Ken Kurson: Adviser and Journalist Par Excellence

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( — May 31, 2020) —

Ken Kurson has had a fascinating career filled with experiences at some of the leading newspapers in the country, including Esquire and the Commercial Observer. Kurson served as editor in chief of The New York Observer for a very considerable period of time, heralding its development into one of the media industry’s leading digital media outlets. Under Kurson’s tenure, the paper conducted some of its best investigative journalism, and established itself as the paper of record for New York’s elite. 

The readership of The Observer became the most sophisticated and affluent of any New York media outlet. It was routinely read by titans of industry; leaders and patrons of the arts; and some of the most influential figures in politics and beyond. Of course, its coverage of the real estate industry and its annual “Power” lists certainly helped cultivate interest in the paper among members of the New York City elite.  

In addition to his stewardship of The New York Observer, Kurson has contributed commentary in the form of some of his own conservative political sensibilities to Reason and other conservative and mainstream media properties. He’s also been widely covered in the media in recent years, given his close relationship with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. This close relationship between Kushner and Kurson has served almost as a sort of obsession among certain media publications. 

The New York Times for instance, has covered their relationship extensively, with an array of political commentators speculating as to Kurson’s involvement in some of President Trump’s most prolific speeches. This speculation would of course seem to be somewhat well-founded, given Kurson’s career in speechwriting and co-authoring numerous books with some of the leading political figures of our time. 

But Kurson’s imprint and involvement in Republican politics goes back decades, well beyond whatever involvement he’s had as an outside adviser to the current Presidential administration. He served as Chief Operating Officer for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 Presidential campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination. 

Even before that, Kurson served as a loyal lieutenant to Mayor Giuliani in an array of other capacities. For example, in 2002 Kurson worked as Deputy Director of Communications for Giuliani Partners, Giuliani’s longtime consulting company. Kurson was regularly by Giuliani’s side during many of his travels both domestically and internationally, serving as his speechwriter and consigliere. 

In fact, Kurson was the co-author of Giuliani’s best-selling book Leadership, which became an instant bestseller on Amazon and in bookstores nationwide. Kurson has written books with other prominent influencers not only in the world of politics, but also in communications and finance. This included Kurson’s authorship of The Faber Report with longtime CNBC television host and commentator David Faber. Kurson was also the co-author of Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family’s Journey of Strength, Hope and Joy

Kurson is also a proud Jew who has been consistently supportive of the State of Israel. As The Forward reported on, Kurson played an instrumental role in the drafting of President Trump’s speech that he delivered at the American Israel Public Affairs Conference during the 2016 campaign. The speech was an incredibly important milestone for Trump and his campaign, since it helped position then candidate Trump as someone who took foreign policy seriously. It also helped cement his support within the pro-Israel community; a bloc of support that would continue growing as his campaign picked up pace. 

Besides for the significance of the speech from a political standpoint, much of it also proved to be prescient, with many in the pro-Israel community now heralding President Trump as the most pro-Israel President to have ever graced in oval office in modern American history. Of course, for those in the pro-Israel community (evangelicals and Jews alike), this point has much evidence to substantiate it. 

The President’s moving of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, establishing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel was something so many of his predecessors had promised members of the pro-Israel community, and never delivered on. In contrast, President Trump consistently committed to doing so during the campaign, and of course when he came into office, he made sure to stay true to his word. 

Although we’ll never know the impact Kurson’s own closely held pro-Israel views may have had on President Trump’s decisions that have proven favorable and even critical to the long held US-Israel alliance, one can only assume that it certainly hasn’t hurt. Of course, the alliance between our two countries has been of great value to American national security, as Kurson has consistently pointed out in his writing. 

Kurson is an observant Jew who resides in New Jersey. As if his own careers in politics and journalism weren’t versatile and exciting enough, he also is a musician and a bass player for the Chicago rock band “Green,” and he founded “The Lilacs,” in 1990 with David Levinsky. He’s a dedicated father, loyal friend and a practitioner of Stoicism, which he has a cited as a device that has proven helpful in allowing him to thrive amidst chaos.