World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Jane Mayer

Article Id: WHEBN0001540355
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jane Mayer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Enhanced interrogation techniques, Jesselyn Radack, National Book Award for Nonfiction, Omar Suleiman, Waterboarding
Collection: 1955 Births, Alumni of the University of Oxford, American Investigative Journalists, American Journalists, American Newspaper Reporters and Correspondents, American Non-Fiction Writers, American People of German Descent, American People of German-Jewish Descent, American People of Scottish Descent, American Political Writers, American Women Journalists, American Women Writers, Date of Birth Missing (Living People), Ethical Culture Fieldston School Alumni, Guggenheim Fellows, Lehman Family, Living People, Los Angeles Times People, People Educated at Bedales School, People from New York City, The New Yorker Staff Writers, The Wall Street Journal People, The Washington Post People, Washington Star People, Yale University Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jane Mayer

Jane Mayer
Mayer at the 2008 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas
Born 1955 (age 60–61)
New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Occupation Journalist and author
Alma mater Yale University (B.A., 1977)
Spouse William B. Hamilton (1992–present); 1 child

Jane Meredith Mayer[2] (born 1955)[3][4] is an American investigative journalist who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995.[1] In recent years, she has written for that publication on money in politics, government prosecution of whistleblowers, and the United States Predator drone program.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Marriage and family 3
  • The Dark Side 4
  • Civil liberties 5
  • Drones 6
  • Money in politics 7
  • Awards and honors 8
  • Zoning dispute 9
  • Appearances 10
  • Bibliography 11
    • Books 11.1
    • Essays and reporting 11.2
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Early life

Mayer was born in New York City.[1] Her mother, Meredith (née Nevins), was a painter, former president of the Manhattan Graphics Center, and a printer. Her father, William Mayer, was a composer.[5] Her paternal great-great-grandfather was Emanuel Lehman, one of the founders of Lehman Brothers, and her maternal grandparents were the historian Allan Nevins and Mary Fleming (Richardson).[2] Allan Nevins, in several books about the Rockefeller family (including the authorized biography of John D. Rockefeller), held Rockefeller and similar figures up as heroes of American capitalism.

Mayer studied at Bedales School, at one time. She is a 1973 graduate of Fieldston. A 1977 graduate of Yale University, she was a campus stringer for Time magazine. She continued her studies at Oxford University.[1]


Mayer began her journalistic career in Vermont, writing for two small weekly papers, The Weathersfield Weekly and The Black River Tribune, before moving to the daily paper, The Rutland Herald. After moving to Washington, D.C. as a metropolitan reporter for the now-defunct Washington Star, she joined The Wall Street Journal in 1982. She worked for it for 12 years, during which time she was named the newspaper's first female White House correspondent, and subsequently senior writer and front page editor.[6]

She served as a war correspondent and foreign correspondent for the Journal, where she reported on the bombing of the American barracks in Beirut, the Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the last days of Communism in the former Soviet Union. She was nominated twice by the Journal for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.[7] Mayer also contributes to the New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and the American Prospect.

She has co-authored two books: Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas (1994)[8] (co-authored with Jill Abramson), a study of the nomination and appointment of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court; and Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984–1988 (1989; co-authored with Doyle McManus), an account of Ronald Reagan's second term in the White House. Strange Justice was adapted as a Showtime television movie of the same name, starring Delroy Lindo, Mandy Patinkin and Regina Taylor.

Time said of Strange Justice: "Its portrait of Thomas as an id suffering in the role of a Republican superego is more detailed and convincing than anything that has appeared so far."[9]

Strange Justice (1994) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1994.[10] Both books were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.[11][12]

Of Landslide, New York Times Washington correspondent Steven V. Roberts said, "This is clearly a reporter's book, full of rich anecdote and telling detail.... I am impressed with the amount of inside information collected here."[13]

Marriage and family

Mayer married William B. Hamilton, a former editor at The Washington Post and now an editor at the Politico website, in 1992.[14] Hamilton's father was a foreign correspondent and U.N. bureau chief for The Times, and his grandfather was the editor and publisher of The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and a member of the Democratic National Committee; the couple has one daughter.[2]

