Cockburn's journalistic skills were recognize not only by left publications such as the Nation but also by establishment outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. Cockburn wrote columns for both.
Born in Scotland, Cockburn grew up in Ireland. His father covered the Spanish civil war for the communist Daily Worker and so Cockburn had an early introduction to left wing journalism.
In the UK Cockburn worked for the highly acclaimed Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman. However he decided to move to the U.S. in 1973 where he worked as a columnist for the Nation.
Christopher Hitchens, another left intellectual and expatriate Briton who also died of cancer recently, was a long time target of Cockburn's savage criticism. Cockburn always stood firmly for whatever he believed whether his beliefs fit in with those of his leftist friends or not.
Cockburn's position on global warming fits in better with some right wing views. He holds that it has not been proved that global warming is caused by man. He thinks that it may be caused by natural processes. Cockburn has authored a number of books including the recent "A Short History of Fear" (2009).
Throughout his long career Cockburn has been a consistent critic of most U.S,. foreign policy starting in Central America in 1980's to the war in Kosovo and finally the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Cockburn also had a jaundiced view of the Democratic Party. He supported the presidency of Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004. In Cockburn's opinion the Democratic Party has failed to provide a progressive alternative to the Republican Party. The liberal establishment including President Obama have felt the sting of his pen. Cockburn was at his best when he was criticizing hypocrisy whether on the left or right.