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Mark Levin

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Mark Levin
Mark Levin by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Levin in December 2018
Born
Mark Reed Levin

(1957-09-21) September 21, 1957 (age 61)
Alma mater
AwardsNational Radio Hall of Fame
Career
ShowThe Mark Levin Show
Station(s)WABC, WMAL-FM, + 398 others[1]
NetworkWestwood One
Time slot6:00–9:00 p.m. ET Monday-Friday[2][1]
ShowLife, Liberty & Levin
Station(s)Fox News, Fox Nation
Time slot10:00–11:00 p.m. ET Sundays
Style[3]
CountryUnited States
WebsiteMarkLevinShow.com

Mark Reed Levin (/ləˈvɪn/; born September 21, 1957) is an American lawyer, author, and radio personality. He is the host of syndicated radio show The Mark Levin Show, as well as Life, Liberty & Levin on Fox News. Levin worked in the administration of President Ronald Reagan and was a chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. He is chairman of the Landmark Legal Foundation, has authored seven books, and contributes commentary to various media outlets such as National Review Online. Since 2015, Levin has been editor-in-chief of the Conservative Review[4] and is known for his incendiary commentary.[5]

He has been described as a "right-wing"[6][7][8] political "conservative"[9] who is known for strongly criticizing Democrats, as well as encouraging primary challenges to a number of incumbent "RINO" congressional Republicans. He endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and declared himself "Never Trump", but reluctantly endorsed Donald Trump after Trump won the Republican nomination.[10] Since the start of the Trump presidency, Levin's commentary has turned staunchly pro-Trump.[11]

Biography

Mark Reed Levin, one of three boys, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Erdenheim as well as Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. His father, Jack E. Levin, is the author of several books.[12] He graduated from Cheltenham High School after three years in 1974.[13][14] Skipping his senior year of high school, Levin enrolled at Temple University Ambler and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Political Science in 1977 at age 19.[15][14] Levin won election to the Cheltenham school board in 1977 on a platform of reducing property taxes.[14] In 1980, Levin earned a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.[16] Levin worked for Texas Instruments after law school.[14] He is Jewish.[17]

Beginning in 1981, Levin served as an adviser to several members of President Ronald Reagan's cabinet. Levin began at ACTION, the federal agency that oversaw VISTA and other volunteer agencies, before serving as deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education and deputy solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior.[18][19] He eventually became the associate director of presidential personnel and ultimately chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese.[18] He practiced law in the private sector and is president of Landmark Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm founded in 1976 with offices in Kansas City, Missouri and Leesburg, Virginia.[20][21][22]

Levin has participated in Freedom Concerts, an annual benefit concert to aid families of fallen soldiers, and uses his radio program to promote aid to military families.[23] Levin is also involved with Move America Forward, a charity that sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas.[24] In 2001 the American Conservative Union awarded Levin its Ronald Reagan Award.[25] Politico reported in 2014 that Levin receives a salary of more than $300,000 per year as president of the non-profit Landmark Legal Foundation, whose donors include the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and ExxonMobil.[26]

Radio broadcasting

Levin speaks at the 2011 Defending the American Dream Conference hosted by the Koch funded Americans for Prosperity.

Levin began his broadcasting career as a guest on conservative talk radio programs. For many years, he was a frequent contributor of legal opinions to The Rush Limbaugh Show, where Limbaugh referred to him on-air as "F. Lee Levin",[27] a tongue-in-cheek reference to the defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. He was also a contributor to The Sean Hannity Show and eventually got a radio slot of his own on WABC, initially on Sundays beginning in 2002, then in the timeslot following Hannity's program in 2003. Cumulus Media Networks began syndicating The Mark Levin Show nationally in 2006. Hannity nicknamed Mark Levin "The Great One."[19][28][29]

On February 11, 2016, Levin signed a ten-year contract extension with Westwood One, which will take his show through 2025, its 19th year.[30]

On November 16, 2018, he was inducted to the National Radio Hall of Fame.[31]

Television shows

In November 2017, Fox News announced that it had signed Levin for a weekend show titled Life, Liberty & Levin to air on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern beginning in February 2018.[32] According to a pre-debut network news release, the program will explore "the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events, and their relevance to the nation's future and everyday lives of citizens."[33]

In 2014, Levin founded and is currently the Editor-In-Chief of Conservative Review TV, a multi-platform online television network, which later merged with Glenn Beck's terrestrial network TheBlaze in 2018 to form Blaze Media. Programs airing on the network include Levin, Roaming Millennial, Truth Be Told, Allie, In the Woods with Phil, Kibbe on Liberty, Louder with Crowder, America Bolling and more.

