Avlon talks about politics the way ESPN anchors wrap up sports highlights.” Avlon appeared as a commentator on Erin Burnett's OutFront throughout the 2012 election cycle as well as guest hosting in her absence.


Avlon has also 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 his 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 how fringe political movements have developed and are making 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 razor-tight 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.”

Political activism

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 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.

Civic activities

After the attacks of September 11th, Avlon and his team wrote the eulogies for all New York City Firefighters, New York City Police Officers, Port Authority Police Officers and other emergency workers killed in the World Trade Center.

Additionally, he has served on the staff of the Bilingual Education Reform Task Force, the City Hall Park Restoration Committee, and the 2001 Charter Revision Commission, which established the Office of Emergency Management as a permanent city agency.

Marriage and family

Avlon married Margaret Hoover in 2009, who kept her name. After growing up in Colorado, where her father was a mining executive, she has been a political and media consultant in New York and a commentator on the Fox News Channel. She wrote American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party (2011). 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.


John Avlon Wikipedia