Thursday, August 30, 2007
John McLaughlin (born March 29, 1927) is the creator, executive producer, and host of The McLaughlin Group, a weekly public affairs television program broadcast in the United States since 1982, and of McLaughlin's One on One, an interview program. In the group program, the current format involves a group of four respected commentators discussing current political issues at the host's direction and tends to become a little heated, although remaining good-humored. The McLaughlin Group is also seen in the UK and other parts of Europe on CNBC Europe.
McLaughlin earned two master's degrees (philosophy and English literature) from Boston College, and a Ph.D. (philosophy) from Columbia University. Upon entering the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church and being ordained a priest, McLaughlin spent years as a high school teacher at Fairfield College Preparatory School, a Jesuit prep school in Connecticut. A Republican, he originally opposed the Vietnam War and, in 1970, sought permission from his order to run for a seat in the United States Senate, representing Rhode Island. His superiors denied him this, even though they did grant permission to fellow Jesuit Father Robert Drinan to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Massachusetts. McLaughlin defied his superiors and ran anyway, losing to the incumbent four-term Senator John O. Pastore.
Through a friendship with Pat Buchanan, McLaughlin became a war supporter and a speech writer/advisor to President Richard Nixon. Because priests are not allowed to take on political jobs, he was ordered by his Jesuit superiors to return to Boston and, rather than obey, he left the Society of Jesus.
McLaughlin later married Ann Dore, his former campaign manager. She served as Secretary of Labor under Ronald Reagan from 1987 until 1989. The couple divorced in 1992, and both have since married other partners. McLaughlin's current wife is Cristina Vidal McLaughlin.
Leading up to the 2004 United States presidential election he announced that he would be voting for Democratic candidate John Kerry. His political views, however, are diversified and usually specific to the issues at hand.
McLaughlin is fond of making witty predictions based on current events, and of asking questions in interesting ways. One phrase he often uses is: "On a scale of 0 to 10--with 0 representing zero possibility and 10 representing metaphysical certitude--what is the chance of...?" His loud and forceful style of presentation has been parodied by many comedians and other commentators, most notably Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live. McLaughlin himself appeared as the Grim Reaper in an SNL sketch that parodied his show.
The McLaughlin Group is available in low-resolution video podcast form on the show's web site and on iTunes. Interestingly, although the show is shown on PBS with no commercials, the podcast edition has commercial messages inserted. Despite this apparent revenue stream, the delay between the airing of the show on television and the release of the podcast edition is about five days. This is unusually long, especially for a news-oriented show. Most shows of this type are available for download within a few hours of their television airing, or the next day, and without commercials.
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