Dan Froomkin

I'm the founder and executive editor of the nascent Center for Accountability Journalism, a nonprofit organization that will serve as a clearinghouse, amplifier and model of great accountability journalism while also holding journalism itself accountable for its failure to do more. Watch this space: FearlessMedia.org

E-mail me at froomkin@gmail.com.

Jump to: Critical Acclaim | Writing on the Media | Huffington Post Highlights | Nieman Foundation Highlights | Washington Post Highlights

Dan Froomkin's Work History: 

    Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, 2004 to present
      Contributing Editor, Nieman Reports, August 2012 to present
      Deputy Editor, NiemanWatchdog.org, April 2004 to August 2012
    The Huffington Post, 2009 to 2012
      Senior Washington Correspondent, March 2010 to December 2012
      Washington Bureau Chief, August 2009 to March 2010
    The Washington Post, 1997 to 2009
      White House Watch columnist, January 2004 to June 2009
      Editor, washingtonpost.com, 2000 to 2003
      Metro Editor, washingtonpost.com, 1999 to 2000
      Senior Producer for Politics, washingtonpost.com, 1997 to 1999
    Education Week, 1996 to 1997
      Editor of New Media
    Michigan Journalism Fellowship, 1995 to 1996
    The Orange County Register, 1989 to 1995
    The Miami Herald, 1987 to 1999
    The Winston-Salem Journal, 1986 to 1987
    Teaching experience:
      American University School of Communications, adjunct professor; Poynter Institute
      Yale University, Class of 1985

Critical Acclaim:

    When I left the Washington Post in June 2009, the response was extraordinary. Thousands of amazing comments were posted by readers after the Post's then-ombudsman broke the news -- "nearly all of them expressing outrage," as he put it. My announcement and my final column also prompted strong reader response. (The reaction was reminiscent of December 2005, when then-Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that I was too opinionated. My response and an explanation from then-political editor John Harris elicited nearly 2,000 expressions of support from readers.)

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called me "someone who was right when the serious people were wrong." Glenn Greenwald, then a columnist at Salon, wrote "Froomkin is everything that a political journalist is supposed to be - and everything that most of them are not." Steve Benen, then at the Washington Monthly, wrote that "Froomkin was one of the media's most important critics of the Bush White House, and conservative bashing notwithstanding, was poised to be just as valuable holding the Obama White House accountable for its decisions." The Atlantic's James Fallows called the Post's decision "insane." Charles Kaiser, then with the Sidney Hillman Foundation, wrote "Froomkin is a superb reporter, who consistently covers stories that his own newspaper--and the rest of the national press--routinely ignore." And Andrew Sullivan, then at the Atlantic, wrote that "Froomkin has been a hero in exposing the torture regime of Bush and Cheney" and "had the feel of someone saying what he believed, without wondering what others thought. This violates Beltway convention."

Writing on the Media: 

The Snowden leaks have exposed the need for a national discussion on privacy, but it isn't happening (Al Jazeera America, October 2013)
The Snowden leaks have exposed the need for a national discussion on privacy, but it isn't happening.

Shutdown coverage fails Americans (Al Jazeera America, October 2013)
We need journalists to hold politicians accountable for extremist actions, not to enable them.

The Too-Many Prisoners Dilemma (Nieman Reports, September 2013)
Prisons are a vast, undercovered but important beat.

Writing a Neutral Story About Something So Heartless As the Food Stamp Vote Is Not Good Journalism (Huffington Post, September 2013)
Instead of reporting the obvious, political reporters write triangulating mush that leaves readers to fend for themselves.

Suddenly, a ray of hope for the Post (Columbia Journalism Review, August, 2013)
Bezos purchase may be a last chance for newsrooms to become 'nerve centers for the Internet'.

How to Keep Sources Secure from Surveillance (Nieman Reports, August 2013)
The U.S. government is willing and able to use journalists' telephone and Internet records to pursue sources who leak secrets to the media. So we have to work harder to keep their identities secret.

The Case for a Secrecy Beat (Columbia Journalism Review, June 2013)
If the extraordinary secrecy that has spread throughout our government since 9/11 is what makes it difficult to hold a public debate on key issues, then the media's role should be to push back against that secrecy. And our most powerful weapon is reporters.