The Dark Side

Mayer's third and latest nonfiction book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (2008), addresses the origins, legal justifications, and possible war crimes liability of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (commonly considered torture) on detainees and the subsequent deaths of detainees under such interrogation by the CIA and DOD. The book was a finalist for the National Book Awards.[15]

In its review of The Dark Side, The New York Times noted that the book is "the most vivid and comprehensive account we have so far of how a government founded on checks and balances and respect for individual rights could have been turned against those ideals."[16] The Times subsequently named The Dark Side one of its notable books of the year.[17]

"Her achievement," wrote reviewer Bush administration that "up to a third of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay may have been imprisoned by mistake." The administration ignored the warning and insisted that all were enemy combatants.[19]

In a story appearing the same day in The New York Times, reporter Scott Shane revealed that Mayer's book disclosed that Red Cross officials had concluded in a secret report in 2007 that "the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes."[20]

Mayer said of her book: "I see myself more as a reporter than as an advocate."[21]

Civil liberties

Mayer covered the Obama Administration's prosecution of whistleblowers with an article about former National Security Agency (NSA) official Thomas Drake. Despite Obama's campaign promises of transparency, Mayer wrote, his administration "has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness."[22] She won the Polk Award for the article, and the judges said her article helped expose "prosecutorial excess" and "helped lead to all major charges against Drake being dropped."[23]


In 2009, Mayer covered the Obama Administration's use of drones. "The number of drone strikes has risen dramatically since Obama became President", she wrote. Her article described errors, ethical concerns, and potential unintended consequences in the increased use of drone strikes.[24]

Money in politics

For over a decade, Mayer has written about money in politics, covering and criticizing both liberals and conservatives. In 1997, she wrote an article about "dubious Democratic Party fundraising tactics leading to the 1996 election." The article described how the Clinton campaign "marketed the prestige and glamour of the Presidency as never before."[25]

In 2004, she wrote an article on [26]

