Irish America's best journalists


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It’s often said that the Irish are adept story tellers. Little wonder then that the Irish in America have proven themselves to be among the most accomplished journalists in the country. 

As the list below indicates, Irish Americans journalists are a fairly diverse bunch. There’s Bill O’Reilly, a conservative who refers to his Irish background a lot. (He once mocked Steven Colbert for pronouncing his name “Col-bear”, which sounds French, rather than the Irish way, “Col-bert.”) Then there are also hardcore lefties, such as Michael Moore. And just like O’Reilly, Moore also refers to his Irish roots whenever he gets the chance.


1. Maureen Dowd

Nicknamed “The Cobra” by George W. Bush, Maureen Dowd has been a star columnist with The New York Times for more than ten years. Her father, Michael, grew up in Fenore, Co. Clare, before immigrating to Washington, where he became a police officer. He would also become a national president of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Her mother’s family came from Ballinrode, Co. Sligo.

Although a favorite hate figure among conservatives, Dowd has proven herself equally adept at skewering Republicans and Democrats alike.

Best quotes

On John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for running mate:

"Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting."

On Sarah Palin’s garbled use of language:

"She dangles gerunds, mangles prepositions, randomly exiles nouns and verbs and also — “also” is her favorite vamping word — uses verbs better left as nouns, as in, 'If Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them,” or how she tried to “progress the agenda.'"

On Hillary Clinton:

"It’s impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama’s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams."


2. Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin, who was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York, was a legendary New York newspaperman in the traditional sense: hard-drinking, rabble rousing and scrappy. He was a columnist with Newsday for many years, until his retirement in 2004.The author of many novels, he had also published several works of non-fiction, including "The Church that Forgot Christ," about the child abuse scandals that shook the American Catholic Church.

Best quotes

On writing:

"Rage is the only quality that has kept me, or anybody I ever studied, writing newspaper columns. I can control the rage in my writing, which is what I get paid for. I do not control it when I'm shouting off the written record."

On drinking:

"When you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place."

On the presidency:

The office of the President is such a bastardized thing, half royalty and half democracy, that nobody knows whether to genuflect or spit.


3. Pete Hamill 

Pete Hamill’s parents emigrated from Belfast to New York in the 1920s, and later, as a journalist he would report on The Troubles in Northern Ireland. When Hamill worked for the New York Post in the 1960s, pre-Rupert Murdoch, it was one of the city’s great liberal papers, and indeed Hamill describes himself as a “liberal Irish-American.” Like Jimmy Breslin, Hamill is also an accomplished novelist.