When John F. Kennedy, Jr. launched George Magazine, he chose David Bender as its first West Coast contributing editor. Citing Bender's more than thirty years of experience in politics, government and entertainment, Kennedy said, "As long as I've known David Bender, he has been involved in public issues. I think what he's been able to do, rather uniquely, is kind of meld a lot of different worlds and channel them into public issues, whether it be Washington, New York or Los Angeles - particularly within the entertainment industry. I can't really think of anyone who has done it longer or as well as he."
Bender's four-decade career as a political activist began at the age of twelve when he took a "leave of absence" from the seventh grade to become a full-time volunteer in the presidential campaign of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Four years later, as a high school reporter, Bender covered the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon, George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey. He was literally a "boy on the bus," traveling in the company of such journalistic legends as Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid. Later, he became a key aide to the legendary liberal activist Allard K. Lowenstein, the former New York congressman who was a pivotal figure in both the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement. He was also on the national field staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign. After Bill Clinton was first elected president, Bender became the Democratic National Committee’s finance liaison to the entertainment industry.
David Bender served as a senior advisor on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Following the campaign, he joined Air America Radio as its first political director, and then became host of his own long-running talk show, Politically Direct with David Bender.
David Bender was dubbed by Rachel Maddow as her “political guru,” appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America. Subsequently he was the co-host, along with Mike Papantanio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of the long-running, nationally syndicated radio program, Ring of Fire.
David Bender is the author, co-author and/or major contributor to six books, including the NY Times best-seller, Air America: The Playbook; and Stand and Be Counted, a chronicle of artist activism in the music industry written with legendary musician David Crosby. He recently served as research editor on the book written by legendary actor/producer Kirk Douglas about the making of Spartacus, the film which broke the Hollywood blacklist.
Currently Bender is the Chief Strategy Officer and political director of Progressive Voices, a 24 hour streaming network of progressive news and commentary on TuneIn.