In 2010, Mayer published an article about the

  • Jane Mayer at The New Yorker
  • Appearances on C-SPAN

External links

  1. ^ a b c d Jane Mayer, Contributor, The New Yorker
  2. ^ a b c "WEDDINGS; Jane M. Mayer, William Hamilton". The New York Times. September 27, 1992. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Jane Mayer." The Writers Directory. Detroit: St. James Press, 2011. Gale Biography In Context, June 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Jane Mayer profile at Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale (2011).
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ Jane Mayer, Texas Book Festival website
  7. ^ Journalism Awards, The Journalism School, Columbia University
  8. ^ Strange Justice was excerpted in The Wall Street Journal, was the subject of an hour-long edition of ABC's Turning Point, and subsequent appearances on Ted Koppel's Nightline and Larry King Live.[5]
  9. ^ Lacayo, Richard (November 14, 1994). "The Unheard Witnesses". Time Magazine 
  10. ^ Barron, James (November 17, 1994). "Study of Death Wins a National Book Award".  
  11. ^ All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists, pg. 2
  12. ^ "Yale Journalism Initiative to Offer Seminar with New York Times Managing Editor", Yale University Office of Public Affairs, October 24, 2006.
  13. ^ Roberts, Steven V. (October 9, 1988). "An Emptiness in the Oval Office". The New York Times 
  14. ^ Jane M. Mayer, William Hamilton, The New York Times, September 27, 1992
  15. ^ National Book Foundation, 2008 National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction
  16. ^ Jennifer, Schuessler (July 22, 2008). "A History of Abuse in the War on Terror".  
  17. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2008", New York Times, November 26, 2008.
  18. ^ Andrew J. Bacevich, "Collateral Damage", The Washington Post, July 10, 2008; accessed July 13, 2008.
  19. ^ Joby Warrick, "A Blind Eye to Guantanamo?", The Washington Post, July 11, 2008; accessed July 12, 2008.
  20. ^ Scott Shane, "Book Cites Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Qaeda Captives", The New York Times, July 11, 2008; accessed August 30, 2013.
  21. ^ "Writer Talks Torture", The Yale Daily News, January 27, 2009; accessed August 30, 2013.
  22. ^ Jane Mayer, "The Secret Sharer", "The New Yorker", May 23, 2011.
  23. ^ James Barron, "Posthumous Polk Award for Times Correspondent", The New York Times, February 19, 2012.
  24. ^ Jane Mayer, "The Predator War", "The New Yorker", October 26, 2009.
  25. ^ Jane Mayer."Inside the Money Machine", "The New Yorker", February 3, 1997.
  26. ^ Jane Mayer. "The Money Man", The New Yorker, October 18, 2004.
  27. ^ Jane Mayer, "Covert Operations", The New Yorker, August 30, 2010.
  28. ^ National Magazine Awards, [6]
  29. ^ Jane Mayer, "State for Sale", The New Yorker, October 10, 2011.
  30. ^ Toner Prize
  31. ^ (October 9, 2011). "Jane Mayer's Poor Journalism".  
  32. ^ Jane Mayer (October 10, 2011). "Art Pope and Individualism". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  33. ^ Jane Mayer, "Schmooze or Lose", "The New Yorker", August 27, 2012.
  34. ^ John Chancellor Awards for Excellence in Journalism, The Journalism School, Columbia University
  35. ^ "The Ridenhour Prizes - Fostering the spirit of courage and truth". April 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-12.  (see also video at this site)
  36. ^ "New Yorker Correspondent Jane Mayer and British Attorney Philippe Sands on Bush Administration Torture and How Obama Should Address It".   (see also video at this site)
  37. ^ Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 13 August 2007, "The Black Sites: A rare look inside the C.I.A.'s secret interrogation program"
  38. ^ The Best American Magazine Writing 2008, Columbia University Press
  39. ^ Random House, Jane Mayer, Author Spotlight, Random House, Inc.
  40. ^ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Jane Mayer, 2008 General Nonfiction
  41. ^ "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project winners". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  42. ^ "The Hillman Prize Previous Honorees". The Sidney Hillman Foundation. 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  43. ^ Mayer, Jane (May 23, 2011). "The Secret Sharer". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  44. ^ Gorman, Siobhan (May 16, 2006). "NSA rejected system that sifted phone data legally - Dropping of privacy safeguards after 9/11, turf battles blamed".  
  45. ^ Zetter, Kim (July 14, 2010). "NSA Executive Leaked After Official Reporting Process Failed Him".  
  46. ^ James Risen; Eric Lichtblau (April 15, 2009). "Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  47. ^ "United States v Thomas A Drake. Criminal Indictment of Thomas A Drake", filed April 14, 2010, US District Court, District of Maryland, Northern Division. This is a PDF of the criminal indictment itself, provided via, in an upload from' retrieved March 14, 2013
  48. ^ Gerstein, Josh (June 9, 2011). "Ex-NSA official takes plea deal". Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  49. ^ Williams, Chris (12 April 2006). "Demolish home or move it, couple told". Gazette.Net. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  50. ^ Associated Authors (March 16, 2010). "Couple told to raze Chevy Chase home".  
  51. ^ Guests: Jane Mayer, Charlie Rose,
  52. ^ Jane Mayer, Guest, David Letterman show on YouTube
  53. ^ Jane Mayer on Torture, Bill Moyers Journal, July 25, 2008,
  54. ^ Jane Mayer, Tavis Smiley Show
  55. ^ Law and Media, Yale Law School
  56. ^ "The Lessons of Our Failure", Nieman Watchdog, Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University
  57. ^ "The Harvard Medal Project for Journalistic Independence", I. F. Stone website
  58. ^ "Whitewater". 1996-04-30. 
  59. ^ "Geronimo Pratt". 1997-06-09. 
  60. ^ "'"Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America's 'Extraordinary Rendition. 2005-02-17. 
  61. ^ "The Black Sites: A Rare Look Inside the C.I.A.'s Secret Interrogation Program". 2007-08-08. 
  62. ^ "New Yorker Correspondent Jane Mayer and British Attorney Philippe Sands on Bush Administration Torture and How Obama Should Address It". 2009-05-20. 


  • Mayer, Jane (November 14, 2011). "Power walk". The Talk of the Town. Wind on Capitol Hill.  
  • — (February 13–20, 2012). "Attack dog". The Political Scene.  
  • — (November 19, 2012). "Seeing spots". The Talk of the Town. Plan of Attack.  
  • Mayer, Jane (December 18, 2014). "The unidentified queen of torture". The New Yorker News Desk. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  • — (December 22–29, 2014). "Torture and the truth". The Talk of the Town. Comment.  

