Ezra Klein

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Ezra Klein
Klein in 2011
Born (1984-05-09) May 9, 1984 (age 34)
Irvine, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Journalist, author, political commentator
Employer The Washington Post, MSNBC, Bloomberg, Vox Media
Title Editor at Large, Vox
Political party Democratic[1]
Spouse(s) Annie Lowrey (m. 2011)
Website www.vox.com

Ezra Klein (born May 9, 1984) is an American journalist, blogger, and political commentator who works as editor-at-large of Vox. He was previously a blogger and columnist for The Washington Post and an associate editor of The American Prospect.[2] He has served as a contributor to Bloomberg News and MSNBC.

At The Washington Post, he managed a branded blog, "Wonkblog," which featured his writing and the writing of other policy reporters. Issues discussed in the blog included health care and budget policy.[3] He wrote a primer on policy called "Wonkbook", which was delivered by e-mail and on his blog each morning.

In January 2014, Klein left The Washington Post, and works for Vox Media as editor-at-large for their news website, Vox which he co-founded along with Melissa Bell and Matthew Yglesias.[4]

Early life and education

Klein was born and raised in Irvine, California.[5] Klein is a middle child,[5] raised in a Jewish family.[6] His father, Abel Klein, is a mathematics professor at University of California, Irvine, originally from Brazil; his mother is an artist.[5][7] Klein went to school at University High School. He attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, but later transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, from which he graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in political science. While at UCSC, he applied to write for the City on a Hill Press but was rejected.[8]


Klein worked on Howard Dean's primary campaign in Vermont in 2003, and interned for the Washington Monthly in Washington, D.C. in 2004. "The media is as effective and important an agent for change as the legislative bodies, and I think it's where I'm happiest and most effective," Klein said.[9] In 2003, he and Markos Moulitsas were two of the earliest bloggers to report from a political convention, that of the California State Democratic Party.[10] In 2006, Klein was one of several writers pseudonymously flamed by The New Republic writer Lee Siegel (posting as a sock puppet called sprezzatura).[11]

On December 10, 2007, Klein moved his blog full-time to the American Prospect.[12]

Klein's prolific blogging caught the attention of Steve Pearlstein, the Washington Post's veteran business columnist. "I was blown away by how good he was—how much the kid wrote—on so many subjects," Pearlstein said. Pearlstein sent samples of Klein's work to managing editor Raju Narisetti. A few weeks after he heard from Pearlstein, Post foreign correspondent John Pomfret asked Klein to have lunch with him and financial editor Sandy Sugawara. Narisetti hired Klein to be the Post’s first pure blogger on politics and economics.[5] On May 18, 2009, he began writing at the newspaper.[13]

In May 2011 when Bloomberg View launched, Klein became a columnist there in addition to his work at The Washington Post and MSNBC.[14]

Klein announced he would be leaving the Washington Post in January 2014, with the intent to start a new media venture with several other veteran journalists.[15] The new media venture was later identified as the politics site Vox.[16] Klein had previously "proposed the creation of an independent, explanatory journalism website—with more than three dozen staffers" and an annual budget of more than US$10 million to remain at the Washington Post. During negotiations, Post publisher Katharine Weymouth and new owner Jeff Bezos did not make a counteroffer.[17]

Klein was editor in chief at Vox, now editor-at-large, and formerly wrote for and edited Wonkblog at the Washington Post. He frequently provides political commentary on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. He is a former contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann. On March 14, 2013, The Week magazine reported that Klein was among those being considered to host MSNBC's yet-unnamed 8 p.m. weekday prime-time show that would replace The Ed Show.[18] Ultimately, the time slot was filled with All In with Chris Hayes.

