Born in Toronto to British parents, Fraser was educated at the University of Toronto (Victoria College), Ryerson University, Carleton University, London School of Economics, Nuffield College, Oxford, University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, where he earned a doctorate in political science.
He began his journalism career at the Globe and Mail in the early 1980s, and subsequently wrote a weekly column for the Montreal Gazette from Paris and London. In the 1990s, he became a policy adviser and consultant in Ottawa, where he worked mainly on broadcasting and media policy issues for the Liberal government. In 1997, he joined the faculty of Ryerson University as a research professor of media convergence.
In 1998 when media magnate Conrad Black launched the conservative daily National Post, Fraser joined the paper as its media industries columnist while retaining his academic position at Ryerson. In 2002-03, he co-hosted a weekly CBC Newsworld television show, Inside Media, with Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias. Fraser left the television show twice in its debut season for different reasons. In January 2003, he quit the show following the sudden death of his wife Rebecca Gotlieb. Fraser made an attempt to return to the show two months later, but quit suddenly again when, in May 2003, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the National Post, replacing founding editor Ken Whyte.
While Fraser was editor at the Post, the paper gained notoriety in Canadian media circles for its regular feature called "CBC Watch" – inspired in part by the Daily Telegraph's "Beeb Watch" in Britain – which pointed out errors of fact and perceived signs of left-wing bias at the public broadcaster. Fraser's book, Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire, was critical of traditional Marxist analysis on the global influence of American pop culture.
Fraser left the National Post in 2005 following a clash with the newspaper's new publisher, Les Pyette, about the tone, look, and future direction of the money-losing paper as it struggled in a fierce competition with Fraser's journalistic alma mater, The Globe and Mail.
He is a professor at the American University of Paris and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. He also lectures at the Université de Paris IV (Sorbonne), Panthéon-Assas University, and Université de Paris-Dauphine.
His book Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom, co-authored with Soumitra Dutta, examines the impact on business and politics of online social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Fraser was married to the late Rebecca Gotlieb, daughter Canadian diplomat Allan Gotlieb and Sondra Gotlieb. The Gotliebs were fixtures in Washington, D.C. power circles throughout the 1980s, when Allan was Canadian ambassador to the United States and Sondra wrote a column for the Washington Post.
Rebecca had a young son, David, from a previous marriage when she and Fraser married. She died suddenly of cancer in January 2003, after which David moved to England to live with his father, lawyer Keith Ham. Fraser (a British citizen) returned to France to live and work in 2006.Quebec Inc. (1987)
Free-for-All: The Struggle for Dominance on the Digital Frontier (1999)
Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire (2003)
Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom (2009)
Home Again in Paris: Oscar, Leo and Me (2013)