Michael S. Medved (born October 3, 1948) is an American radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic. His Seattle-based nationally syndicated talk show, The Michael Medved Show, airs throughout the United States on Salem Radio Network.
Medved in 2016
October 3, 1948|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Yale University (BA)|
Yale Law School
San Francisco State University (MFA)
|Occupation||Author, political commentator, radio show host, film critic|
|Spouse(s)||Diane Elvenstar Medved|
|Relatives||David Medved (father)|
Michael Medved was born on October 3, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents Renate (née Hirsch) and David Bernard Medved. His father was a Navy veteran and scientist. Raised in a Jewish home, his family's origin is German and Ukrainian. Medved was raised in San Diego, California, where his father worked as a defense contractor for Convair and NASA. After the family moved to Los Angeles, California, he attended Palisades High School. Medved entered Yale University as a 16-year-old undergraduate. He received his B.A. with honors in 1969, and he later attended Yale Law School.
After his first year of law school, Medved left to work as a head speechwriter for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffey, and then for four years as a speechwriter and political consultant. After political campaign work, including a position as an aide to Congressman Ron Dellums, Medved worked in advertising, and coordinated a campaign to recruit more African Americans and Hispanics to the police departments of the California cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.
After writing more than 40 articles for the book The People's Almanac, Medved wrote What Really Happened to the Class of '65?, with David Wallechinsky. Focusing on the post-graduation lives of 30 of Medved's Palisades High School classmates who were featured in a 1965 cover story in Time, the book became a bestseller in 1976. The book also became the basis for a weekly television series on NBC that ran for 13 weeks in 1978. As a result of some screenwriting work for feature film projects and television miniseries, Medved joined the Writers Guild of America.
Medved wrote The Shadow Presidents: The Secret History of the Chief Executives and Their Top Aides (1979), a study of the leading White House assistants since the establishment of the presidential staff in 1857. The book included interviews with the chiefs of staff of presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. After the interviews, Medved continued his involvement in politics, befriending Ford's chief of staff, Dick Cheney, affiliating himself with the Republican Party, and campaigning for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
In 1984, Medved wrote Hospital: The Hidden Lives of a Medical Center Staff, which was discussed in Time, on ABC's Nightline, and Good Morning America. The book focused on 30 staff people who worked together in a California teaching hospital. In collaboration with his brother, Harry Medved, he wrote four satirical books about movies: The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (1979), The Golden Turkey Awards (1980), The Hollywood Hall of Shame (1984) and Son of Golden Turkey Awards (1986).
In November 2008, Medved released his eleventh nonfiction book, The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation. The follow up volume, The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free-Market Economy, was released in December 2009.
As a film reviewer, Medved hosted a weekly spot on CNN (1980–83) and a show on British network Channel 4 called The Worst of Hollywood. His commentary centered on what he considered to be bad movies, particularly in "The Golden Turkey Awards". The film selected by the Medved Brothers as The Worst Film of All Time, Plan 9 from Outer Space, has become a cult classic.
In 1993, Medved became chief film critic for the New York Post, a position he held for five years, during which he reviewed more than 700 movies for the newspaper.
Afterwards, Medved played a prominent role in some movie-related controversies. Medved became an outspoken defender of Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ (2004), which had been criticized as antisemitic by many prominent Jewish groups. After Gibson's DUI arrest in July 2006, Medved wrote that he felt "betrayed" by Gibson's antisemitic outburst and urged Gibson to seek "reconciliation" with the Jewish community.
Some film critics, including Roger Ebert and Jim Emerson, criticized Medved for mentioning the "right to die/assisted suicide" theme in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby and these critics viewed Medved's statements as a plot spoiler. Medved stated that the inclusion of this theme in the film was "deeply misleading" because it was marketed as a Rocky-esque tale of a plucky female underdog in the boxing arena. Medved said that he carefully avoided revealing the final turn in the plot, but felt honor bound to inform his listeners and readers about the movie's content and provocative point of view. Roger Ebert criticized Medved, saying he "has for a long time been a political commentator, not a movie critic."
