May 24, 2013
Molly Ivins, Contributing Columnist
Molly Ivins is a nationally syndicated political columnist who remains cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasizes the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never has to write fiction.
Ivins is from Houston, Texas, graduated from Smith College in 1966, attended Columbia University’s School of Journalism and studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris.
Her first newspaper job was at the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She rapidly worked her way up to the position of sewer editor, where she wrote a number of gripping articles about street closings. She went on to the Minneapolis Tribune and was the first woman police reporter in that city. In the late 1960s, she was assigned to a beat called “Movements for Social Change,” covering angry blacks, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers.
Ivins returned to Texas as co-editor of the Texas Observer, a sprightly, muckraking publication devoted to coverage of Texas politics and social issues. She roamed the state in search of truth, justice and good stories. In 1976, Ivins joined The New York Times, first as a political reporter in New York City and Albany; she was then named Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief, chiefly because there was no one else in the bureau. For three years she covered nine mountain states by herself, and was often tired.
In 1982, she returned to Texas as a columnist for the late Dallas Times-Herald, and after its much-lamented demise, she spent the next nine years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She became an independent journalist in 2001 writing her column for Creators Syndicate. Also in 2001 she won the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, the Smith Medal from Smith College and was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was the 2003 recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service; also in 2003, she received the Pringle Prize for Washington Journalism from Columbia University and the Eugene V. Debs Award in the field of journalism. In 2004, she received the David Brower Award for journalism from the Sierra Club.
Her freelance work has appeared in Esquire, Harper’s, Atlantic, The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, TV Guide, and many less-worthy publications when she desperately needed the money—of which the most memorable was something called Playgirl. She is also known for her essays on National Public Radio as well as media appearances around the world. Ivins has written six best-selling books, the most recent being, BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush’s America, in 2003 and WHO LET THE DOGS IN? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known, in 2004.
Ivins is active in the American Civil Liberties Union and often writes about First Amendment issues. She donates a speech every month to the First Amendment. She became one of the world’s Leading Authorities on George W. Bush entirely by accident. She has known him since they were in high school, and as Sir Edmund Hillary said of Mount Everest—he was there.
Ivins counts as her highest honors that the Minneapolis police force named its mascot pig after her, and that she was once banned from the campus of Texas A&M.
By Molly Ivins
Bushwhacked : Life in George W. Bush’s America by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose
Shrub : The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush by Molly Ivins
Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? by Molly Ivins