mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Secret Romney Video = 2012 Game Over?

In a blockbuster political development that also bodes well for the fight against climate change, my old friend David Corn at Mother Jones has scored the scoop of the year, publishing a secretly recorded video of Gov. Mitt Romney telling Republican fat cats that 47% of Americans feel “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it” and thus will vote for President Obama “no matter what.” Memo to Romney: you can’t insult half the country if you want to be elected president. Watch the video at… Read more



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Harvesting A Climate Disaster

Both of the Farm Bills under consideration on Capitol Hill would make American agriculture’s climate problem worse, I argue in this commentary for the New York Times. Federal policy should instead help farmers prepare for climate change by adopting more of the methods of organic agriculture: shunning chemical fertilizers and the vast single crop plantings favored by the current industrial agriculture model and focusing instead on improving the fertility and water retentiveness of soil while diversifying the range of crops being grown. See… Read more

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Obama Can Say “Climate” After All

New polling data suggest that speaking out about climate change can finally be a political winner, in part because the hellish summer of 2012 has led more Americans to think that climate change is real after all, I write in this analysis of President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. A new report, Climate Solutions For A Stronger America, explains how to do it. See… Read more

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Saving Lyin’ Ryan

“Never forget: The media collectively exercise perhaps the greatest power there is in politics — defining what is and isn’t reality,” I wrote in this analysis of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican National Convention for The Huffington Post. The question for the media as they cover the Fall campaign, I added, “is whether they have to stomach to tell the truth about Ryan’s lies.” See… Read more

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Making the 2012 Heat Wave Matter

With the United States suffering the hottest July on record and the worst drought in 50 years, we hear nothing but silence from the White House and the rest of official Washington about climate change. If the heat wave of 2012 is to matter, if it is to change America’s consciousness about and response to the climate threat, the impetus will have to come from regular citizens, not the political and media elites. It is time, I argue at the end of this Nation column, to “make things as hot and uncomfortable for the planet wreckers as they made summer 2012 for all of us. See… Read more

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“Climate Parents” on Democracy Now!

My Newsweek/DailyBeast story led to an appearance on Democracy Now! to discuss the urgency of parents joining the fight against climate change; see You can join too at… Read more



Latest Book


By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did: leak top secret documents revealing that the US government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, the way he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same surveillance ten years before Snowden did and got crushed. The other is The Third Man, a former senior Pentagon official who comes forward in this book for the first time to describe how his superiors repeatedly broke the law to punish Drakeā€”and unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches.

Pick up your copy at: | Barnes & Noble

About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.