Writer

Levin authored the 2005 book Men In Black: How The Supreme Court Is Destroying America, in which he advanced his thesis that activist judges on the Supreme Court (from all parts of the political spectrum) have "legislated from the bench". Commentary magazine's Dan Seligman wrote that Levin asks readers "to identify with 'originalists' who look to the text of the Constitution and the intent of its framers, and to reject the 'activists' who construe the Constitution broadly and are more concerned with getting to their own 'desired outcomes'".[34] Slate magazine's Dahlia Lithwick wrote that "no serious scholar of the court or the Constitution, on the ideological left or right, is going to waste their time engaging Levin's arguments once they've read this book".[35]

Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish is a non-fiction work written by Levin in 2007 about his experience of rescuing a dog named Sprite from a local animal shelter.[36]

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto was released in 2009, and became a #1 New York Times best seller for eleven of twelve weeks,[37] as well as No. 1 on Nielsen BookScan and No. 2 on Amazon.com's list of bestselling books of 2009.[38] The book includes discussion of a variety of issues that, according to Levin, need to be addressed in the United States. In Liberty and Tyranny Levin repudiates the use of the term "progressive" to describe "modern Liberals" and instead argues a proper term should be "Statist". Liberty and Tyranny has sold over one million copies according to Threshold Editions, the book's publisher.[39] Andrew C. McCarthy, in The New Criterion, wrote, "Levin offers not so much a defense as a plan of attack" against "America's Leftist ascendancy".[40] Other reviewers critiqued the book as "analysis utterly useless in understanding more than half of the American political landscape" while opining that "Levin resorts to the same old misinformation to sell his brand of conservatism".[41][42]

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America was released in 2012. In Ameritopia, Levin discusses the origins and development of both the modern day conservative and liberal political philosophies, the latter of which he refers to as "statist", through the works of some of the leading figures in American history.[43][44] Included are commentaries on works by Plato, Sir Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville.[45] Conor Friedersdorf's review, published in The Atlantic, criticized the text's argument that statism is based on utopianism,[45] and Carlin Romano, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote that "Ameritopia is real­ly Ameritastrophe. It's dis­as­trous­ly bad from be­gin­ning to end."[46]

The 2013 book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic suggests eleven new Constitutional amendments. The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[47] Hans A. von Spakovsky of National Review Online called the book "required reading for conservative bloggers".[48] Ana Marie Cox, writing in The Guardian, said the book "contains some radical notions about a complete overhaul of the US constitution, but to debate the specifics of their merits is to ignore the larger insanity of the project" while noting "the ludicrousness of his specific 'fixes' and the near-impossibility of achieving them".[49] In The Washington Times, Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Lotfi criticized Levin's idea as "the bullet to a loaded revolver pointed at the Constitution".[50] Also in The Washington Times, Richard W. Rahn wrote, "If 'The Liberty Amendments' can help foster a national debate about which corrective actions, including constitutional amendments, are needed to increase liberty and prosperity, Mr. Levin will have performed a great national service".[51] Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport wrote in Forbes that Levin's book used "weak arguments".[52][53]

Levin authored Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future in 2015,[54] and Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism in 2017.

