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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg
Goldberg speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2012.
Born Jonah Jacob Goldberg
March 21, 1969 (1969-03-21) (age 47)
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Goucher College (1991)
Occupation Journalist, Senior Editor, author
Employer National Review
Religion Judaism[1]
Spouse(s) Jessica Gavora
Children 1 daughter
Parent(s) Sidney and Lucianne Goldberg

Jonah Jacob Goldberg (born March 21, 1969) is an American conservative syndicated columnist and author. Goldberg is known for writing about politics and culture to National Review, of which he is a Senior Editor. He is the author of Liberal Fascism (2008) and The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (2012).

He has appeared on various television programs including Special Report with Bret Baier, Good Morning America, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Real Time with Bill Maher, Larry King Live, Your World with Neil Cavuto, the Glenn Beck Program and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He is a frequent guest on a number of Fox News shows including The Five, The Greg Gutfeld Show, and Outnumbered. From 2006 to 2010 he was a frequent participant on


  • Early life and career 1
  • Clinton–Lewinsky scandal 2
  • Current work 3
  • Commentary 4
    • Frequent topics 4.1
    • Relations with other writers and public figures 4.2
    • Media 4.3
    • Humor and lighter topics 4.4
  • Family 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

Goldberg grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.[2] He graduated from Goucher College in 1991. His was the second class at Goucher to admit men. He was active in student politics at Goucher and was the co-editor of the school newspaper,The Quindecim, for two years. He and Andreas Benno Kollegger were the first men to run the paper. He later interned for Scripps Howard News Service, United Press International, and other news organizations. He also worked for Delilah Communications, a publishing house in New York.

After graduation, he taught English in Prague for under a year before moving to Washington to take a job at the American Enterprise Institute. While at AEI he worked for Ben J. Wattenberg. He was the researcher for Wattenberg’s nationally syndicated column and for Wattenberg's book, Values Matter Most. He also worked on several PBS public affairs documentaries, including a two-hour special hosted by David Gergen and Wattenberg. Goldberg also served for three years on the Board of Trustees of Goucher College.

In 1994, he was a founding producer for Wattenberg's Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg. That same year he moved to New River Media, an independent television production company, which produced "Think Tank" as well as numerous other television programs and projects. Goldberg worked on a large number of television projects across the United States, as well as in Europe and Japan. He wrote, produced, and edited two documentaries for New River Media, Gargoyles: Guardians of the Gate and Notre Dame: Witness to History.

He joined National Review as a contributing editor in 1998. By the end of that year he was asked to launch National Review Online (NRO) as a sister publication to National Review. He served as editor of NRO for several years and later became editor-at-large.

Clinton–Lewinsky scandal

Goldberg’s career as a pundit was launched following his mother Lucianne Goldberg's role in the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, when he wrote about the "media siege" on his mother’s apartment in The New Yorker.[3][4]

Goldberg has spoken of his mother and the Lewinsky scandal:

My mother was the one who advised Linda Tripp to record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky and to save the dress. I was privy to some of that stuff, and when the administration set about to destroy Lewinsky, Tripp, and my mom, I defended my mom and by extension Tripp... I have zero desire to have those arguments again. I did my bit in the trenches of Clinton's trousers.[5]

These tapes became the focal point of the Lewinsky scandal. Goldberg was privy to the tapes and the conversations his mother had with Tripp because he served as a vice president of his mother's now-defunct literary agency. When the scandal broke, Goldberg defended his mother and Tripp during the ensuing media firestorm.

Current work

Goldberg is a Senior Editor and has a twice-weekly column at National Review, which is syndicated to numerous papers across the United States, and at He also writes an occasional "Goldberg File" column at National Review that is typically longer, and more culture or interest oriented. Goldberg is also a frequent contributor at the National Review blog "The Corner", often authoring posts with light-hearted, comedic and pop-culture references.

In other online media, in addition to appearances on, Goldberg is a frequent participant in programs produced by the center-right Web site, including the weekly Ricochet Podcast and The Ricochet Roundtable, which features Goldberg, columnist Mark Steyn and Ricochet co-founder Rob Long.

Aside from being a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors, he has written for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, The Wilson Quarterly, The Weekly Standard, The New York Post, and Slate. The Los Angeles Times added Goldberg to its editorial lineup in 2005.

His book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (ISBN 0-385-51184-1) was published in January 2008. It reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list of hardcover nonfiction in its seventh week on the list.[6] While in preparation, the book had a number of different subtitles, including "The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods" and "The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton". After being published in paperback, the subtitle was changed to The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Change. Some historians have denounced the book as being "poor scholarship," [7] "propaganda," [8] and not scholarly.[9] Other reviewers described the book as "provocative"[10] and "a wealth of challenging insights, backed up by thorough research".[11] The audiobook version of Liberal Fascism was narrated by Johnny Heller.

Goldberg followed the book with The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas in 2012. The paperback edition of Tyranny of Cliches came out on April 30, 2013. Goldberg himself narrated the audiobook version.


