Ezra Klein (born May 9, 1984) is a liberal American blogger and columnist for The Washington Post, columnist for Bloomberg, a columnist for Newsweek, and a contributor to MSNBC. He was formerly an associate editor of The American Prospect political magazine and a political blogger at the same publication.
Klein was born and raised in Irvine, California, and 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 UCLA, he applied to write for the Daily Bruin but was rejected.
Klein is a middle child, raised in a Jewish family. Religiously, he now identifies as an agnostic. His father is a math professor, his mother an artist.
Klein started his first blog in February 2003. He soon joined with Matt Singer, and the name was changed to "Klein/Singer: Political Consulting on the Cheap." In June 2003, he moved to the blog "Not Geniuses" along with Matt Singer, Ryan J. Davis, and Joe Rospars.
Following "Not Geniuses," Klein partnered with Jesse Taylor at Pandagon. This partnership helped Klein gain even more visibility, leading to his eventual founding of his blog "Ezra Klein."
Besides his online contributions, Klein worked on Howard Dean's primary campaign in Vermont in 2003, and interned for the Washington Monthly in Washington, D.C. in 2004. "I used to have political aspirations," said Klein. "...in the sense of getting my name on a ballot and promising Iowans more ethanol subsidies than they could handle. But over time, I found that I enjoy writing far more. More to the point, I think that the creation of a media environment that can sustain and propel progressivism is more important than any single elected official. I'd trade a liberal O'Reilly (or Limbaugh!) for 5, 10 congressmen. 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."
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. In 2006, Klein was one of several writers pseudonymously flamed by The New Republic writer Lee Siegel (posting as a sock puppet called sprezzatura).
On December 10, 2007, Klein moved his blog full time to the American Prospect.
Klein's prolific blogging caught the attention of Steve Pearlstein, the Washington Post's veteran business columnist. A friend referred him to Klein's work in the American Prospect. "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 quickly hired Klein to be the Post’s first pure blogger on politics and economics. On May 18, 2009, he began writing at the newspaper.
His writing interests include health policy, the labor movement, electoral politics and food. He writes a primer on policy called "Wonkbook," which is delivered by e-mail and on his blog each morning.
Klein frequently provides political commentary on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews. He is a former contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
In May 2011 when it launched, Klein became a columnist for Bloomberg View in addition to his work at The Washington Post and MSNBC.
Health care debate
In December 2009, Klein wrote an article in the Washington Post that because Senator Joe Lieberman was motivated to oppose health care legislation in part out of resentment at liberals for being defeated in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary, it meant that Lieberman was "willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score". Klein based his estimate off of an Urban Institute report that estimated that 22,000 people died in 2006 because they lacked health-care insurance. This article was criticized by Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, who called it a "silly claim." 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." Klein later said he regretted the phrasing 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.
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." Posts within JournoList were intended only to be made and read by its members. 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 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”.
The existence of JournoList was first publicly revealed in a July 27, 2007 blog post by blogger Mickey Kaus. 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. 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.
Members of JournoList included, among others: Ezra Klein, Jeffrey Toobin, Eric Alterman, Paul Krugman, Joe Klein (no relation to Ezra 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.
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".
Klein is married to Annie Lowrey, an economics reporter at The New York Times.
- 2007 The Hillman Prize, for "Tapped", The American Prospect.
- 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