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Matt Bai

National Political Columnist, Yahoo; Former Chief Political Correspondent, the New York Times Magazine; Politics Contributing Columnist, Washington Post Opinions; Distinguished Thought Leader and Acclaimed Author

Travels From:
Fee Range:
$10,000 - $15,000

Featured Videos

Matt Bai: The Impact Of Social Media On Politics

Matt Bai: New Book At The Wilson Center


One of the best known and most respected political writers in the country, he served for more than a decade as chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, covering three presidential campaigns and interviewing every major politician of the day. He also wrote the paper's "Political Times" column in print and online. Then, at the end of 2013, Bai surprised Washington by announcing he was leaving the Times to become the national political columnist at Yahoo News, the most trafficked website in America " making him the first senior political writer at the Times to jump full-force into the digital frontier.

Bai often explores issues of generational change in American politics and society. However,he doesn't simply record political history --Bai offers astute intellect and acumen on where it's headed and an unbiased worldview that appeals to independent thinkers. His seminal cover stories in the magazine include the 2008 cover essay "Is Obama the End of Black Politics" and a 2004 profile of John Kerry titled "Kerry's Undeclared War." More recently, he wrote a definitive cover story on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and a 10,000-word cover piece titled "Who Killed the Debt Deal" His work has twice been honored in The Best American Political Writing. Informative, engaging, candid and witty, Bai provides audiences with unparalleled perspective and expertise on today's most complex political issues.

Speech Topics

Teddy White and Walter Cronkite could never have imagined the pressures of covering politics and presidential campaigns in the online age. Withering attacks from both the left and right, upstart bloggers and amateur truth-squads–all of it has combined to erode the public’s faith in once venerable political journalists. Why some critics are right to hold journalists accountable, and why others are simply pursuing an agenda at the public’s expense.

A looming debt crisis, lagging growth, yawning inequality and rising cynicism–the perfect storm of political dysfunction continues to swirl while our economic challenges intensify. Can the two parties in Washington still do anything transformative in a cooperative way? What will it take to shake them into action? Behind the story of the bipartisan deal that never was–and why the chances for real change might be better than you think.

Three straight presidents have now seen their parties lose control of Congress in “wave elections”–something unprecedented in American history. What’s really going on Maybe Americans really are swinging back and forth between ideologies. More likely, though, our turbulent politics reflects the larger trend in the society away from large institutions and limited choices–a trend that could spell the end of two-party politics as we’ve known it.

It’s not really true to say the Internet has changed our politics. In truth, the Internet has changed everything in the society, from the way we find jobs to the way we buy cars and date–and politics is simply the last big institution to catch up. How the online revolution is bound to change Washington, and why it’s time for a failed generation of leaders to get out of the way.