Frequent topics

Some frequent topics of his articles include censorship, meritocracy, liberty, federalism and interpretation of the Constitution, his attacks on the ethics and morals of liberals and Democrats, and his disagreements with libertarians also appear often in his writings. He is a supporter of the Iraq War and has advocated for American military intervention elsewhere in the world. He has defended historical colonialism in places such as Africa as more beneficial than it is generally given credit for; in one column, he suggested that U.S. imperialism on the continent could help solve its persistent problems.[12] When he wrote in October 2006 that invading Iraq was a mistake, he called it a "noble" mistake and still maintained that liberal opponents to the war policy wanted America to fail: "In other words, their objection isn't to war per se; it's to wars that advance U.S. interests... I must confess, one of the things that made me reluctant to conclude that the Iraq war was a mistake was my distaste for the shabbiness of the arguments on the antiwar side."[13]

He popularized and expanded on a commentary by the late Time writer William Henry III. Henry had written on the subject of multiculturalism and cultural equality, stating that "[i]t is scarcely the same thing to put a man on the moon as to put a bone in your nose." Goldberg stated that "[m]ulticulturalism — which is simply egalitarianism wrapped in rainbow-colored paper—has elevated the notion that all ideas are equal, all systems equivalent, all cultures of comparable worth."[12]

He has criticized the idea of "social justice" as meaning "anything its champions want it to mean" or "'good things' no one needs to argue for and no one dare be against."[14]

Relations with other writers and public figures

Goldberg has publicly feuded with people on the political left, like Juan Cole over U.S. Iraq policy, and Air America Radio commentators such as Janeane Garofalo, who has accused him of being a chickenhawk on the Iraq War. On February 8, 2005, Goldberg offered Cole a wager of $1,000 "that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it."[15] Cole refused to accept and the wager was never made.[16] Goldberg later conceded that if Cole had accepted the bet, Cole would have won.[17]

Peter Beinart and Goldberg engaged in a discussion on[18]

Goldberg and Peter Beinart of The New Republic for a time hosted a conservative vs. liberal webtv show, What's your Problem?, which originally could be found on National Review Online[19] but has appeared on[18] as of 2013. Goldberg and Beinart continue to debate one another, most recently at an event sponsored by the Young America's Foundation at the University of Virginia in 2012.[20]

Goldberg and others at National Review Online (including editor Rich Lowry) broke with conservative writer Ann Coulter over statements she made about the September 11, 2001 attacks that they considered irresponsible. Coulter stopped writing for National Review Online after the publishing of her column on September 13, 2001, opining that "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."[21]


Regarding Fox News, Goldberg said, "Look, I think liberals have reasonable gripes with Fox News. It does lean to the right, primarily in its opinion programming but also in its story selection (which is fine by me) and elsewhere. But it's worth remembering that Fox is less a bastion of ideological conservatism and more a populist, tabloidy network."[22]

Goldberg has criticized liberals for disliking Fox News, claiming they have no "problem with the editorializing of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews, they think it's just plain wrong for conservatives to play that game."[22] Goldberg has referred to Olbermann as "MSNBC’s answer to a question no one asked."[23]

Humor and lighter topics

The "Goldberg File" frequently involves humor, often at the expense of liberals. Alec Baldwin, who Goldberg insinuates cannot read, has been a frequent target of such jibes. Goldberg also makes occasional allusions to Star Trek.[24] Later, Battlestar Galactica became a favorite topic.[25] Goldberg also likes to link to "timewaster" online games in his postings at "The Corner".


Goldberg is married to Jessica Gavora, former chief speechwriter and a senior policy adviser to former Attorney General John Ashcroft,[26] and they have a daughter. They had a dog Cosmo, a.k.a. "Snowball".[27]

Goldberg's brother, Joshua Goldberg, died on February 10, 2011, from injuries he sustained in a fall. Their father, Sidney Goldberg (1931–2005), was Jewish, and their mother, Lucianne Goldberg, is Episcopalian. Goldberg himself was raised Jewish.[1]


  1. ^ a b Goldberg, Jonah (2004-12-23). "Politicizing Christmas", National Review Online. Accessed 2015-09-12
  2. ^
  3. ^ Salon Media Circus|The jester of Monicagate Archived June 19, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Article on the Lewinsky scandal at Archived February 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "The Incredible Shrinking Clinton". 2004-06-23. Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  6. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction".  
  7. ^ Feldman, Matthew. "Poor Scholarship, Wrong Conclusions". HNN Special: A Symposium on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. George Mason University (HNN). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Griffin, Roger. "An Academic Book – Not!". HNN Special: A Symposium on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. George Mason University (HNN). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Paxton, Robert. Liberal Fascism""The Scholarly Flaws of . HNN Special: A Symposium on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. George Mason University (HNN). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Nonfiction Reviews: Week of 26 November 2007".  
  11. ^ "'"Who is 'Fascist. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  12. ^ a b "Three Cheers For Aristrocracy". 1999-12-13. Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  13. ^ Goldberg, Jonah (October 20, 2006). "Iraq Was a Worthy Mistake". National Review Online. Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  14. ^ "What is Social Justice? – PragerUniversity". YouTube. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Cole Goes On". 2005-02-08. Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  16. ^ "Playing With Human Lives Goldbergs". Informed Comment. February 8, 2005. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  17. ^ "Juan Cole Pests". National Review. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  18. ^ a b "Jonah Goldberg and Peter Beinart on". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  19. ^ "National Review OnlineWhat's Your Problem?", "". Archived from the original on 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  20. ^ Retrieved 2013-05-22. 
  21. ^ "L’Affaire Coulter". Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  22. ^ a b "Fox, John Edwards and the Two Americas". 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  23. ^ Jonah Goldberg (2007-10-05). "If Limbaugh is the Kettle, Democrats Are the Pot". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  24. ^ "Jonah Goldberg on National Review Online". 2003-06-17. Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. 
  25. ^ "Tales from New Iraqica: They didn't leap the shark". 2006-10-10. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  26. ^ "WEDDINGS; Jessica Gavora, Jonah Goldberg". New York Times. 2001-08-26. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  27. ^ "Cosmo Archive". National Review. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 

External links

  • Goldberg's syndicated column (at
  • Goldberg's National Review Online biography
  • Liberal Fascism: The Blog
  • Some Goldberg quotes
  • Interview
  • Video discussions/debates in which Goldberg has taken part on
  • Hudson Institute Washington, D.C. January 30, 2008 on
  • Interview on The Young Turks, October 7, 2010
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
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