- Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones magazine
- Former Washington Editor of The Nation
- Former writer for Ralph Nader
- Writes both journalism and fiction
David Corn has been the Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones magazine since October 2007. In this role, he supervises six reporters and writers who cover politics and policy in the District of Columbia. Corn is also a Fox News Channel commentator and a contributing editor for CQ.com, which hosts his daily blog. He has been a substitute host on the CNN program Crossfire. And he has blogged for the Huffington Post and the "Comment Is Free" section of The Guardian website. He writes on a variety of topics, with a special focus on politics, the White House, Congress, and the national security establishment.
Corn was born in February 1959 in New York City, the son of Kenneth Corn, an accountant, and Ruth Goldfine Corn, a social worker.
Prior to graduating from Brown University in 1982, Corn had begun working for activist Ralph Nader as a writer for various publications and books produced by the latter and his public interest groups.
Corn next worked at Harper's magazine. In 1987 he was hired as Washington Editor at The Nation, where he would remain employed until 2007.
Corn's writings have appeared in numerous publications, including, in addition to those named above: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, Newsday, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, the LA Weekly, the Village Voice, The Independent, Elle, Slate, Salon, TomPaine.com, and AlterNet.org. He also has done commentaries for National Public Radio, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and Pacifica Radio. He was a co-host with Pat Buchanan on the syndicated radio talk show Buchanan and Company.
Corn has appeared in a few films produced by documentary propagandist Robert Greenwald. He played prominent roles in Greenwald's Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War (2003); Le Monde selon Bush (French for The World According to Bush, 2004); and Uncovered: The War on Iraq (2004).
Corn's writing blurs the lines between fact and fiction. His 1994 biography Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades cast a critical eye on the life of an enigmatic intelligence agency operative. His 1999 novel Deep Background was a political thriller. He contributed to Unusual Suspects, a 1996 anthology of mystery and crime. And his 1997 short story "My Murder" was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allen Poe Award.
In the wake of 9/11, Corn argued that radical Islam posed a lesser threat to the West than did America's "national security cadre" which would, Corn predicted, use the attacks as an excuse to "bolster the military and intelligence establishment."
But Corn suffered backlash from the left when he scorned conspiracy theories suggesting that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by U.S. agents in order to blame Islamists and justify the war on terrorism. "Such a plot -- to execute the simultaneous destruction of the two towers, a piece of the Pentagon, and four airplanes and make it appear as if it all was done by another party -- is far beyond the skill level of U.S. intelligence," wrote Corn.
In a November 2002 L.A. Weekly article titled "Behind the Placards: The Odd and Troubling Origins of Today's Antiwar Movement," Corn assailed the role of the Communist front organization International A.N.S.W.E.R. as the vanguard that was organizing and controlling most major antiwar protests in the U.S. at that time. "It is not redbaiting," wrote Corn, for critics "to note the WWP's [Workers World Party's] not-too-hidden hand in the nascent anti-war movement."
Corn was a noteworthy figure in the media's coverage of "Plamegate," the controversy over media leaks about the identity of CIA analyst Valerie Plame. After Plame's identity had been revealed in a July 14, 2003 column by Robert Novak, Corn was the first to report, four days later, that Plame had been working covertly for the CIA. He criticized Novak for having published the information in possible violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Novak disputed that Plame actually had been a covert operative, and said of Corn: "Nobody was more responsible [than Corn] for bloating this episode." According to Novak, Corn's objectivity was compromised by the latter's close association with Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
In 2004 Corn, who was affiliated with Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law, spoke out against Nader's presidential bid in that year's November elections: "Ralph gave me my start [in independent journalism], and I am forever grateful…. It has saddened me to watch him destroy his legacy … by mounting a fool's errand of a campaign."
Following the 2004 re-election of President George W. Bush, Corn in The Nation dismissed leftwing claims that Republicans had stolen the election. "After the Florida 2000 mess," wrote Corn, "I examined almost a third of the 10,500 uncounted votes in Miami-Dade County. Of those, only a few hundred contained a discernible vote. Tallying them produced merely a five-vote edge for Al Gore. It is highly improbable that the pool of uncounted and provisional ballots in Ohio [in 2004] could have yielded [John] Kerry a net gain of more than 136,000 votes [President Bush's winning margin]." Corn likewise dismissed claims that Republicans somehow had penetrated and rigged hundreds of election computers across the country.
After taking these positions, Corn came under harsh attack from the left.
In September 2003, Corn published The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception. In 2006 he co-authored (with Michael Isikoff) The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.