Wolf Blitzer

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Wolf Blitzer
Wolf Blitzer 2011 crop.jpg
Wolf Blitzer in 2011
Wolf Isaac Blitzer

(1948-03-22) March 22, 1948 (age 71)
Residence Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Education University at Buffalo (BA)
Johns Hopkins University (MA)
Occupation Journalist
Years active1972–present
Employer CNN
TitleAnchor, The Situation Room CNN Chief Anchor
Spouse(s)Lynn Greenfield (m. 1973)
Children1 daughter
Website Page on CNN

Wolf Isaac Blitzer (born March 22, 1948) is a German-American journalist, television news anchor and author who has been a CNN reporter since 1990. He is the host of The Situation Room . Blitzer also serves as the network's lead political anchor.

Journalist person who collects, writes and distributes news and other information

A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public. A journalist's work is called journalism. A journalist can work with general issues or specialize in certain issues. However, most journalists tend to specialize, and by cooperating with other journalists, produce journals that span many topics. For example, a sports journalist covers news within the world of sports, but this journalist may be a part of a newspaper that covers many different topics.

A news presenter – also known as a newsreader, newscaster, anchorman or anchorwoman, news anchor or simply an anchor – is a person who presents news during a news program on the television, on the radio or on the Internet. They may also be a working journalist, assisting in the collection of news material and may, in addition, provide commentary during the program. News presenters most often work from a television studio or radio studio, but may also present the news from remote locations in the field related to a particular major news event.

An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.


Early life and education

Blitzer was born in Augsburg, Germany, [1] [2] the son of Cesia Blitzer (née Zylberfuden), a homemaker, and David Blitzer, a home builder. [2] [3] [4] His parents were Jewish refugees from the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was raised in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970. While there, he was a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi. In 1972, he received a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. While at Johns Hopkins, he studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he learned Hebrew. [5]

Augsburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Augsburg is a city in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and regional seat of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population of 300,000 inhabitants, with 885,000 in its metropolitan area.

Auschwitz concentration camp German network of concentration and extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II

The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of more than 40 Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp (Stammlager) and administrative headquarters in Oświęcim; Auschwitz II–Birkenau, a combined concentration and extermination camp three kilometers away in Brzezinka; Auschwitz III–Monowitz, a labor camp seven kilometers from Auschwitz I set up to staff an IG Farben synthetic-rubber factory; and dozens of other subcamps.

History of the Jews in Poland spans the period 966 to present times

The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was a principal center of Jewish culture, thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the Partitions of Poland which began in 1772, in particular, with the discrimination and persecution of Jews in the Russian Empire. During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, during the 1939–1945 German occupation of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust. Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a Jewish revival, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, the work of synagogues such as the Nożyk Synagogue, and Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews.


Blitzer has said he has frequently been asked about his name, which has been characterized as seemingly made for TV. Blitzer explains that his surname goes back for generations, and his first name, 'Wolf', is the same first name as that of his maternal grandfather. [6]

Stage name pseudonym used by performing artist

A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers, such as actors, comedians, singers and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide variety of reasons and may be similar or nearly identical to an individual's birth name. In some situations, a performer will eventually adopt his or her title as a legal name, although this is often not the case. Personal names or nicknames that make up the professional name should not necessarily be considered as a "fake name" like Lady Gaga : for example: Miley Cyrus: born Destiny Hope Cyrus, uses her personal nickname "Miley" and her maiden name "Cyrus" as her professional name.


Washington and Jerusalem

Blitzer began his career in journalism in the early 1970s, in the Tel Aviv bureau of the Reuters news agency. In 1973, he caught the eye of Jerusalem Post editor Ari Rath, who hired Blitzer as a Washington correspondent for the English language Israeli newspaper. Blitzer remained with the Jerusalem Post until 1990, covering both American politics and developments in the Middle East. [7]

Tel Aviv City in Israel

Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel—after Jerusalem—and the most populous city in the conurbation of Gush Dan, Israel's largest metropolitan area. Located on the country's Mediterranean coastline and with a population of 443,939, it is the economic and technological center of the country.

