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Bob Garfield


Bob Garfield is a columnist, critic, essayist, pundit, international lecturer and obscure broadcast personality. He isn’t exactly a media whore, but he’s extremely promiscuous.

Garfield’s “Ad Review” is a prominent feature of Advertising Age, where each week he singles out an ad for praise or ridicule and thus has become among the more pitifully groveled-before figures in trade-magazine history.

In another life, Garfield is co-host of National Public Radio’s weekly magazine program “On the Media.” This followed a dozen years as a commentator/correspondent for NPR‘s “All Things Considered.” Dubbed by The New York Times “the Charles Kuralt of Bizarro World,” he specialized in quirky Americana -- an act he took to television, as well, producing pieces for public TV, syndication and CBS News. He also served as a political-advertising analyst for CBS, before being bounced in 1992 following an unfortunate Green Room incident. It was his most traumatic TV experience since “Oprah” in 1991, when he was humiliated by Mr. Whipple before a live studio audience.

For many years, Garfield was the advertising analyst for ABC News. He’s been a regular on Financial News Network, CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and “Adam Smith’s Money Game” on PBS. He also has been quoted by every major American newspaper, news magazine and broadcast news program, owing to his fearless willingness to speak authoritatively on subjects he doesn’t necessarily understand.

As a lecturer, panelist and emcee, he has appeared on four continents, including such venues as the Kennedy Center, the U.S. Capitol, the Rainbow Room, Broadway’s Hudson Theater, the Smithsonian, Circus Circus casino, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (Grand Ole Opry), the United Nations and, memorably, the ballroom of the Westward Ho! motel in Grand Forks, N.D.

He has been a contributing editor for the Washington Post Magazine, Civilization and the op-ed page of USA Today. He has also written for The New York Times, Playboy, Sports Illustrated and many other publications.  A collection of his work, titled Waking Up Screaming from the American Dream, was published by Scribner in 1997, favorably reviewed and quickly forgotten.  His manifesto on advertising, And Now a Few Words From Me, was published in 2003 by McGraw-Hill. Garfield co-wrote “Tag, You’re It,” a snappy country song performed by Willie Nelson, and wrote an episode of the short-lived NBC sitcom “Sweet Surrender,” although the only words he recognized in the actual show were several familiar prepositions. He also created and produced “KnowItAll!,” a retro-60s quiz show which four networks politely declined to broadcast, but which is still available, call any time, operators are standing by.

Garfield has won many journalism prizes including some big ones and two National Press Club poker championships.  He lives in suburban Washington, DC, where, in separate incidents 11 months apart, he has twice been rear-ended by federal employees.



Liar, liar pants on fire!
COMMENTARY | July 19, 2006
Bob Garfield asks: What if every boy and girl on every bus asked every candidate the following question: “Do you promise, on behalf of your entire campaign organization, not to lie or misrepresent your opponent’s record and positions on the stump, in your press materials or in your advertising? Yes or no.”

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