Acclaimed International Business Investigative Journalist
Over a three-decade career (including 22 years on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune magazines), Behar has garnered nearly two dozen journalism awards. He was called “one of the most dogged of our watchdogs” by the late Jack Anderson—a pioneer of modern investigative reporting—as well as “the best writer of any investigative reporter I’ve ever worked with” by Fortune managing editor Rik Kirkland.
Behar’s honors include the Business Journalist of the Year award in London for his Fortune exposes on counterfeiting in China and the aluminum industry in Russia, as well as the George Polk award in 2009 for his Fast Company expose on China doing business in Africa. "Simply the most extraordinary magazine article I have read," noted CNN’s Lou Dobbs at the time. "And the reason that this country and everyone who cares about it should be absolutely—in my opinion—concerned right to the soles of their shoes." Behar was also praised by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau for his award-winning articles exposing organized crime in New York City’s garbage trade.
In addition to his current work for Forbes magazine(as its contributing editor of Investigation), Behar is writing a book about Bernard Madoff, be published by Simon & Schuster. He also runs Mideast Dig, a nonprofit global investigative news operation launched in 2016 “that gets it right about Israel and the entire Middle East; one that actually knows how to dig for facts in the region—and refuses to pull its punches.”
Former Fortune managing editor Kirkland oversaw Behar for nine years at the magazine. "As I traveled the country and world for Fortune," he once noted, "people would often stop me to talk about stories they’d read in the magazine that really mattered, that they valued or treasured. Invariably, Rich would have been the author of 2 or 3 out of these anecdotal 'top five' lists. Among journalists, he was the guy young writers hoping to join Fortune would mention as the person they would like to emulate, and also the person seasoned pros would hold up to me as a clear sign that Fortune was doing good and important work."
From 1982-2004, Behar worked on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune. He has also done assignments for the BBC, CNN, FoxNews.com and PBS. In 2005, he launched Project Klebnikov, a global media alliance committed to shedding light on the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov and to furthering the investigative work that Paul began. (Members of ‘Project K’ include Bloomberg, The Economist, Forbes and Vanity Fair.)
Behar’s travels have taken him to more than 40 countries. Additional awards include the Gerald Loeb, Polk (twice), National Magazine, Overseas Press Club (twice), Daniel Pearl, and Worth Bingham Prize, among other honors—on subjects ranging from terrorists in Karachi to counterfeiting in Beijing; from corporate wrongdoing on Wall Street to the Russian mob in Siberia, to cyber-security inside Fortune 500 companies. He received the rarely bestowed Conscience-in-Media Award for “singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost” from the American Society of Journalists and Authors—for a Time cover story on the Church of Scientology. In 2002, as part of CNN’s Investigation Team, he received the National Headliner Award for ‘‘outstanding continuing coverage of attacks on America and their aftermath.”
Behar remains the only known journalist to have read the infamous Phoenix Memo, the pre 9-11 FBI document that warned that Osama bin Laden supporters were enrolled in flight training schools across the U.S. His The Karachi Connection, reported from Pakistan in October 2001, broke ground by exposing a logistics leader of the 9-11 attacks—including his secret travels near the Afghanistan border just days before the terror attacks.
In 2013, Behar was a finalist for a second Loeb—the most prestigious honor in business journalism. His August 2013 Forbes magazine cover story on high-tech ventures between Israelis and Palestinians received widespread attention, as did his exposés on how every big Western media outlet ignored the labeling of Jews as “apes and pigs” by Egypt’s president.
In 2014, he laid bare the academic leaders of the Israel boycott movement. In March of 2015, he co-wrote a cover in the New York Observer (later reprinted in Maariv, Israel’s second-largest Hebrew-language newspaper) about how the Associated Press botched its “investigation” of civilian deaths in the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. AP did it with posed photos, intentional miscategorizations, buried corrections and one-sided sourcing. In an extensive piece (The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War, August 2014), Behar exposed numerous major Western media outlets for their inaccurate reporting during that summer’s 2014 Israel-Hamas war.
Behar was born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island. He is a graduate of New York University, where he has served on an advisory committee of NYU’s business journalism master’s program.