Jonathan Cohn

Jonathan Cohn is senior national correspondent at The Huffington Post. He served as an editor and writer at The American Prospect from 1991 to 1997, and is the author of Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price.

Recent Articles

Should Journalists Do Community Service?

T he Philadelphia Inquirer should not have been embarrassed last May when the Wall Street Journal uncovered a scandal in a Philadelphia charity. Even Pulitzer magnets like the Inky sometimes miss big stories right under their noses. But this was no ordinary case of being scooped by out-of-town competition. The foundation that the Journal exposed as a scam had been the subject of a favorable profile in the Inquirer only two weeks earlier, and it turns out the same foundation had indirectly helped finance an Inquirer project. Worse still, the project was an experiment in public journalism, a controversial approach to newspapering criticized precisely for its potential to create ugly conflicts of interest. Since its emergence several years ago, few topics have generated as much controversy in the media business as public journalism. Less a point-by-point program than an evolving philosophy, public journalism stresses solution-oriented reporting and seeks to make the news media a...

Storylines: Scandals for Dummies

O n the first Sunday in March, the Washington Post published an investigative piece highlighting Vice President Al Gore's central role in the Democratic Party fundraising operation. The article, by Bob Woodward, chronicled how Gore called donors one by one, hitting them up for money in a manner so direct even one veteran fundraiser called the experience a "shakedown." The article also described how in one instance, Gore called a donor to acknowledge a $100,000 gift to the Democratic Party—a gift the donor says was intended as a "thank you" for assistance in gaining a lucrative telecommunications contract. Since television producers use articles in the Sunday Post as their cues for coverage—particularly when the articles feature Woodward's byline—it was no surprise to find questions about Gore's fundraising all over the Sunday talk shows. On NBC's Meet the Press , host Tim Russert pressed his two guests—Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Orrin Hatch—on whether the Vice President...

A Lost Political Generation?

The Doofus Generation. That's what The Washington Post calls those of us in our twenties, who came of political age during the 1970s and 1980s. In the eyes of many observers, we are indifferent and ignorant -- unworthy successors to the baby-boom generation that in the 1960s set the modern standard for political activism by the young. To an extent, they are right. My generation has become acquainted with political realism, and cynicism, early in life. But it is a mistake to equate such cynicism with a lack of moral compassion or concern about public issues. As much as previous generations, we have ideals -- strong ones, in fact. Most of us just do not expect to achieve those ideals through electoral politics, and that expectation frames our distinctive generational crisis: Although we want desperately to act according to our ideals, we lack the experiences to turn our idealism into an activist politics. This perspective on politics transcends traditional ideological labels and is the...

Child's Play

Tracey Hunt, a 28-year-old single mother living in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, did not want to go back on welfare. She had been there before, about five years ago, while she was pregnant with her second child. Back then, the problem was not a lack of work; it was that the work (waiting tables at a local restaurant) didn't pay enough to justify the cost of day care. And while the restaurant owner thought highly enough of her to offer a promotion to manager, Hunt couldn't accept the post--and the higher salary--because it would have meant finding child care at night, which is prohibitively expensive if you can find it at all. So Hunt reluctantly went onto public assistance, where she benefited from state-subsidized day care and took job training courses. After 10 months, she returned to work, a true welfare-to-work success story. Only now, five years later, she was back in a familiar bind. For two years she'd been working at a local economic development agency. But now she had another...

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