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Michael Kinsley (born March 9, 1951) is an American political journalist, commentator, television host, and pundit. Primarily active in print media as both a writer and editor, he also became known to television audiences as a co-host on Crossfire. Kinsley has been a notable participant in the mainstream media's development of online content.
Kinsley was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, then graduated from Harvard College in 1972. At Harvard, Kinsley served as vice president of the University's daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, then returned to Harvard for law school. While still a third-year law student, he began working at The New Republic and was allowed to finish his Harvard Juris Doctor degree via courses at the evening program at The George Washington University Law School.
Kinsley's first exposure to a national television audience was as moderator of William Buckley's Firing Line. In 1979 Kinsley became editor of The New Republic and wrote that magazine's TRB column for most of the 1980s and 1990s. That column was also reprinted in a variety of newspaper op-ed pages, including the Washington Post, and made Kinsley's reputation as a leading political commentator. Kinsley also served as editor at Harper's (for a year and a half in the early 1980s), managing editor of Washington Monthly (in the mid-1970s, while still in school), and American Editor of The Economist (a short-term, honorary position).
In 2002 Kinsley married Patty Stonesifer, previously married with adult children. Stonesifer is a frequent television commentator who was responsible for the former Microsoft news portion of the MSNBC merger (including Slate magazine, where Kinsley served as an editor.) Stonesifer served as chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for eleven years, and is now a senior advisor.
In 1989, Kinsley agreed to take a position on CNN's Crossfire, co-hosting with conservative Pat Buchanan. Representing the liberal or left-wing position in the televised political debates, Kinsley combined a dry wit with nerdy demeanour and analytical skills.
In January 1995, Kinsley made a cameo appearance on the first episode of the Delta Burke CBS sitcom, Women of the House, titled "Miss Sugarbaker Goes to Washington". In the episode, Suzanne Sugarbaker is a guest on the CNN political program, Crossfire. John Sununu also appears.
After leaving Crossfire in 1995, Kinsley returned to his editorial roots, relocating to Seattle and taking a position with Microsoft as the founding editor of its online journal Slate. In 1999 he was named "Editor of the Year" by the Columbia Journalism Review for his work at that magazine. Kinsley stepped down from Slate in 2002, shortly after disclosing that he had Parkinson's disease.
Kinsley next moved to the Los Angeles Times as the Editorial Page Editor in April 2004. Kinsley maintained his Seattle residence and often worked from there, commuting to Los Angeles on a part-time basis. During his tenure, Kinsley tried to overhaul the paper's editorial page and led an abortive experiment with a Wikitorial, while also receiving criticism from USC professor and feminist advocate Susan Estrich, alleging the lack of editorials written by women. Kinsley announced his departure in September 2005 after a falling out with the publisher. He returned to writing a weekly column which appeared in The Washington Post and Slate, and in 2006 he served briefly as American editor of The Guardian. He later became a regular columnist for Time magazine.
On July 12, 2006 Kinsley underwent a form of surgery known as deep brain stimulation, to treat his Parkinson's Disease. Initial reports suggest that the operation was a success. According to a joke reference in Time, Kinsley's first words out of the operating room were, "Well, of course, when you cut taxes, government revenues go up. Why couldn't I see that before?"
On April 29, 2011, Bloomberg L.P. announced that Kinsley has joined the Bloomberg View editorial board.
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