Why Is There So Little Coverage of Americans Struggling With Poverty? (Nieman Reports, Winter 2013)
Although nearly 50 million people -- about one in six Americans -- live in poverty, defined as income below $23,021 a year for a family of four, most news organizations largely ignore the issue. But persistent poverty is in some ways the ultimate accountability story -- because, often, poverty happens by design.

Truth or Consequences: Where is Watchdog Journalism Today? (Nieman Reports, Spring 2013)
To many people, watchdog reporting is synonymous with investigative reporting, specifically, ferreting out secrets. But there's another, maybe even more crucial form, that involves rebuffing and rebutting misinformation.

How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign (Huffington Post, December 2012)
Members of the mainstream media are so terrified of appearing biased that they couldn't bring themselves to report about how the Republican Party lied its way through the 2012 campaign with impunity, argue Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. "If voters are going to be able to hold accountable political figures, they've got to know what's going on."

'Playing it Safe' Is Killing the American Newspaper (Huffington Post, May 2009)
We stifle some of our best stories with a wet blanket of pseudo- neutrality. We edit out tone. We banish anything smacking of activism. We don't telegraph our own enthusiasm for what it is we're doing. We vaguely assume the readers will understand how valuable a service we're providing for them -- but evidently, many of them don't.

The lessons of our failure (NiemanWatchdog.org, October 2008)
Fear was the biggest factor in the press's decision not to challenge President Bush and his aides as they made what turned out to be a plainly specious case for war.

A refresher on how the press failed the people (NiemanWatchdog.org, May 2008)
The blistering critique of an overly credulous press corps by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan reignited a debate over the performance of mainstream journalists during the run-up to war in Iraq. But it's really not a debate at all.

I.F. Stone's lessons for Internet journalism (Nieman Reports, Summer 2007)
Bloggers are taking up where the great rebel journalist left off, but if the news industry is to thrive on the Internet, reporters and editors shouldn't be far behind. News organizations would do better online by replacing their bored monotone with a passionate adherence to traditional journalistic values.

Washington Journalism on Trial (Washington Post, February 2007)
At the Scooter Libby trial, the behavior of elite members of Washington's press corps -- sometimes appearing more interested in protecting themselves and their cozy "sources" than in informing the public -- is being exposed for all the world to see.

On Calling Bullshit (NiemanWatchdog.org, November 2006)
Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do.

Highlights from the Huffington Post

The Idealists (October 2012)
Progressive activists savored far fewer victories than they had anticipated in Obama's first term -- and they've licked many more wounds.

Republican Voter Suppression Campaign Rolls Back Early Voting (August 2012)
Republican-led legislatures have dramatically reduced early voting in 2012 as part of a concerted effort to suppress the votes of Democratic-leaning voters.

The Dark Side Of The Obama White House (July 2012)
Two books paint a disturbing picture of expanded and unrestrained power as Obama secretly pursues new ways of waging acknowledged and unacknowledged wars.

U.N. Envoy: U.S. Isn't Protecting Occupy Protesters' Rights (June 2012)
The UN envoy for freedom of expression wants to know why U.S. officials aren't protecting the rights of Occupy demonstrators whose protests are being violently disbanded by local authorities.

Social Welfare State, American-Style, Means Relief For The Rich (January 2012)
The U.S. is a social welfare state -- in our case, a lot of the benefits go to the rich.

Suskind's Confidence Men Raises Questions About Obama's Credibility (December 2011)
Obama staffed his economic team with former Clinton appointees sympathetic with Wall Street, then deferred to them over and over again.

U.N. Envoy: U.S. Isn't Protecting Occupy Protesters' Rights (December 2011)
Special rapporteur for freedom of expression says federal government should be actively protecting protesters against local law enforcement.

How Many U.S. Soldiers Were Wounded in Iraq? Guess Again. (December 2011)
Hundreds of thousands soldiers were wounded in Iraq, if you take into account traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, diseases, and other long-term health problems.

U.S. To Hand Over Iraq Bases, Equipment Worth Billions (September 2011)
Department of Defense is engaged in a mad dash to give away things that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars to buy and build.

Dick Cheney Book Tour: 11 Questions Reporters Should Be Asking (August 2011)
Questions about torture, the war in Iraq, Valerie Plame, Karl Rove, Halliburton and the man he shot in the face.

