Dana Milbank

Dana Timothy Milbank (born April 27, 1968) is an American author, and columnist for The Washington Post.

Dana Milbank
Milbank in 2016
Dana Timothy Milbank

(1968-04-27) April 27, 1968
Donna Lynn DePasquale
(m. 1993; div. 2015)

Anna Greenberg (m. 2017)
Parent(s)Ann C. and Mark A. Milbank

Personal life

Milbank was born to a Jewish family,[1] the son of Ann C. and Mark A. Milbank.[1][2] He is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of Trumbull College, the Progressive Party of the Yale Political Union and the secret society Skull and Bones.[3][4] He is a graduate of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York. In 1993, Milbank married Donna Lynn DePasquale in an interfaith Jewish and Roman Catholic ceremony.[2] After that marriage ended in divorce, in 2017 he married Anna Greenberg, daughter of Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and stepdaughter of Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT).[5]


Milbank covered the 2000 and the 2004 presidential elections. He also covered President George W. Bush's first term in office. After Bush won the 2000 election, Karl Rove asked The Washington Post not to assign Milbank to cover White House news.[6] In 2001, a pool report penned by Milbank which covered a Bush visit to the U.S. Capitol generated controversy within conservative circles.[7] According to Milbank, the nickname given to him by the president is "not printable in a family publication."[8]

Milbank writes "Washington Sketch" for the Post, an observational column about political theater in the White House, Congress, and elsewhere in the capital. Before coming to the Post as a political writer in 2000, he covered the Clinton White House for The New Republic and Congress for The Wall Street Journal.

Milbank was criticized for a July 30, 2008 article[9] in which, in part by using snippets of quotations, he portrayed Barack Obama as being presumptuous.[10][11] A few days later MSNBC's Keith Olbermann stated that Milbank would not be allowed back onto his show, which Milbank had appeared on since 2004, until Milbank submitted "a correction or an explanation."[12] However, Milbank had apparently already left Olbermann's show for another show on CNN.[13] Milbank stated that he has been dissatisfied since he was criticized by Olbermann's staff over making a positive comment about Charlie Black, a John McCain senior advisor, and as a result had already been negotiating with CNN.[14]

Milbank and Chris Cillizza appeared in a series of humor videos called "Mouthpiece Theater" which appeared on The Washington Post's website. An outcry followed a video in which, during a discussion of the White House "Beer Summit", they chose new brands for a number of people, including "Mad Bitch Beer" for Hillary Clinton. Both men apologized for the video and the series was canceled.[15]


Milbank is the author of Smash Mouth: Two Years in the Gutter with Al Gore and George W. Bush—Notes from the 2000 Campaign Trail.

Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes that Run Our Government was published by Random House in January 2008.[16]

In 2010, Doubleday released Milbank's polemic biography of conservative pundit Glenn Beck: Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America,[17] which a review in Milbank's paper, The Washington Post, said was a "droll, take-no-prisoners account of the nation's most audacious conspiracy-spinner."[18]

Political views

Milbank has stated that his "policy" on presidential general elections is to vote for the best candidate who is not on the ballot. He voted for John McCain in 2000, Chuck Hagel in 2004, and Michael Bloomberg in 2008. He has explained that his approach allows him to "go through the exercise of who would be a good president" while avoiding committing to one candidate or another in the race.[19]

Greg Marx, associate editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, describes Milbank as "extravagantly contrarian."[20] Marx and New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen have critiqued what they view as "Milbank's insistence on characterizing political debate as consisting of two unreasonable poles, and himself as a truth-teller caught in the middle—a posture so habitual and inflexible that it has become an ideology."[20]

Milbank has criticized the growth of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, writing in 2011 that the event "was a minor annoyance for years, when it was a 'nerd prom' for journalists and a few minor celebrities. But, as with so much else in this town, the event has spun out of control. Now, awash in lobbyist and corporate money, it is another display of Washington's excesses."[21][22]


  1. Milbank, Dana (October 14, 2014). "The magic of Sukkot". The Washington Post.
  2. "WEDDINGS; D. L. DePasquale, Dana T. Milbank". The New York Times. October 17, 1993.
  3. Grove, Lloyd (March 4, 2004). "Yale Bones Connect Kerry, Bush". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on February 22, 2011.
  4. Mitchell, Deborah (January 28, 2001). "A Rich Bounty, Gone For Good". New York Daily News.
  5. "Anna Greenberg, Dana Milbank". The New York Times. May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  6. Confessore, Nicholas (February 15, 2002). "Beat the Press: Does the White House have a blacklist?". The American Prospect.
  7. Cooper, Christopher (March 10, 2005). "Bloggers Parse Pool Reportage On Bush Doings". The Wall Street Journal.
  8. Keefer, Bryan (February 20, 2004). "Dana Milbank on Covering the White House and Nicknames We Can't Publish". Columbia Journalism Review.
  9. Milbank, Dana (July 30, 2008). "President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour". The Washington Post.
  10. Linkins, Jason (July 30, 2008). "Washington Post Fuels Outrage After Misquoting Obama". HuffPost. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  11. Marshall, Josh (July 31, 2008). "Higher Quality Smears, Please". Talking Points Memo.
  12. "'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, August 4". NBC News. August 4, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  13. Calderon, Michael (August 5, 2008). "WaPo's Milbank leaves "Countdown"". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  14. Calderon, Michael (August 6, 2008). "Milbank's move". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  15. Kurtz, Howard (August 6, 2009). "Post's Video 'Theater' Ends Its Run: Hosts Apologize for Off-Color Clinton Joke". The Washington Post.
  16. "Homo Politicus by Dana Milbank". PenguinRandomHouse.com. Penguin Random House.
  17. Milbank, Dana (October 5, 2010). "Mormon Prophecy Behind Glenn Beck's Message". HuffPost.
  18. Oshinsky, David (October 17, 2010). "Dana Milbank's Glenn Beck book "Tears of a Clown," reviewed by David Oshinsky". The Washington Post.
  19. Milbank, Dana (February 8, 2010). "Dana Milbank on Scott Brown, John McCain, more". The Washington Post.
  20. Marx, Greg (June 24, 2010). "Dana Milbank, Ideologue: The WaPo columnist's latest reflects the press bias for action". Columbia Journalism Review.
  21. Milbank, Dana (April 29, 2011). "How the journalist prom got out of control". The Washington Post.
  22. Jacobs, Alec (April 29, 2011). "A Contrarian's Point of View on WHCD". Adweek.
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