1. Alexander Cockburn
I first started reading Alexander Cockburn in 1980. Until then, I didn’t know that it was kosher to write with such verve and venom. For a young, aspiring political writer, it was a real rabbit trick. And I wanted to learn how.
Throughout the 1980s, Cockburn, more than any other writer in America, flashed a light on Reagan’s shameful support for the death squads in El Salvador and his illegal war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.
Cockburn had no use for Democratic Presidents, either. He criticized Jimmy Carter for his East Timor policy. And he excoriated Bill Clinton for destroying welfare and for pushing through his punitive crime bill.