Is Torture In America's Future As Well As In Our Country's Past? (July 2011)
Without accountability, there's no reason to think that the next time a perceived emergency comes up, some other president or vice president won't torture again.

Cass Sunstein: The Obama Administration's Ambivalent Regulator (June 2011)
Obama's choice of Cass Sunstein to be his regulatory czar was an early example of how some of his staffing decisions would undercut his lofty campaign promises.

Torture May Have Slowed Hunt For Bin Laden, Not Hastened It (May 2011)
Torture apologists are reaching precisely the wrong conclusion from the back-story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Turkey Spared -- But Obama's Compassion For Humans Comes Up Short (November 2010)
Obama could restore rights, right wrongs, and bring freedom to the unduly oppressed with his grants of clemency. But he chooses not to.

The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir (November 2010)
Bush did not have a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, and did not have a legitimate reason to torture detainees.

Feds Dramatically Increase Oil Spill Estimate, Making BP's The Worst Offshore Oil Accident In History (August 2010)
At long last, the Coast Guard dramatically increased the official federal estimate.

NOAA Claims Scientists Reviewed Controversial Report; The Scientists Say Otherwise (August 2010)
NOAA director Jane Lubchenco repeatedly insisted that independent scientists had given a rosy report about the BP oil spill it their stamp of approval. But they didn't.

Latest Federal Government Estimate Still Understates Oil Flow (June 2010)
A new federal estimate of how much oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico remains a low-ball figure, too easily misinterpreted and adopted by the media.

Gulf Oil Spill: Federal Estimates Again Eclipsed By Reality (June 2010)
Video from the sea floor has once again exposed as ludicrous the federal estimates of how much oil is poisoning the Gulf of Mexico.

Where's The Oil? Your Government Doesn't Really Know (May 2010)
Three weeks into the spill, most of the oil is likely lurking below the surface, in a gigantic underwater plume the size and trajectory of which remain largely a mystery.

Rahm Emanuel: Obama's Chief Of Sabotage (May 2010)
Rahm Emanuel was the poster child for the timid, pseudo-pragmatism that is inimical to the idealistic Obama agenda so many excited voters responded to in 2008.

Stop Robert Rubin Before He Kills Again (April 2010)
The last thing Washington needs is another infusion of deregulatory zeal, deficit obsession, free tradeism and general coziness with fat-cat Wall Street bankers.

With Greg Craig Out Of The Way, Coast Is Clear For White House To Make Legal Calls On Political Grounds (March 2010)
When Greg Craig was hounded out of the White House, Barack Obama's conscience was surgically removed.

Highlights from the Nieman Foundation

The Big Chill (Nieman Reports, Fall 2012)
The Obama administration is operating amid unprecedented secrecy -- while attacking journalists trying to tell the public what they need to know.

Defying Gravity (Nieman Reports, Fall 2012)
Book review of Hedrick Smith's gripping history of the 40 years since wealth started falling up.

What if prison is the disease, not the cure? (NiemanWatchdog.org, March 2012)
If reporters were to look at mass incarceration as a problem rather than a solution, that would lead to a lot of different questions, says public health expert Ernest Drucker. Among those questions: How do you reduce it? How can you mitigate the harm?

'Wealth defense industry' protects oligarchs from the rabble and its taxes (NiemanWatchdog.org , December 2011)
Thousands of lawyers, accountants and consultants work full-time to defend the wealth of the richest Americans. It's their secretive labor that makes the effective tax rate so regressive for the ultra-rich -- and makes everyone else so angry.

Seven things about the economy that everyone should be more worried about than they are (NiemanWatchdog.org, January 2010)
An anemic recovery, a double dip recession, another stock market crash, more financial-sector follies, deficit hawks stifling growth, and the death of the middle class as we know it are among the dire possibilities reporters should be writing about furiously.

NiemanWatchdog.org series on accountability for torture (Spring 2009)
When you think about how much remains hidden, how many issues are still unresolved, how many injustices have never been redressed, and how little accountability there has been, it's hard to make the argument that we're ready to move on.

A refresher on how the press failed the people (NiemanWatchdog.org, May 2008)
The blistering critique of an overly credulous press corps by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan reignited a debate over the performance of mainstream journalists during the run-up to war in Iraq. But it's really not a debate at all.

