About Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders

Now a fellow with Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership, Debra J. Saunders worked for more than 30 years covering politics on the ground and in Washington, D.C., as well as American culture, the news media, the criminal justice system and dubious trends in public schools and prestigious universities. Her column is nationally syndicated with Creators Syndicate.

As a White House correspondent and columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Saunders followed then President Donald Trump from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, covered campaign rallies and the advent of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and was an active questioner in the James S. Brady Briefing Room. She also covered the early weeks of the Biden administration.

During the first debate between the two rivals, President Joe Biden mentioned Saunders’ recent interview with Trump – an exchange that made national news as Trump revealed he was not concerned that attendees (or he) might get coronavirus during an enclosed Nevada campaign event.

During her 24 years writing a usually conservative column at the San Francisco Chronicle, Saunders reported on a diverse array of topics in local, national and international politics including homelessness, dubious education trends such as “new-new math” and federal mandatory minimum sentencing. She successfully championed presidential pardons for a number of nonviolent federal drug offenders. In 2013, then President Barack Obama commuted a life sentence for one such individual, Clarence Aaron, after Saunders spent a dozen years advocating for his release.

Her work took her inside California prisons, including San Quentin’s death row, and opened the door for Saunders to interview California first dog Sutter Brown, spar with then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown on his use of eminent domain and wield the Savage Sword of Conan during a one-on-one interview with then California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 2002, the prestigious National Journal's "Talking Heads" column listed Saunders as a member of the A-team of top political journalists working outside the Beltway. Vaughn Ververs wrote, "An independent voice working for a left-leaning newspaper, Saunders covers California and national politics, as well as the state's political personalities. Her column is frequently a welcome change in tone from the rest of the editorial page, and she regularly throws punches at both sides."

From 1987 to 1992, Saunders served as a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News where she wrote frequently on Los Angeles schools, crime, police, courts, and politics.

Saunders has written pieces that have appeared in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard and has appeared as a political commentator on national and international networks including BBC, Fox News and CNN.

Before her work as a journalist, Saunders worked in politics in the California Legislature and for Russo Watts + Rollins in Sacramento.

She graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a B.A. in Greek and Latin.


The Social Justice Mob Tries to Do to Tech What It Did to Academia May 09, 2021

The same tactics used to suppress dissent in academia — with the goal of making colleges "safe spaces" that feel "welcoming" to snowflakes — have graduated to the tech world. Fortunately, rather than let activists do to their startups wha... Read More


It's the End of the Ride Mar 07, 2021

WASHINGTON - White House press briefings are no longer must-see TV. With former President Donald Trump gone, if you want to watch the daily briefings, you can't just turn on cable news networks that rely on ratings. In President Joe Biden's White Hou... Read More


House Democrats Against Free Speech Feb 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — Democratic House members are using the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot and the coronavirus pandemic in a scary effort to censor conservatives — and get Big Media to do their dirty work for them. Remember when the left believed in m... Read More


Limbaugh's Success Came in Spite of Big Media Feb 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — I met Rush Limbaugh before he became a god. It was the mid-1980s. Our careers had begun but had not taken off. Rush had a radio talk show on Sacramento station KFBK-AM 1530. I worked in the California legislature. Later he moved ... Read More