Reuters International news organization owned by Thomson Reuters

Reuters is an international news organization. It is a division of Thomson Reuters and has nearly 200 locations around the world. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by the Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, making up the media division. Reuters transmits news in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. It was established in 1851.

Ari Rath Israeli journalist

Ari Rath was an Austrian-Israeli journalist and writer.

Fluent in Hebrew, Blitzer also published articles in several Hebrew-language newspapers. Under the name Ze'ev Blitzer, he wrote for Al HaMishmar . Using the name Ze'ev Barak, he had work published in Yedioth Ahronoth . [8] Ze'ev (זאב) is the Hebrew word for "wolf" and Barak (ברק) is the Hebrew word for "lightning" (which in German/Yiddish is Blitz/blits).

Al HaMishmar was a daily newspaper published in Mandate Palestine and Israel between 1943 and 1995. The paper was owned by, and affiliated with Hashomer Hatzair as well as the Hashomer Hatzair Workers Party of Palestine, which became Mapam after 1948.

<i>Yedioth Ahronoth</i> Israeli daily newspaper

Yedioth Ahronoth is a national daily newspaper published in Tel Aviv, Israel. Founded in 1939 in Mandatory Palestine, Yedioth Ahronoth has been the largest newspaper in Israel by sales and circulation.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

In the mid-1970s, Blitzer also worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the editor of their monthly publication, the Near East Report . [9] [10] While at AIPAC, Blitzer's writing focused on Middle East affairs as they relate to United States foreign policy. [11]

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. The current President of AIPAC is Lillian Pinkus.

At an April 1977 White House press conference, Blitzer asked Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat why Egyptian scholars, athletes and journalists were not permitted to visit Israel. Sadat responded that such visits would be possible after an end to the state of belligerence between the two nations. In November of that year, Sadat made a historic visit to Israel, and Blitzer covered the negotiations between the two countries from the first joint Israeli-Egyptian press conference in 1977, to the final negotiations that would lead to the signing of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty two years later. [7]

In 1985, Blitzer published his first book, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook (Oxford University Press, 1985). The text outlined his personal development as a reporter, and the relations between the United States and Israel.

Jonathan Pollard

In 1986, he became known for his coverage of the arrest and trial of Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew who was charged with spying for Israel. [7] Blitzer was the first journalist to interview Pollard, and he later wrote a book about the Pollard Affair titled Territory of Lies. [12] In the book, Blitzer writes that Pollard contacted him because he had been reading Blitzer's byline for years, and because Blitzer "had apparently impressed him as someone who was sympathetic". [13] Pollard also hoped that Blitzer would help him "reach the people of Israel, as well as the American Jewish community." [14]

Blitzer's interview with Pollard was controversial in the context of the legal action against him, as it was construed by some media voices as a possible violation of the terms of Pollard's plea deal, which forbade media contact. Blitzer's subsequent book about the affair was included in The New York Times list of "Notable Books of the Year" for 1989. [15] In its review, the Times praised the book as "lucid and highly readable" and called Blitzer's judgment of Israeli officials "harsh but fair". [16]

A review in The New York Review of Books was more critical, prompting a letter from Blitzer accusing the reviewer of making several inaccurate statements. Reviewer Robert I. Friedman responded to Blitzer's criticism by characterizing Territory of Lies as "a slick piece of damage control that would make [Blitzer's] former employers at AIPAC (not to mention Israel's Defense Ministry) proud." [17]

Pollard was released on November 20, 2015, in accordance with federal guidelines in place at the time of his sentencing. [18]


Blitzer interviews U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO headquarters in Brussels, April 18, 2012 Defense.gov photo essay 120418-D-BW835-493.jpg
Blitzer interviews U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO headquarters in Brussels, April 18, 2012

In May 1990, Blitzer moved to CNN and worked as the cable network's military affairs reporter. His team's coverage of the first Gulf War in Kuwait won a CableACE Award and made him a household name.

In 1992, Blitzer became CNN's White House correspondent, a position he would hold until 1999. During this period, he earned an Emmy Award for his coverage of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In 1998, he began hosting the CNN Sunday morning interview program Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer , which was seen in over 180 countries. Blitzer's first assignment as an anchor was on the daily newscast The World Today , in 1999. In 2000, he started anchoring his own show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, which ran until 2005.