Essays and reporting

  • Mayer, Jane; McManus, Doyle (1989). Landslide : the unmaking of the President 1984–1988. 
  • Mayer, Jane;  
  • Mayer, Jane (2008).  



Mayer has appeared on the Democracy Now! show.[58][59][60][61][62]

On January 26, 2009, Mayer was interviewed at Yale Law School's Law and Media lecture series by Linda Greenhouse, Distinguished Journalist in Residence, and Emily Bazelon, Truman Capote Fellow in Creative Writing.[55] In October 2008, Mayer participated in a panel discussion of journalists at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, devoted to the media's coverage of the Iraq War.[56] That same month Mayer participated as a panelist in a discussion of the same subject at the Newseum in Washington, D.C..[57]

Mayer has appeared as a guest on the Charlie Rose Show,[51] as well as on the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.[52] She was also a guest on the Bill Moyers Journal show on PBS in 2008,[53] and appeared as a guest on PBS Tavis Smiley show on August 7, 2008, to discuss her book The Dark Side, which had just made the New York Times bestseller list.[54] She appeared as a guest on the Comedy Central's Colbert Report on August 12, 2008.


In 2006, Mayer and her husband William Hamilton were involved in a zoning dispute over a house next to theirs. Mayer, Hamilton, and other residents in the neighborhood complained that the house violated zoning ordinances. The owners of the house were ordered by the county to demolish or move the house in April 2006. The owners indicated that they would appeal the ruling.[49][50]

Zoning dispute

In 2012, Mayer received the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting for her coverage of North Carolina state politics.

Drake was originally arrested in an investigation of who had been the source for the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2005 New York Times report on warrantless wiretapping,[45] although Thomas Tamm, not Drake or any other NSA employee was eventually revealed to have been the source for that story.[46] After Mayer's story was published, all ten of the felony charges in Drake's original indictment[47] were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of violating rules regarding the retention of classified materials.[48]

Mayer was awarded the United States Department of Justice prosecution of NSA whistleblower, Thomas Andrews Drake. Mayer's article in The New Yorker[43] told the story of how Drake faced up to 35 years in federal prison for communicating non-classified information about an NSA surveillance program known as "Trailblazer" to Baltimore Sun reporter Siobahn Gorman, who wrote a prize-winning article about it.[44]

In 2008, Mayer was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in connection with her work on her third book, The Dark Side.[39][40] In 2009 Mayer was awarded the Hillman Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for The Dark Side.[41][42]

Mayer was a finalist in the National Magazine Awards for 2007 for her nonfiction piece in The New Yorker entitled The Black Sites,[37] which was subsequently collected in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008, published by Columbia University Press and edited by Jacob Weisberg.[38]

Mayer was awarded the 2008 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism for her investigative report leading to her book The Dark Side. The Award, presented annually by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is given to reporters for "distinguished cumulative accomplishments." In presenting the award, Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism school and one of the nine members of the award committee, noted that Mayer and her fellow winner, Andrew C. Revkin (science reporter for The New York Times) "set the gold standard for journalists, and we have benefited tremendously from their dedication and hard work."[34] She has also won the Ridenhour Book Prize[35] and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.[36]

Awards and honors

In 2012, Mayer wrote an article about President Obama's efforts to raise money from liberal billionaires, and the decision of his campaign to flip-flop and encourage fundraising from SuperPACs.[33]

In 2011, Mayer reported on Art Pope's spending in North Carolina politics.[29] Her article won a Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, and the judges called it "the kind of journalism that strengthens democracy and shows the value of a free press."[30] The Chronicle of Higher Education was critical of the piece, saying the article was "a tendentious, poorly-researched, and weakly argued bit of journalism" and that "Pope never gets a fair shake."[31] Mayer supplemented her article with a blog entry pointing out that, despite Pope's claims that he was "not an heir", his "political career was launched" by more than $300,000 from his parents.[32]

[28].National Magazine Awards The article was a finalist for the 2011 [27]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.