In October 2015, Klein, along with Sarah Kliff and Matt Yglesias, launched The Weeds, a Vox podcast of detailed discussions on public policy.[19] Klein also hosts the podcast "The Ezra Klein Show".[20] Klein is an executive producer of Vox's Netflix series Explained, which debuted in 2018."[21][22]

Health care debate

In December 2009, Klein wrote an article in the Washington Post, stating that U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman was "willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score", because Lieberman "was motivated to oppose health care legislation in part out of resentment at liberals for being defeated in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary".[23] Klein based his estimate on an Urban Institute report that estimated that 22,000 people died in 2006 because they lacked health-care insurance.[24] This article was criticized by Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, who called it a "silly claim".[25] Charles Lane, also of the Washington Post, described Klein's article as an "outrageous smear". But EJ Dionne, also of the Washington Post, agreed with Klein's claim, saying that "Klein is right that there is not a shred of principle in Lieberman's opposition".[26] Klein later said he regretted the phrasing[27] and his position is that despite universal coverage, the social determinants of health are still powerful predictors that, on average, ensure the lower socioeconomic classes die sooner than those with more income and education.[28][29]


In February 2007 Klein created a Google Groups forum called "JournoList" for discussing politics and the news media. The forum's membership was controlled by Klein and limited to "several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics".[30] Posts within JournoList were intended only to be made and read by its members.[31] Klein defended the forum saying that it "[ensures] that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions". JournoList member, and Time magazine columnist, Joe Klein (no relation to Ezra Klein) added that the off-the-record nature of the forum was necessary because “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private”.[30]

The existence of JournoList was first publicly revealed in a July 27, 2007, blog post by blogger Mickey Kaus.[32] However, the forum did not attract serious attention until March 17, 2009, when an article published on Politico detailed the nature of the forum and the extent of its membership.[30] The Politico article set off debate within the blogosphere over the ethics of participating in JournoList and raised questions about its purpose. The first public excerpt of a discussion within JournoList was posted by Mickey Kaus on his blog on March 26, 2009.[33]

In addition to Ezra Klein, members of JournoList included, among others: Jeffrey Toobin, Eric Alterman, Paul Krugman, Joe Klein, Matthew Yglesias, and Jonathan Chait.

On June 25, 2010, Ezra Klein announced in his Washington Post blog that he would be terminating the JournoList group. This decision was instigated by fellow blogger Dave Weigel's resignation from the Post following the public exposure of several of his JournoList emails about conservative media figures.[34][35]

Klein had justified excluding conservative Republicans from participation as "not about fostering ideology but preventing a collapse into flame war. The emphasis is on empiricism, not ideology".[36]

Impeachment of the president

In 2017, Klein wrote an opinion piece indicating support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, stating:[37]

Impeachment is not a power we should take lightly; nor is it one we should treat as too explosive to use. There will be presidents who are neither criminals nor mental incompetents but who are wrong for the role, who pose a danger to the country and the world. It is a principle that sounds radical until you say it, at which point it sounds obvious: Being extremely bad at the job of president of the United States should be enough to get you fired.


In 2010, he was named Blogger of the Year by The Week magazine and The Sidney Hillman Foundation.[38][39] In 2011, he was named one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington, D.C., by GQ.[40] His blog was also named one of the 25 best financial blogs by Time magazine in 2011.[41] In 2013, Klein won the Online News Association Award for Best Online Commentary.[42] He also won the American Political Science Association's Carey McWilliams Award,[43] for "a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics." He appeared as one of 80 men featured in Esquire's 80th Anniversary issue[44] and in a feature in The New York Times Style magazine.[45]

Personal life

Klein is married to Annie Lowrey,[46] an economic policy reporter at The Atlantic.[47]


