Ashley Parker is a reputable journalist who has been covering political news since the inception of her journalism career, which has lasted for almost two decades. She currently serves as The Washington Post White House reporter, but before that, she worked as a Washington-based political reporter for The New York Times, from 2011 to 2017. The award-winning journalist also serves as a senior political analyst for MSNBC.
She came into the limelight in 2019 following her face-off with the US President, Donald Trump. Aside from working as a reporter, Ashley, who was influenced by her parents to take to the path of writing, has also done a great job as an editor and writer at The Daily Pennsylvanian and Glamour. More so, some of her writings have been published on widely acknowledged journals such as The New York Sun and many others.
How Ashley Parker’s Family Influenced Her Career Path
The prominent journalist was born in Bethesda, Maryland, the United States of America on September 14, 1982, to Bruce and Betty Parker. Her father was the founder and president of a Washington-based trade association called Environmental Industries Association, while her mother served as a Gardner in Washington. She has a sister named Justine Parker.
The proficient journalist has cited her parents as the biggest influence in her journey as a writer. While growing up, her dad used to write poems and sometimes entertain the family by making up stories when on long car rides. Every night during her formative years, Ashley’s parents spent hours reading books to her. As a result, she got accustomed to reading such that in her eighth grade, she made a bet with her parents not to watch television for one year in exchange for $365. She immersed herself in the reading of books for one year. Notably, she read mostly Nancy Drew books and eventually developed a passion for writing.
Her Early Career As An Intern And Freelance Writer
Ashley Parker completed her elementary education from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. She went to two different universities in the hunt for completing her higher education. They include La Universidad de Sevilla in Spain, where she learned how to speak Spanish fluently, along with obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.
The reporter studied on Benjamin Franklin scholarship. When she was in her senior year in the university, she was honored with Nora Magid Mentorship Prize for writing. Before she graduated, Parker completed her internship program at The New York Sun, LIFE magazine, and Gaithersburg Gazette, while also maintaining a job at a Cheesecake Factory at the time.
She further worked as an editor and writer at the Independent Student Journal for the University of Pennsylvania called Daily Pennsylvania. Afterward, Ashley Parker started working as a freelance writer, with her write-ups published by notable journals such as Washingtonian, The New York Times Magazine, and The Huffington Post. She has also been featured on Washington Week.
Parker’s Journey to Fame Began At The New York Times
Not long after her graduation, Ashley started working as a researcher for the prominent author, Maureen Dowd, who also works as The New York Times columnist. She was later recruited by The New York Times as a writer in the mid-2000s. While there, the journalist covered several political topics mostly related to the White House, Republican Party, and New York City.
She also made an excellent coverage of the wedding ceremony of Chelsea Clinton – the only child of former US President, Bill Clinton, as she tied the knot with her husband Marc Mezvinsky in 2010. The political journalist spent a little over a decade at the news outlet, during which she also covered the 2012 presidential campaign of the Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney. She continued covering the congress, as well as various political campaigns across America until 2016.
Becoming The Washington Post’s White House Reporter
Ashley Parker extensively covered Jeb Bush and Donald Trump‘s campaigns for the 2016 US presidential election. After Trump won the election, she began covering the Trump administration, working as a White House reporter for The New York Times. However, in November 2016, Parker left The New York Times and joined The Washington Post. She notified her fans about the move via an announcement on Twitter.
Some personal news: After 11 great years at the New York Times, I'm excited to join the Washington Post. https://t.co/jr043Uwk52
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) November 21, 2016
Since then, Ashley has been working as a Washington-based reporter, covering the White House for The Washington Post. The talented reporter, through her outstanding work ethics, has become one of the most prominent political analysts at The Washington Post, and with her great deal of experience, she continues to aptly discharge her duties despite being faced with lots of difficulties in her line of work.
Controversy With Donald Trump
In September 2019, Parker along with her colleague at The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, was called out by the US President Donald Trump, who labeled them as nasty lightweight reporters. This happened after the two published a story titled “Trump’s lost summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance.”
The Washington Post’s @PhilipRucker (Mr. Off the Record) & @AshleyRParker, two nasty lightweight reporters, shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE. Also, add the appointment of MANY Federal Judges this Summer! https://t.co/7d33tzKxXq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
The story, which Trump called disgusting and fake, centered on the achievements of Trump administration for the 2019 summer, which was promoted by the White House officials as one of the administration’s historic achievements, while also noting that many of the president’s advisers and allies privately consider those couple of months as a period of missed opportunities.
While disagreeing with the critical coverage of his summer achievements, the president hinted at banning the two reporters from covering the White House. Also, the White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, further published a post titled The Washington Post’s Lost Summer, in which she accused the newspaper of ignoring a greater part of the administration’s accomplishments.
She won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2018
Over the years, Ashley Parker has gained a reputation for her behind the scenes reporting style, and also for her delivery of stories in an engaging and masterful writing technique. Consequently, her coverage of the Russian Interference during the 2016 US presidential election landed her a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2018.
Besides working for The Washington Post as a White House reporter, the gifted journalist was among the moderators of the 2019 presidential primary debate that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, which was hosted by The Washington Post and MSNBC. She also appears on NBC/MSNBC, making contributions as a senior political analyst.
Meet Ashley Parker’s Husband and Family
Ashley Parker is a married woman. The political analyst first met her husband, Michael C. Bender, who is a fellow journalist in 2015. The pair kicked off a romantic relationship two years later, and on June 16th, 2018, they solemnized the union at their Washington home with the wedding ceremony being officiated by Ashley Parker’s sister, Justine Parker.
Ashley’s husband, Michael Bender, also works as a political reporter, covering American politics for The Wall Street Journal. The Cleveland native earned a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University. For the first fifteen years of his journalism career, he worked at newspaper publishing firms situated in Colorado, Ohio, and Florida.
Bender previously worked as a senior writer for Bloomberg Politics in Washington D.C before joining the Wall Street Journal in 2016. His father Michael W. Bender is a partner at an audit, tax, and consulting firm in Baltimore called RSM while his mother serves as the manager of Malley’s Chocolates Strongsville.
The Couple Welcomed Their First Child in November 2018
Ashley Parker and her husband welcomed their first child, a daughter named Mazarine Elizabeth Bender, in November 2018. Before the arrival of Mazarine, Michael already had a daughter from his previous marriage. Albeit, the details of his marriage and why it failed are currently unknown. However, after their wedding, Parker adopted his daughter, thus becoming her stepmother.
Despite her tight working schedule, Ashley still makes out time to be with her daughter and stepdaughter. She often hangs out with her little family as they cherish spending time together. Interestingly, she always shares their beautiful happy moments with her fans on Instagram.