Ronald Brownstein is the political director for Atlantic Media Co., with responsibility for coordinating overall political coverage at its publications, which include The Atlantic, National Journal, the Hotline and Congress Daily; and also the editorial director for National Journal Group. He writes a weekly column on politics and policy which appears simultaneously in National Journal and the Los Angeles Times, as well as articles in National Journal and The Atlantic.
From 1990 through 2007, he served as the national political correspondent and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. For seven months in 1998 he served as chief political correspondent and columnist for U.S. News and World Report.
Mr. Brownstein has twice been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, receiving that recognition for his coverage in the Los Angeles Times of both the 1996 and 2004 presidential campaigns. The Pulitzer Board, naming him a finalist in 2005, cited “the clarity, consistency and quality of his political reporting during a presidential election year.”
For the 2012 election cycle, Mr. Brownstein is serving both as a political commentator for ABC and a senior political analyst for CNN. Mr. Brownstein has appeared frequently on “Meet the Press,” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and previously appeared regularly on “Face the Nation,” “The Newshour with Jim Lehrer,” and “Washington Week in Review.” He has also been a repeat guest on Charlie Rose (where he has served as a substitute host), Nightline, the three network morning programs, MSNBC, CNBC, as well as C-SPAN. From 1998 through 2005, he served as an on-air political analyst for CNN.
Mr. Brownstein is the author or editor of six books, including The Power and The Glitter: The Hollywood-Washington Connection, published in January 1991 by Pantheon Books and Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival (Little Brown 1996), which he co-authored with Dan Balz. He co-authored Reagan’s Ruling Class: Portraits of the President’s Too 100 Officials, a Washington Post best- seller for five weeks in 1982. In 1980, he was editor and co-author of Selecting a President; he was also editor and co-author of Who’s Poisoning America, published in 1981 by Sierra Club Books. His sixth book, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America, was published by Penguin in November, 2007 and named by the New York Times as one of “ten books to curl up with” for 2007. It was also named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award.
His articles on politics, public policy, books and culture have appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Vanity Fair, the New Republic, the Financial Times, the Washington Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Times of London, the Times Literary Supplement, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, and the Miami Herald.
From 1983 through 1986, he served as White House and national politics correspondent for the National Journal in Washington, D.C. From 1987 through 1989, he served as West Coast Correspondent for the National Journal and a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. In addition, during that period he contributed columns on politics to the Los Angeles Times Sunday opinion section. From 1979 through 1983, he served as the chief staff writer for Ralph Nader in Washington.
Mr. Brownstein was born in New York City on April 6, 1958. He was graduated, with honors, from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1979 with a degree in English Literature. He is the recipient of several journalism awards, including the Excellence in Media award from the National Council on Public Polls in 2005, and the journalist of the year award from the Los Angeles Press Club in 2005. In 2007, the American Political Science Association presented him its Carey McWilliams award, its highest award for lifetime journalistic achievement.
In February 2001, Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of Washington’s 20 “best and most influential” journalists. When Brill’s Content magazine asked President Clinton in 2000 to name the “one journalist who generally gets it right, explains to you what the issues are, and what’s going on in the country,” he cited Brownstein.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Columbia Journalism Review, the nation’s most prestigious journalism magazine, ranked Brownstein first when listing “reporters who consistently rise above the superficial to do original and often insightful work.” In its post-election review of campaign coverage, the CJR also cited Brownstein as the reporter and columnist who produced the most insightful work on the election.
He is married with two sons and lives in Washington.