The Full Wiki

Eric Alterman: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eric Alterman
Eric Alterman.jpg
Born January 14, 1960
Education B.A. in History and Government from Cornell University; M.A. in International Relations from Yale University; Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University
Occupation Journalist, author
Spouse(s) divorced
Children Eve Rose
Ethnicity Jewish - U.S. United States
Notable credit(s) runs weblog named Altercation; commentator on MSNBC; Professor of English at Brooklyn College; frequent guest on; writes column called The Liberal Media for The Nation Magazine

Eric Alterman (b. January 14, 1960[1]) is an American journalist, author, media critic, blogger, and educator, possibly best known for the political weblog named Altercation, which was hosted by from 2002 until 2006, moved to Media Matters for America until December 2008, and is now hosted by The Nation.



He earned a B.A. in History and Government from Cornell University, an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University.[citation needed]


Alterman began his journalism career in 1983, freelancing originally for The Nation, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Harper's, Le Monde diplomatique, and later, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic Monthly, among others, while working as a senior fellow for the World Policy Institute in New York and Washington. He published his first book, Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy, which won the 1992 George Orwell Award, while studying for his doctorate in US history in Stanford in 1992. Shortly after that he became the Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and soon thereafter Rolling Stone, before returning to The Nation as a columnist in 1995. Alterman has also been a contributing editor to ELLE, and a regular columnist for Worth and the London Sunday Express.

Alterman was hired by MSNBC in 1996, both appearing as a commentator on the cable channel and writing a column posted on its website. In 2002 MSNBC engaged him to create the blog daily Altercation, the first blog hosted by a mainstream media news organization.[2] In September 2006, after a ten-year association, Alterman and MSNBC parted ways. Media Matters for America hired him as a Senior Fellow and agreed to host Altercation, effective September 18, 2006. Regular contributors to his blog Altercation include sportswriter Charlie Pierce and historian and military officer Robert Bateman. On December 22, 2008 Alterman announced that Altercation would be moving to The Nation's website in 2009, and would appear on a less regular basis than its previous Monday through Friday schedule.[3]

During this period Alterman also published a number of books including the national best-sellers What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News (2003, 2004), and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America (2004). The others include: Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy, (1998), and a second edition of Sound & Fury (2000), His It Ain't No Sin to be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999, 2001), won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award. In September 2004, Viking Press published When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and its Consequences–-a version of his doctoral dissertation––on lies of major consequence told by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.

Alterman has taught journalism at both NYU and Columbia University, and since the fall of 2004, he has been a Professor of English at Brooklyn College, where he teaches courses in media and media history.[4] In 2007 he was named a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College and Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.[5] He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress,[6] Media Matters for America, and remains one at the World Policy Institute in New York.[7]

Alterman's academic expertise is American history. He has said "I have an historical context for understanding what is going on. I can see that a lot of things that are happening have happened already. The New York Times and Newsweek write stories as if there's no history. What are we but our histories?" [8] He also works as a history consultant to HBO Films.

His seventh book, published in 2008 by Viking was called Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America.[9] Also in 2008, Alterman also published a lengthy essay in the New Yorker on the decline of American newspapers and the future role of new media news sites.[10]

He is perhaps best known for his media criticism, which is the subject of two of his books. He writes a political column for The Nation and a weekly column for the Center for American Progress website. In contrast to conservative media commentators, Alterman argues that the press is biased against liberals rather than biased in their favor. He was called "the most honest and incisive media critic writing today" in the National Catholic Reporter, and the author of "the smartest and funniest political journal out there," in The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2008, Alterman also became a regular columnist to the Jewish magazine Moment, where he writes regularly about Jewish issues. In 2009, he also became a regular contributor to The Daily Beast, He appears in the award-winning documentary on Lee Atwater, Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story. "Race is poison, but it is poison that works for their side. People vote their fears and not their hopes, and Lee understood that."

He is also an occasional contributor to, where he often takes part in video discussions with other media personalities.[11]

Alterman identifies himself as the most right-leaning out of the people at The Nation, and he says that he frequently gets pressure from both sides about specific issues. His critics have called him a member of the Israel lobby.[11]

Criticism of Ralph Nader

Alterman was and remains a critic of Ralph Nader for Nader's actions in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election, arguing that Nader is to blame for the election of George W. Bush because of vote splitting.[12] He has called Nader "Bush's Useful Idiot,"[13] myopic,[14] and a deluded megalomaniac.[15] In the documentary An Unreasonable Man, he is quoted as saying:

The man needs to go away. I think he needs to live in a different country. He’s done enough damage to this one. Let him damage somebody else's now.[16]


  • Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America, Viking Press. (2008) ISBN 0670018600
  • When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and its Consequences, New York: Viking Press. (2004) ISBN 0670032093 (10) ISBN 978-0670032099 (13)
  • The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)Leads America, Penguin Books. (2004) (co-authored with Mark J. Green) ISBN 0143034421
  • What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News, Basic Books. (2003) ISBN 0465001777
  • It Ain't No Sin to Be Glad You're Alive : The Promise of Bruce Springsteen, Back Bay Books. (2001) ISBN 0316039179
  • Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy, Cornell University Press. (1998) ISBN 0801435749
  • Sound and Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy, Cornell University Press. (1993) (2nd edition, 2000) ISBN 0801486394

Recent Articles

  • [1] "Living With Music: A Playlist by Eric Alterman" (New York Times, Paper Cuts blog). October 8, 2008.
  • [2] "Israel at 60: The State of the State" The Nation, September 3, 2008.
  • [3] "Loving John McCain" The Nation, June 19, 2008. (With George Zornick)
  • [4] "Who Are They Calling Elitist?" The Nation, March 27, 2008 (Adapted from Why We're Liberals)
  • [5] - "Out of Print: The death and life of the American newspaper," The New Yorker, March 31, 2008.
  • [6] - "Accounting for Kristol," The American Prospect, February 25, 2008
  • [7] - “My Marty Peretz Problem—and Ours” (On the history of The New Republic) The American Prospect, July/August, 2007
  • [8] - “Lives of the Democrats,” The New York Times Book Review, April 22, 2007
  • [9] - “First Casualty of War,” The Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2005
  • [10] - "Bush’s War on the Press," The Nation, May 9, 2005
  • [11] - "Big Ideas Need Sharp Elbows," The Nation, December 9, 2004.
  • [12] - "When Presidents Lie," The Nation (adapted from book), October 7, 2004
  • [13] - "The Hollywood Campaign," Atlantic Monthly, September, 2004
  • [14] - "Me and My Moguls," Atlantic Monthly, April 2004

Appearances (Video)

  • [15] Eric Alterman and Christopher Hitchens on Bloggingheads, October 12, 2008.
  • [16] Eric Alterman and Julia Kamin talk about Why We're Liberals on Bloggingheads.
  • [17] Eric Alterman speaking at Strand Bookstore in New York City on May 6, 2008, as part of his 2008 book tour for Why We're Liberals.
  • [18] Eric Alterman speaking at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, on March 27, 2008, as part of his 2008 book tour for Why We're Liberals.
  • [19] Eric Alterman speaking at Authors@Google on March 25, 2008, as part of his 2008 book tour for Why We're Liberals
  • [20] Eric Alterman speaking at Cody's Books in Berkeley, CA on March 25, 2008, as part of his 2008 book tour for Why We're Liberals
  • [21] "Eric Alterman in Conversation,", March 2008
  • [22] Eric Alterman speaking at Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University, on Factors of Ethical Presidential Leadership, Jan. 30, 2008
  • [23] "The Rise and Fall of American Liberalism," UC Davis. Nov 8, 2007
  • [24] "The Conservatives Have No Clothes," The Century Foundation. Sept. 25, 2007
  • [25] "The American News Media: Media Bias, with Eric Alterman and Tucker Carlson," UC Santa Barbara. January 14, 2006
  • [26] Eric Alterman on Charlie Rose, discussing the future of political pundits. March 21, 2005
  • [27] Eric Alterman on Charlie Rose, discussing "The Book on Bush" with Mark Green. March 17, 2004
  • [28] Eric Alterman on Charlie Rose, discussing the Iraq war with Christopher Hitchens. June 6, 2003
  • [29] Eric Alterman on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. March 17, 2003
  • [30] Eric Alterman on Charlie Rose, discussing “Democracy’s Discontent," by Michael Sandel. August 28, 1996
  • Multiple conversations/interviews on


  1. ^ Eric Alterman
  2. ^ Eric Alterman (September 11, 2006). "I'm Fired". Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  3. ^ Alterman, Eric (2008-12-22). "We're Movin' On; We'll Soon Be Gone...". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "New Faculty Bring Worlds of Knowledge to Brooklyn College". August 26, 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  5. ^ "CUNY Board Names Alterman Distinguished Prof at Brooklyn College". July 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  6. ^ Center for American Progress. "Eric Alterman, Senior Fellow". Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  7. ^ World Policy Institute. "Eric Alterman, Senior Fellow". Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Distinguished Profiles - Eric Alterman". January 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  9. ^ "Why We're Liberals: A Handbook for Post-Bush America."". March, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  10. ^ ""Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper"". March 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  11. ^ a b What's on a man's mind. Interview with Reihan Salam. Recorded March 13, 2009. Posted March 16, 2009.
  12. ^ Eric Alterman (February 8, 2006). "Dancing days are here again". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  13. ^ Eric Alterman (September 16, 2004). "Bush's Useful Idiot". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  14. ^ Eric Alterman (March 22, 2001). "Tweedledee, Indeed". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  15. ^ Eric Alterman (June 6, 2004). "Phew". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  16. ^ Democracy Now (February 5, 2007). "Ralph Nader on Why He Might Run In 2008, the Iraq War & the New Documentary "An Unreasonable Man"". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address