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The Death of Alexander Cockburn

July 23, 2012

Tags: Alexander Cockburn


Leftist journalist Alexander Cockburn, who wrote for The Village Voice and later The Nation magazine, has died. In the Fall of 1996, I interned for Alex, and though I did not know him well I was an admirer at the time. Later, I published many articles on his web site, Counterpunch.

Over the past few years, however, I have had my criticisms of Cockburn and penned this article on al-Jazeera.

Whatever the questionable political positions of Alex Cockburn over the years, and there are many, it would behoove the left to be a little gracious in death. The headline of this obit, for example, is distasteful.

On the other hand, to be fair Alex was also vicious in his own obit on the occasion of writer Christoper Hitchens’ death. Ironically, in this piece Cockburn attacked Hitchens in turn for penning a nasty obit of noted Palestinian academic Edward Said on the occasion of the latter’s death.

With so much personal attack post mortem, is it any wonder that the right has been able to monopolize the moniker of "compassionate conservatism"?

Message to the left: we can do better than this.