  1. ^ "List of Registered Voters" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections. 30 May 2016. p. 3871. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Ezra Klein". Prospect.org. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Down with the GVP!". Washington Post. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  4. ^ Marx, Greg. "Vox.com is going to be a great test of Ezra Klein's critique of journalism". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  5. ^ a b c d Jaffe, Harry (2010-03-04). "Post Watch: Whiz Kid on the block". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  6. ^ "What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? What Do Jews Bring To The World?". Moment Magazine. May 2011. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  7. ^ Wallace, Benjamin (2 February 2014). "Here, Let Ezra Explain". New York. p. 3. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  8. ^ Saney, Loully (2013-10-09). "Q&A: Washington Post reporter and Wonkblog editor Ezra Klein". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  9. ^ "A Conversation With Political Blogger Ezra Klein of Pandagon". LAist.com. 2004-11-02. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  10. ^ Weiss, Joanna (May 10, 2004). "Blogs colliding with traditional media: Convention credentials expected for Web logs". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  11. ^ Carr, David (2006-09-11). "A Comeback Overshadowed by a Blog". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  12. ^ "Ezra Klein: Moving Day". Ezraklein.typepad.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  13. ^ Klein, Ezra. "Ezra Klein - Introduction". Voices.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  14. ^ Hagey, Keach (April 29, 2011). "Bloomberg View reveals columnists, editorial board". Politico.com. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  15. ^ McCarthy, Tom (January 21, 2014). "Washington Post's Ezra Klein leaving newspaper to start 'new venture'". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  16. ^ Carlson, Nicholas (2014-01-27). "Here's What Everyone Is Too Polite To Say About Ezra Klein, Wonkblog, And Vox". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  17. ^ Byers, Dylan; Hadas Gold (2014-01-21). "Why The Washington Post passed on Ezra Klein". Politico. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  18. ^ "Why MSNBC is demoting Ed Schultz [Updated". The Week. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  19. ^ Klein, Ezra (2015-10-02). "The Weeds, Vox's new policy podcast, launches today". Vox. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  20. ^ Thompson, Matt (November 5, 2016). "A Podcast Listener's Guide to the 2016 Election". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "Vox steps out of the news cycle in Netflix series". NBC News. May 23, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Benton, Joshua. "Vox's new Netflix series is really good, but it doesn't get us any closer to figuring out what news on streaming platforms looks like". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  23. ^ "Joe Lieberman: Let's not make a deal!". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  24. ^ Dorn, Stan. Uninsured and Dying Because of It: Updating the Institute of Medicine Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality. Urban Institute.
  25. ^ Jonah Goldberg (2009-12-15). "Lieberman Loves Death More than Ezra Klein Loves Life". The Corner. National Review Online. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  26. ^ "The public option died last summer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  27. ^ Pappu, Sridhar (2010-03-25). "Washington's Brat Pack Masters Media". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  28. ^ Carney, Timothy (2011-02-28) Turns out ObamaCare might not save hundreds of thousands of lives, Washington Examiner
  29. ^ Ezra Klein (February 28, 2011). "Health care doesn't keep people healthy -- even in Canada" The Washington Post Accessed July 14, 2011.
  30. ^ a b c Michael Calderone (2009-03-17). "JournoList: Inside the echo chamber". The Politico. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  31. ^ "Google Discussiegroepen". Groups.google.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  32. ^ Mickey Kaus (2007-07-27). "Educating Ezra Klein". Slate. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  33. ^ Mickey Kaus (2009-03-26). "JournoList Revealed! Inside the Secret Liberal Media Email Cabal". Slate. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  34. ^ Klein, Ezra (June 25, 2010). "On Journolist, and Dave Weigel". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  35. ^ Keach Hagey, "David Weigel quits – and a debate begins, Politico.com, June 25, 2010. Retrieved 6-27-2010.
  36. ^ "EzraKlein Archive". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  37. ^ Ezra Klein (December 6, 2017). "The case for normalizing impeachment – Impeaching an unfit president has consequences. But leaving one in office could be worse". Vox Media. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  38. ^ "Winners of The Week Opinion Awards". Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  39. ^ "Sidney Hillman Foundation 2010 Prizes". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  40. ^ "The 50 Most Powerful People in Washington". GQ. February 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  41. ^ "The 25 Best Financial Blogs". Time Magazine. 2011-03-07. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  42. ^ "2013 Awards - Online News Association". Journalists.org. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  43. ^ "2013 American Political Science Association Awards" (PDF). Apsanet.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  44. ^ "Esquire: October 2013". 16 September 2013.
  45. ^ "Kids These Days". The New York Times. 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  46. ^ Stoeffel, Kat (2013-01-15). "Mazel Tov, Media Power Couple". Observer.com. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  47. ^ "The Atlantic Names Columnists Ibram X. Kendi, Annie Lowrey, Alex Wagner, and Kevin D. Williamson". The Atlantic. 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2018-08-21.

External links

  • Media related to Ezra Klein at Wikimedia Commons
  • Ezra Klein's blog at Washingtonpost.com
  • The American Prospect Ezra Klein page and writings
  • Ezra Klein's old blog at The American Prospect magazine
  • Ezra Klein's articles and essays published in various media
  • Video conversations and debates involving Ezra Klein on Bloggingheads.tv
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
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