Charles J. Sykes
Political Commentator & Radio Host

Charles J. Sykes is an NBC and MSNBC contributor, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, and the host of the magazine’s Daily Standard podcast. He is an outspoken critic of the Trump Administration and of what he calls the conservative “alternative reality” media.


He is also the author of nine books, including A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, Profscam, The Hollow Men, The End of Privacy, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School,  A Nation of Moochers, Fail U: The False Promise of Higher Education, and How the Right Lost Its Mind. He was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.


Charles J. Sykes has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek,, Salon, USA Today, National Review, The New York Review of Books, the New York Daily News, The Weekly Standard, and other national publications. He has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, State of the Union with Jake Tapper, the Today Show, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS, the BBC, and has been profiled on NPR. He has also spoken extensively on university campuses.


Until he stepped down in December 2016 after 23 years, Charles was one of Wisconsin’s top-rated and most influential conservative talk show hosts. In 2017, he was co-host of the national public radio show, Indivisible, which originated from WNYC.


Charles J. Sykes is currently a member of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy; he is on the advisory board of the Democracy Fund and is a member of the board of Stand Up Republic.  


He lives in Mequon, Wisconsin with his wife and three dogs. He has three children and two grandchildren. You can follow him on Twitter.

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St. Martin's Press

In How the Right Lost Its Mind, Sykes presents an impassioned, regretful, and deeply thoughtful account of how the American conservative movement came to lose its values. How did a movement that was defined by its belief in limited government, individual liberty, free markets, traditional values, and civility find itself embracing bigotry, political intransigence, demagoguery, and outright falsehood?

Fail U.The False Promise of Higher Education
St. Martin's Press

The cost of a college degree has increased by 1,125% since 1978—four times the rate of inflation. Total student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion. Nearly two thirds of all college students must borrow to study, and the average student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt. Many college graduates under twenty-five years old are unemployed or underemployed. And professors—remember them?—rarely teach undergraduates at many major universities, instead handing off their lecture halls to cheaper teaching assistants. So, is it worth it? That’s the question Charles J. Sykes attempts to answer in Fail U., exploring the staggering costs of a college education, the sharp decline in tenured faculty and teaching loads, the explosion of administrative jobs, the grandiose building plans, and the utter lack of preparedness for the real world that many now graduates face.

Trade Paperback
A Nation of MoochersAmerica's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing
St. Martin's Griffin

Have we reached a tipping point where more Americans depend on the efforts of others than on their own? Are we becoming a nation of moochers? In A Nation of Moochers, Charles J. Sykes argues that we are already very close to that point, if we have not already crossed the line: from the corporate bailouts on Wall Street, to enormous pension, healthcare, and other entitlement costs, to questionable tax exemptions for businesses and individuals, to the alarming increases in personal default and dependency, the new moocher culture cuts across lines of class, race, and private and public sectors.

50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in SchoolReal-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education
St. Martin's Press

Charles J. Sykes offers fifty life lessons not included in the self-esteem-laden, reality-light curriculum of most schools. Here are truths about what kids will encounter in the world post-schooling, and ideas for how parents can reclaim lost ground - not with pep talks and touchy-feely negotiations, but with honesty and respect.

The End of PrivacyThe Attack on Personal Rights at Home, at Work, On-Line, and in Court
St. Martin's Press

In The End of Privacy, Charles Sykes traces the roots of privacy in our nation's founding and Constitution, and reveals its inexorable erosion in our time. From our homes and offices to the presidency, Sykes defines what we have lost, citing example after example of citizens who have had their conversations monitored, movements surveilled, medical and financial records accessed, sexual preferences revealed, homes invaded, possessions confiscated, and even lives threatened - all in the name of some alleged higher social or governmental good. Sykes concludes by suggesting steps by which we might begin to recover the territory we've lost: our fundamental right to our own lives.

Trade Paperback
Dumbing Down Our KidsWhy American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add
St. Martin's Griffin

Dumbing Down Our Kids offers a full-scale investigation of the new educational fad, sometimes called "Outcome Based Education" -the latest in a long series of "reforms" that has eroded our schools. It addresses issues such as why our kids rank to, or at the bottom of international tests in math and science; why "self-esteem" has supplanted grades and genuine achievements; how the educational establishment lowers standards and quality in our schools-while continuing to raise their budgets and our school taxes; the dumbing down of the curriculum so everyone can pass-but no one excel; and how parents, students, and teachers can evaluate schools and restore quality learning.

Trade Paperback
A Nation of VictimsThe Decay of the American Character
St. Martin's Griffin

One of the most talked-about books in years, A Nation of Victims established Charles Sykes as a persuasive, witty, and controversial commentator on American life and society. The plaint of the victim - It's not my fault - has become the loudest and most influential voice in America, an instrument of personal and lasting political change. In this incisive, pugnacious, frequently hilarious book, Charles Sykes examines the erosion of our society and offers hope in the prospect of a culture of renewed character.

Crazy Times, Surviving in the Age of Trump Charles considers President Trump's unlikely road to the White House and how to survive during one of the most tumultuous times in the history of American politics.
How Divided Is America? Our nation was founded on the principle of "e pluribus unum," or "out of many, one." But lately, issues of politics, current events, media, and geographical differences have done more to divide than unite us. Charles discusses the various divides that exist in American society today and what we can do to repair them.
What is Truth? The Media in our Post-factual World With the growing popularity of the 'fake news' and 'alternative facts' debate, putting trust in the American news circuit has become increasingly difficult. In this discussion of the credibility of the media that surrounds us, Charles highlights the implications of living in a "post-factual" world and how to sort through it all until only the truth remains.
Breaking Away: What It's Like Being a Conservative Who Doesn't Back Trump In his analysis of the most recent Presidential election, Charles discusses party allegiances and what it was like to be a conservative in outright opposition with the most polarizing candidate his party has ever selected.
Is College Still Worth It? With the rising cost of tuition, decreasing number of professors willing to teach undergraduate classes, and low post-graduate employment rates, is college still a worthwhile investment? Drawing on themes from his most recent book, Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education, Charles explores the current state of the American higher education system.

Read Charlie’s op-ed on Trump’s recent rhetoric around COVID-19.

Charlie weighs in on Pence’s impeachment hypocrisy on NBC News

On Morning Joe, Charlie Sykes debates Eric Bolling about the “Faustian bargain” of Trump.

Charlie Sykes “despairs at Republicans’ support for Trump” in a Guardian op-ed.

Read Charlie Sykes’ Weekly Standard op-ed on “Jerkitude” in the current political climate.

Read Charlie Sykes’ op-eds on Trump in The New York Times and New York Daily News.

Check out the LA Times, NPRPolitico,  and Christian Science Monitor profiles of Charlie Sykes.

Watch some of Charlie Sykes’ news appearances on MSNBC and Fox News.

Listen to Charlie Sykes’ controversial interview with President Trump.

Read Isthmus’ piece on Charlie Sykes.

Take a look at Charlie Sykes’ recent piece on Newsweek, “How the Right Lost its Mind and Embraced Donald Trump”

Check out Charlie Sykes’ USA Today opinion piece on parenting in the age of President Trump.

Read some of Charlie Sykes’ most popular NY Times op-ed pieces here and here.

Pre-order Charlie Sykes’ next book, How the Right Lost Its Mind, available October 2017.

Learn more about Charlie Sykes and follow him on Twitter.