William Safire

From Academic Kids

William L. Safire (born December 17, 1929), columnist for The New York Times and author of fifteen books, writes syndicated op-ed pieces, generally with a conservative viewpoint. Since 1979, he has written "On Language," a weekly column in the New York Times Magazine covering grammar, etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics. Safire stopped writing his column on January 24, 2005 [1] (http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000770183); however, he will continue to write "On Language".[2] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/15/business/media/15cnd-safi.html) Safire attended Syracuse University, but dropped out after having attended only two years. However, Safire went on to deliver the commencement address at Syracuse University, and is now a trustee of the university.

Before he became a journalist, Safire was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew; he wrote Agnew's phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism." From 1955 to 1960, he was a public relations executive. Previously he had been a radio and television producer and a United States Army correspondent.

In 1978, he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary on Bert Lance's alleged budgetary irregularities. However, subsequent investigations by Congress could find no wrong doing.

Safire was one of the leading critics of the Bill Clinton administration. Hillary Clinton in particular was often the target of his ire. He caused a mild tempest when he called her a "congenital liar"; Hillary responded that she didn't feel offended for herself, but for her mother's sake.

He is also a consistent and avowed partisan in the defence of the state of Israel.

Upon announcing Safire's retirement as an editorial columnist Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of The New York Times stated:

The New York Times without Bill Safire is all but unimaginable, Bill's provocative and insightful commentary has held our readers captive since he first graced our Op-Ed Page in 1973. Reaching for his column became a critical and enjoyable part of the day for our readers across the country and around the world.
Whether you agreed with him or not was never the point, his writing is delightful, informed and engaging." [3] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/15/business/media/15cnd-safi.html?ei=5094&en=8fac5e8b987010eb&hp=&ex=1100581200&adxnnl=1&partner=homepage&adxnnlx=1100545404-HNLXSRChXIVOcHUCyMR8Qw)

His seat will be taken by John Tierney.



Writings of Safire


  • The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time: Wit and Wisdom from the Popular Language Column in the New York Times Magazine (2004) ISBN 0743242440
  • No Uncertain Terms: More Writing from the Popular "On Language" Column in The New York Times Magazine (2003) ISBN 0743242432



Socio-political works

  • Safire's Political Dictionary, 3rd edition, Random House, NY, l968,l972,l978.
  • The Relations Explosion,
  • Plunging into Politics,
  • Before the Fall,


  • Larry Berman and Bruce W. Jentleson, "Bush and ther Post-Cold War World" New Challenges for American Leadership" in Colin Campbell, S.J., and Bert A. Rockman, ed.s The Bush Presidency: First Appraisals. 1991. Chatham House. ISBN 093454090X.Safire on Bush (http://db.playego.com.br/orafiles/01122005120941567g.swf)

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