Levin and Ted Cruz at the 2017 CPAC conference

Levin's Unfreedom of the Press, which was released on May 21, 2019, became the number one best-selling book on Amazon.com three days before its official release, as a result of pre-order sales. Unfreedom of the Press also became a New York Times #1 best-seller on June 6, 2019, in the combined print & e-book nonfiction and hardcover nonfiction categories.[55][56][57] Lloyd Green was critical of the book in The Guardian writing that the book "...is not exactly fan fiction but it can get ahead of itself when discussing the special counsel’s conclusions, ending up sounding like the 'fake news' the author and Trump both purport to abhor."[58] Annalisa Quinn wrote in NPR online that "Along the way, [Levin] looks at The New York Times' inadequate coverage of the Holocaust (full disclosure: I write freelance pieces for the Times), and touches on a handful of clear problems in American media, from the often poor distinction between reporting and opinion to the distorting incentives of the Internet." Quinn continued, "But the book is largely filler. Quotations and paraphrasing make up the majority of the book's central chapters. Lengthy and irrelevant block quotes from historians about, say, colonial printing practices... give the book the air of a padded student essay."[59] Quinn also wrote, "[Levin] conducts no interviews, presents no original research, and visits no newsrooms", and "When Levin does offer his own analysis, it can approach parody."[59] On June 8, 2019, Levin appeared on C-SPAN2's Book TV to discuss Unfreedom of the Press, "in which he argued that the press has lowered its standards in providing objective and trustworthy journalism."[60]

Political views

A 2016 study which sought to measure incendiary discourse on talk radio and TV found that Levin scored highest on its measure of "outrage". The study looked at 10 prominent radio and television programs, known for incendiary discourse on political matters, and scored content on the basis of whether it used "emotional display", "misrepresentative exaggeration", "mockery", "conflagration", "slippery slope", "insulting" or "obscene language" and other factors, finding that Levin was the radio host who engaged in the most outrage. The study found that he utilized "outrage speech or behavior at a rate of more than one instance per minute."[5] In How Democracies Die, Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky write that Mark Levin was among the popular right-wing talk radio hosts who "helped to legitimate the use of uncivil discourse" in American politics, and contribute to the erosion of democratic norms.[61]

Views on politicians and other individuals

According to The Guardian, "constant attacks on Democrats and the left are important components" of Levin's modus operandi.[62] According to Politico in May 2009, Levin pronounced "almost daily" that Obama "was a failure, a liar and a "statist" who is trying to destroy individual freedom."[63] In June 2017, Levin accused Senator Bernie Sanders of being "a radical Marxist who believes in violence."[64] According to Rutgers University political scientist Stephen Eric Bronner, Levin tends to use "socialism" as a "catch-all term to condemn any policy that strengthens the social welfare function of the state."[65] In July 2014, he called Jon Stewart "a knee-jerk idiot", and suggested that Stewart was a self-hating Jew.[66] He has stated that "Nancy Pelosi’s politics comes as close to a form of modern-day fascism as I’ve ever seen."[5] In January 2019, he called Pelosi "America’s first fascist" when she refused to provides billions in funding to President Trump for a border wall.[67] Levin has also mocked how Pelosi looks, referred to Beto O'Rourke as a "weak man", and called Dick Blumenthal a "pathetic, loathsome liar."[59]

He has criticized Republicans – including Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham,[7] John McCain, and Mitch McConnell[68] – with whom he disagrees. He sometimes refers to these people as RINO's.[62] In July 2009, Levin called former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum a "complete and utter fraud".[69] Levin endorsed Orrin Hatch when he faced a primary challenge in 2012, but later apologized for his endorsement when Hatch said that he would be willing to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.[26] Since then, he endorsed a number of Republican primary challengers to incumbent Republican senators.[26] Levin supported the Tea Party Patriots' campaign to "fire" House Speaker John Boehner.[26] Earlier in 2010, Levin criticized Glenn Beck for his criticism of congressional Republicans.[70] He has referred to Mitt Romney as an "ass"[59] and called CNN host Brian Stelter a "creep".[59]

In March 2016, Levin endorsed Ted Cruz for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.[71] Over a month after Donald Trump was nominated, in September 2016, Levin stated on this radio program that he would vote for Trump in the general election, following his declaration earlier that year that he was in the "Never Trump" camp.[72] He qualified his support by stating that, "I take no responsibility for the dumb things he says or the dumb things his surrogates say."[73] Levin supported U.S. Representative Mo Brooks in his campaign in the 2017 Alabama special election against incumbent Luther Strange, who had received a temporary appointment earlier that year.[74]

Levin strongly defended former EPA head Scott Pruitt while he was under a dozen separate ethics investigations. Levin said Pruitt's "policies on the whole have been outstanding," and "I don't throw good people under the bus because the left targets them."[75]

