Hugh Hewitt (born February 22, 1956) is an American radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network, lawyer, academic, and author. A conservative and a Catholic, he comments on society, politics, and media bias in the United States. Hewitt is also a law professor at Chapman University School of Law.
Hewitt is the son of Marguerite (née Rohl) and William Robert Hewitt. He attended John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Warren, Ohio, and Harvard University, and graduating cum laude with a B.A. in government in 1978. After leaving Harvard, he worked as a ghostwriter for Richard Nixon in California and New York, before studying at the University of Michigan Law School, where he was Order of the Coif. Hewitt received his J.D. degree in 1983, then moved to Washington D.C. to clerk for Judges Roger Robb and George MacKinnon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1983–84.
Hewitt worked in many posts in the Reagan administration, including Deputy Director and General Counsel of the Office of Personnel Management, General Counsel for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Assistant White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the Attorney General.
He returned to California in 1989 to oversee construction of the Richard M. Nixon Library as the library's executive director from groundbreaking through dedication and opening. In 1990, Hewitt sparked controversy by proposing screening of researchers wishing to use the library resources. Hewitt suggested refusing admission to researchers deemed "unfriendly" – specifically Bob Woodward, whom he characterized as "not a responsible journalist." John Taylor, a spokesman for Nixon, overturned Hewitt's decision after two days; it became the subject of editorial rebuke in The New York Times.
When he left the library to practice law, Hewitt began a weekend radio talk show for the Los Angeles radio station KFI, where he broadcast from late 1990 to 1995. In the spring of 1992 he began cohosting L.A. PBS member station KCET's nightly news and public affairs program, Life & Times, and remained with the program until the fall of 2001, when he began broadcasting his own radio show in the afternoons. Hewitt received three Emmys for his work on Life & Times on KCET, and also conceived and hosted the 1996 PBS series Searching for God in America.
He previously was a weekly columnist for the Daily Standard (the online edition of The Weekly Standard) and World. He also occasionally appears as a political/social commentator on programs such as The Dennis Miller Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Larry King Live, The O'Reilly Factor and The Today Show. On 24 April 2006 Hewitt appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report.
Hewitt has been criticized by Andrew Sullivan, who calls him a "Christianist." When Sullivan appeared on Hewitt's radio show to promote his book The Conservative Soul, a lively exchange ensued and Hewitt criticized Sullivan's book as intellectually messy.
Hewitt also became a Professor of Law at Chapman University School of Law during that time. He currently teaches constitutional law. In addition to his contributions as a professor, Professor Hewitt founded and continues to guide the legal scholarship of the Nexus Journal of Law and Policy. "The mission of this journal is to provide a forum for the vast array of individuals and groups that influence and shape American life. Nexus aims to put legal scholarship before an audience of interested professionals, though not limited to legal scholars and practitioners. Thousands of leaders in academia, government, media, law professors, and of course federal and state judges, subscribe to our journal. Nexus is the intersection where law, politics, economics, and media converge."
The Hugh Hewitt Show
Hewitt's nationally syndicated radio show, The Hugh Hewitt Show, is broadcast from California from 6 to 9 PM ET on weekdays. The show appears on more than 75 stations and is syndicated by the Salem Radio Network.
Although Hewitt's background is in law, government, and politics, he also covers American cultural trends and the entertainment industry. He frequently critiques the mainstream media on air, often inviting journalists to defend their work on the show. Interviews with Mark Halperin of ABC news and British historian Andrew Roberts lasted for the entire three hours of the show.
His regular contributors include law professors John C. Eastman, former Dean of Chapman University School of Law, and Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Irvine Law School (whom Hewitt calls "The Smart Guys"), James Lileks, Mark Steyn, United States Naval Academy English professor Dr. David Allen White (who does a monthly Shakespeare showcase) [dated info], and Congressman David Dreier (R-CA), as well as frequent callers from around the country. He used to spend the 15th hour of the week discussing movies with "Emmett of the Unblinking Eye".
Hewitt's show is also marked by its interaction with listeners through the microblogging service Twitter. During the broadcast, the show's producer, Duane Patterson, communicates with listeners using the hashtag #hewitt. Hewitt refers to those using the #hewitt hashtag as Tribbles, in reference to the harmless, annoying, and constantly multiplying alien race from Star Trek.
Hewitt is a longtime promoter of what he and other conservative pundits call the new media (talk radio and blogs) as a means to balance what they regard as liberal bias in the mainstream media. Hewitt was described as one of the five "best-read national conservative bloggers" in a 2007 memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
In early 2006, in an article for The Weekly Standard titled "The Media's Ancien Régime," Hewitt outlined his belief that traditional journalism was supplanted by the ease of information exchange on the Internet.