While focusing on the theme of Hollywood vs. America, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh interviewed Medved and then asked him to guest-host his talk show. In 1996 Medved was offered his own local show on a major Seattle radio station. In his 2005 autobiographical book Right Turns: From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion in 35 Unconventional Lessons, Medved says he welcomed the chance to speak to a wider audience about politics and morality, which were a focus of his written commentary and books. Medved's show was broadcast from Seattle and syndicated through Salem Radio Network.
His three-hour daily show is now broadcast on 200 stations coast to coast and reaches more than 4.75 million listeners weekly. For ten consecutive years, Medved has been listed by Talkers magazine as one of its "Heavy Hundred" most important American talk show hosts, and recently tied for eighth place in its ranking of talk hosts by audience size.
Medved describes the show as "Your Daily Dose of Debate", often focused on listeners who call in to debate issues with the host. Guests have included those who are generally considered left-of-center, including Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, John Shelby Spong, Oliver Stone, Warren Beatty, Ralph Nader, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Ben Cohen, George Galloway, Thom Hartmann, Naomi Wolf, and Al Franken. Guests who are generally considered right-of-center include Robert Spencer, Condoleezza Rice, and Dinesh D'Souza. Medved describes himself as "your cultural crusader on politics and pop culture" and common themes on his show include current events, politics, American history and the entertainment industry. He reviews four or more new movies or DVD releases per week. The program also includes a weekly "Disagreement Day", focusing on callers from around the country who wish to contest anything Medved has stated in his written articles or on the radio, and a monthly (when the moon is full) "Conspiracy Day," where callers from across the country expose what they consider the "hidden forces" behind "perplexing and painful present events." He gives historical perspective to current events on the radio show, and has recorded vignettes on major historical events and people in American history, such as the American Revolution and Abraham Lincoln.
Medved writes a regular column for USA Today and is a member of the Board of Contributors for USA Today's Forum Page, part of the newspaper’s Opinion section. He writes occasional op-ed pieces for The Wall Street Journal and blogs daily at Townhall.com. He also wrote the 1992 book Hollywood vs. America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values, a condemnation of violence in cinema.
In October 2007, Medved drew fire from critics after publishing a controversial column regarding the history of slavery in the United States, in which he wrote, "No, it's not true that the 'peculiar institution' featured kind-hearted, paternalistic masters and happy, dancing field-hands, any more than it's true that America displayed unparalleled barbarity or enjoyed disproportionate benefit from kidnapping and exploiting innocent Africans." 
He has argued that voters in the American Jewish community do not necessarily embrace candidates based on their support for the state of Israel as much as they passionately oppose candidates based on their identification with Christianity, especially the Christian Right. Medved also states that the Orthodox community, which he states as less than ten percent of the American Jewish population, "gives nearly as disproportionate support to Republicans as their Reform, Conservative, and secular Jewish neighbors give to Democrats" and argues that this is because "The Orthodox feel no instinctive horror at political alliances with others who make faith the center of their lives."
In 1991 Medved co-founded Toward Tradition in Washington state with Orthodox rabbi Daniel Lapin and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In October 1994 it co-sponsored the conference "Toward a New Alliance: American Jews and Political Conservatism", with 300 attendees, featuring panelists Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform), Ralph Reed (Christian Coalition), William Kristol (editor, The Weekly Standard), and David Horowitz (Center for the Study of Popular Culture). Also with Lapin, Medved helped revitalize the Pacific Jewish Center, an Orthodox synagogue in Venice, California. For fifteen years, Medved served as president of PJC, which states that its mission is outreach to unaffiliated and disconnected Jews. In his book Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life, he states that his commitment to religion led to his conservative political outlook. He is a baal teshuva (returnee to Orthodox Judaism).
On January 30, 2015, Medved announced during his live radio broadcast that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his radio show to undergo treatment for throat cancer. He returned to the air on April 21.