CNN has selected Blitzer to anchor their coverage of all U.S. presidential elections since 2004. [19] Since August 8, 2005, Blitzer has hosted The Situation Room , a two-hour afternoon/early evening program on CNN. [20] [21]

In 2013, he started anchoring the 1pm ET hour of CNN Newsroom , until 2014, when the slot was renamed to Wolf .

In 2016, Senator Paul was one of the first members of Congress to come out in opposition to U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. The war has led to massive civilian casualties. [22] Blitzer questioned Senator Paul's reasoning during an interview, stating that cutting off military aid would hurt the profits of the arms industry. "So for you this is a moral issue," he told Senator Paul on CNN. "Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?" [23]

Criticism of style

New York magazine's Michael Hirschorn has described Blitzer's presentation as "resolutely humorless". [24]


Blitzer has won awards, including the 2004 Journalist Pillar of Justice Award from the Respect for Law Alliance, and the 2003 Daniel Pearl Award from the Chicago Press Veterans Association. His news team was among those awarded a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina, an Alfred I. DuPont Award for coverage of the 1999 Southeast Asian tsunami, and an Edward R. Murrow Award for CNN's coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

In November 2002, he won the American Veteran Awards' Ernie Pyle Journalism Award for military reporting. In February 2000, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. In 1999, Blitzer won the International Platform Association's Lowell Thomas Broadcast Journalism Award. Blitzer won an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. Blitzer was also part of the CNN team that was awarded a Golden ACE award for their 1991 Gulf War reporting. In 1994, American Journalism Review cited him and CNN as the readers' choice for the Best in the Business Award for network coverage of the Clinton administration. [20]

In May 1999, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by the University at Buffalo. On May 20, 2007, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the George Washington University at their undergraduate commencement exercise. [25] On May 23, 2010, Blitzer was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Niagara University at their undergraduate commencement exercise. Also, on May 14, 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Penn State University.[ citation needed ] On September 25, 2011, Blitzer was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Hartford. [26] On May 10, 2014, Blitzer received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Howard University. [27]

Other media appearances

Blitzer and Ted Turner at the LBJ Auditorium in Austin, TX DIG13755-3677.jpg
Blitzer and Ted Turner at the LBJ Auditorium in Austin, TX

Blitzer appears as himself in the 2009 documentary "Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace." The film deals with the back room negotiations that led to the historic 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. At the time, Blitzer was the Washington Bureau Chief of the Jerusalem Post, and played a key role in establishing a back channel of communications between Israel and the White House by introducing President Carter's General Counsel, Robert Lipshutz, to New York businessman Leon Charney, a close friend of then Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman. [28] The flow of information between Weizman and Carter, via Charney and Lipshutz, contributed to finalizing the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

On September 17, 2009, Blitzer competed on an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! , finishing the Double Jeopardy round with −$4,600. He was given $1,000 to bet in Final Jeopardy!, finishing with $2,000 and ultimately losing to comedian Andy Richter, who won $68,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. [29] [30]

Blitzer has appeared in numerous films as himself reporting on events, including actual events and fictional events dealing with the related movie's plot including the James Bond film Skyfall in North American versions and in the blockbuster trailer parody "Movie: The Movie: 2V" presented on Jimmy Kimmel Live! . [31] He was in the news in Ben 10: Omniverse. In An American Benwolf in London, Ben noticed that Wolf Blitzer was on TV, and then decides to rename Benwolf into Blitzwolfer.

Blitzer, along with fellow CNN anchor John King, is an avid fan of the Washington Wizards NBA franchise, and participates in a pre-game video update for the team at home games known as the "Wizards Situation." [32]

Since 2013, Blitzer has made guest appearances in Netflix's political drama House of Cards , portraying himself.

Blitzer also makes a brief cameo in the 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice .

In August 2016, High Point University announced Blitzer as the 2017 Commencement Speaker. Blitzer gave the 2017 Commencement address at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina.

Blitzer also appeared in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018).


Blitzer and his wife, Lynn Greenfield, live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have one daughter, Ilana Blitzer Gendelman, born in 1981. [33] [34]

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