There is too much expertise, all of it almost instantly available now, for the traditional idea of journalism to last much longer. In the past, almost every bit of information was difficult and expensive to acquire and was therefore mediated by journalists whom readers and viewers were usually in no position to second-guess. Authority has drained from journalism for a reason. Too many of its practitioners have been easily exposed as poseurs.
A recurring theme on Hewitt's show is accusing the mainstream media of liberal bias and lack of transparency, and the unwillingness of reporters to answer questions about their own political beliefs. Hewitt has said that the modern paradigm of reportage, whereby journalists make a claim to objectivity while never answering questions about their own beliefs, allows a deep-seated culture of liberal media bias to be perpetuated. He has said that financial reporters are never allowed to write about companies in which they have an interest, but political reporters routinely refuse to answer questions that might reveal their own political positions and thus allow the reader to adjust for any bias, whether conscious or subconscious, their reporting might contain. He credits the right-wing blogosphere with destroying the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry in 2004.
Hewitt frequently invites members of the mainstream media to his show and quizzes them about their political beliefs and why they think those beliefs should remain a secret. Eric Black of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Helen Thomas of the White House Press Corps and Mark Halperin of ABC News, among others, have appeared on Hewitt's show and debated whether they should be obliged to disclose their political beliefs. During a 2006 exchange with Hewitt, longtime Washington Post reporter and columnist Thomas Edsall said that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 15-25 to 1 among members of the mainstream media.
After Hewitt wrote the book A Mormon in the White House?, Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times wrote that "Hewitt finds himself under suspicion of being a cheerleader for the Romney campaign." Hewitt donated $2,300 to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008, as well as many other Republican candidates over the years, including U.S. Senator Norm Coleman and President George W. Bush. In the leadup to the February 5, 2008, Republican primaries, Hewitt became known for the slogan "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain."
- The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary and the Coming of a Second "Clinton Era" (2015, ISBN 1-4555-6251-3)
- The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers, and the Secret to Genuine Success (2013, ISBN 1-5955-5578-1)
- The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency (2012, ISBN 1-4555-1630-9)
- A Mormon in the White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney (2007, ISBN 1-59698-502-X)
- A Guide to Christian Ambition: Using Career, Politics, and Culture to Influence the World (2006, ISBN 0-7852-8871-6)
- Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority (2006, ISBN 0-89526-002-6)
- Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World (2005, ISBN 0-7852-8804-X)
- If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It (2004, ISBN 0-7852-6319-5)
- In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition (2003, ISBN 0-7852-6395-0)
- The Embarrassed Believer (1998, ISBN 0-8499-1419-1)
- Searching for God in America: The Companion Volume to the Acclaimed TV Series (1996, ISBN 0-7881-9914-5)
- First Principles: A Primer of Ideas for the College-Bound Student (1987, ISBN 0-89526-793-4)
- "Hugh Hewitt To Catholic League President, Your Claim Is 'Deeply Embarrassing To Me As A Catholic'". Truth Revolt. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "The Happiest Life". google.ca. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Atty. Hewitt Obituary – Ohio – Tributes.com". tributes.com. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Hugh Z Hewitt". ancestry.com. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- History and Mission
- Michael Schudson (1992). Watergate in American Memory: How We Remember, Forget, and Reconstruct the Past. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09083-4.
- Hugh Hewitt (August 5, 2006). "Sullivan Fatigue". Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "Transcript of Hugh Hewitt Show: Andrew Sullivan on The Conservative Soul". October 25, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- "Hugh Hewitt". Chapman University School of Law: Law Faculty. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- "Chapman University – Law – Societies – Nexus". Chapman.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- "Hugh Hewitt Show – all stations and times". TuneIn Radio. Retrieved May 2011.
- Carrie Budoff Brown. "GOP issues rules to avoid Macaca moments". politico.com. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "The Media's Ancien Régime". weeklystandard.com. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Nicholas Lemann (August 29, 2005). "Right Hook". The New Yorker. p. 34. Retrieved 2008-03-26. (Scanned copy)
- "The Hugh Hewitt Show". Hughhewitt.townhall.com. 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Robert Stacy McCain (2007-12-09). "Romney speech sparks flame war?". Fishwrap (The Washington Times).
- "The Blogometer 2/4: : The Day Before The Storm". The Hotline (National Journal). February 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-07.