Sponsorship and conflicts of interest

During the 2012 election cycle, Levin's show was paid at least $757,000 in sponsorship by the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity to run ads for the group.[26][76] After the sponsorship ended, Levin began doing ads for the Tea Party Patriots.[26] In 2014 the "Senate Conservatives Fund paid at least $427,000 to Simon & Schuster to purchase copies of one of Levin's books in September and October of 2013."[26] During the same period, Levin frequently promoted the group, which has funded primary challengers of Senate Republicans, on his radio show and Facebook page.[77] Levin did not disclose that the group had made $427,000 of purchases of his book.[77]

Levin endorsed Orrin Hatch when Levin was being sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) which also endorsed Hatch. Levin withdrew his endorsement of Hatch when Levin was being sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, a group that funded challengers to Hatch; and Levin endorsed primary challengers when the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group which funded primary challengers to incumbent Republicans, purchased $427,000 worth of his books.[26][76][77] Levin dismissed the allegations that he engages in "pay-to-play".[77]

President Obama

In 2009, Levin described as "absolutely right" the statement by Sarah Palin that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) includes death panels to decide whether elderly people or sick children were worthy of medical care.[78][79] In 2011, a caller to Levin's show, claiming to be a neurosurgeon, said that the Department of Health and Human Services had issued a document saying that people over age 70 would not be allowed to receive medical treatments. Levin said to the caller, "so Sarah Palin was right." The call was later revealed to be a hoax and the death panel claims were revealed to be false.[80][81][82] Levin satirically noted the similarities between a gathering of "hand-picked" supporters of the Affordable Care Act chosen by the Obama administration to Nazi Sturmabteilung or "Brownshirts" drawing comparisons of the propaganda techniques of the two groups.[83][84]

Levin stated in 2013 that "the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government" and called President Obama a Muslim Brotherhood "sympathizer".[85][86]

In February 2015, Levin stated that President Obama of "seeking to destroy Israel" because "Obama has an affinity for Islam far more than Christianity or Judaism." Levin also blamed Obama for the Ebola crisis, saying "the political policies of this administration which opens the door wide to people from the poorest parts of the world. We don't know who they are, we don't know if they have diseases."[83]

Wiretap claim

In March 2017, Levin alleged that the Obama administration had used "police state" surveillance tactics against the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. The Associated Press said that Levin "voiced without evidence the idea that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower".[87] Levin protested the AP report vigorously, demanding a retraction and an apology on the grounds that his sources for the statement included The New York Times and other newspapers.[88] His statement was reprinted by Breitbart News and reportedly became the basis of President Trump's unfounded Trump Tower wiretapping allegations.[62][89] In September 2017, reports emerged of a court-ordered Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wiretap on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort; while certain Trump supporters alleged that this surveillance vindicated Levin and Trump's unsupported assertions, The Atlantic noted: "This is not true – Trump claimed he had been the subject of Obama-ordered, politically motivated surveillance, for which there remains no evidence."[90]

"Deep State" conspiracy theories

Levin has claimed that there is a "coup" occurring against the presidency of Donald Trump waged by Obama loyalists.[91][92] Levin's coup claim was referring to investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and of alleged obstruction of justice by Trump. He has suggested that former FBI Director James Comey used the Trump-Russia dossier "to blackmail the president."[93][94] He has claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller engaged in a "Deep State" coup against Trump.[92]

In February 2018 Levin said the Nunes Memo shows "Hillary Clinton paid for a warrant" and "Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians...it appears the FBI at the senior-most levels colluded with the Russians too."[95]

In August 2018, Levin stated that Mueller is a "greater threat to this Republic and Constitution than anything Vladimir Putin did during the [2016] campaign."[96][97] When Mueller released a report summarizing the finding of his Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Levin called the report "crap".[92] He complained that Obama was not interviewed in the probe. He said that Trump could not have engaged in obstruction of justice, because the probe should never have happened.[92]

WMDs in Iraq

In 2014, Levin claimed that the Bush administration's original WMD rationale for the Iraq War had been vindicated by citing reports of U.S. soldiers in Iraq that were wounded by the decayed remnant of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons arsenal, despite the Iraq Survey Group (ISG)'s finding that "while a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991." Furthermore, Levin faulted the Bush administration for not doing more to publicize these remnants of Iraq's former WMD program.[98]

References

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Further reading

External links