Lessons from Iraq (NiemanWatchdog.org, February 2007)
Journalists, and through us the public, have a grave responsibility to not be complicit in another march to war on false pretenses. So what lessons should we have learned from Iraq? Start with: You can't be too skeptical of authority.

Highlights from the Washington Post

White House Watched (June 2009)
My last White House Watch column for The Washington Post, in which I look back on the Bush years and think of all the lies.

Krauthammer's Asterisks (May 2009)
Charles Krauthammer tries to find loopholes for impermissible evil. But the ticking time bomb scenario only exists on TV and in dark fantasies of morally deficient authoritarians.

The Dinner That Went Mad (May 2009)
The White House Correspondents dinner is the ultimate black-tied manifestation of the dangerous coziness between Washington's journalistic elites and the people they cover.

Bush's Torture Rationale Debunked (March 2009)
Abu Zubaida was President George W. Bush's Exhibit A in defense of the "enhanced interrogation" procedures. And almost everything Bush said was wrong.

Pack of Liars (December 2008)
The bipartisan Senate report on the abuse of detainees traces the responsibility to Bush and exposes the administration's repeated explanations as a pack of lies.

Vindication for the Bush Critique (June 2008)
Former press secretary Scott McClellan's detailed recounting of what he saw from the inside vindicates pretty much all the central pillars of the Bush critique chronicled here.

Intimidating the Press (April 2008)
The White House persuaded the New York Times to suppress its expose on warrantless surveillance when it might have had a profound effect on Bush's reelection hopes.

Congress Goes Belly Up (December 2007)
Historians looking back on the Bush presidency may well wonder if Congress actually existed.

What Addington Wrought (September 2007)
At the center of the Bush White House's most extreme overreaches lies David S. Addington.

Countless White House E-Mails Deleted (April 2007)
Countless e-mails to and from many key White House staffers have been deleted due to a brazen violation of internal White House policy that continued for more than six years.

The Cloud Over Cheney (February 2007)
In closing arguments, Patrick Fitzgerald at long last made it clear that the depth of Vice President Cheney's role in the leaking of the identity of a CIA operative is one of the central mysteries that Scooter Libby's lies prevented investigators from resolving.

Washington Journalism on Trial (February 2007)
At the Scooter Libby trial, the behavior of elite members of Washington's press corps -- sometimes appearing more interested in protecting themselves and their cozy "sources" than in informing the public -- is being exposed for all the world to see.

The Unbelievable Karl Rove (November 2006)
How did Karl Rove get everything so wrong? And shouldn't we take anything he says from this point forward with a big grain of salt?

Bush's Imaginary Foes (September 2006)
President Bush's angry nonanswers to two straightforward questions illustrate his intense aversion to responding to his critics' actual arguments.

Bush Gets His Way (September 2006)
Pay no attention to the news stories suggesting that the White House caved in on interrogation methods on suspected terrorists that many say constitute torture.

Bush Bubble Alive and Well (August 2006)
Bush has no interest in engaging in genuine dialogue with anyone who disagrees with him about Iraq. He has no interest in actually arguing the merits of his approach.

Executive Power Outrage (June 2006)
When all is said and done, the biggest story of the Bush presidency will likely be its dramatic expansion of executive power -- engineered by Vice President Cheney, unchecked by a supine Congress, and underreported by the traditional media.

Why So Defensive? (May 2006)
Stephen Colbert's message at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner was that Bush is a joke, and the mainstream press is a joke, because it takes Bush at his word. It was too much for the self-satisfied upper crust of the media elite to handle.

A Compelling Story (March 2006)
Slowly but surely, Murray Waas has been putting together a compelling narrative about how President Bush and his top aides contrived their bogus case for war in Iraq; how they succeeded in keeping charges of deception from becoming a major issue in the 2004 election; and how they continue to keep most of the press off the trail to this day.

Miller's Big Secret (September 2005)
Can it be? That after all that, New York Times reporter Judith Miller sat in jail for 12 weeks to protect the confidentiality of a very senior White House aide -- even though the aide repeatedly made it clear he didn't want protecting?

The Gulf Between Rhetoric and Reality (September 2005)
On his tour of the devastated Gulf Coast, President Bush runs into another kind of gulf -- one between what his administration says it is doing and what the American public is watching on television.