Past episodes
About Uncommon Knowledge

For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncommon Knowledge with guest Rob Long

January 9, 2013 | Recorded on November 13, 2012

Legal scholar John Yoo and Hollywood writer Rob Long debate the future of the Republican Party.

Legal scholar John Yoo (right) and Hollywood writer Rob Long debate the future o

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, legal scholar John Yoo and Hollywood writer Rob Long strongly disagree about the future of the Republican Party. (41:33)
“If the Republican Party didn’t change at all in the next two years, we would still gain seats in the House and the Senate. But if we actually take advantage of the opportunity and reformulate our principles in a clear way and sell them well, I think we will get a majority in the Senate to combine with our majority in the House.”

November 14, 2012 | Recorded on July 17, 2012

Rob Long and Harry Shearer discuss politics and Hollywood on Uncommon Knowledge

Rob Long and Harry Shearer on Uncommon Knowledge

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Hollywood odd couple Rob Long and Harry Shearer discuss their unusual friendship, politics, and show business. (54:50)
“On cable, it’s cheaper to have a guy from the left and a guy from the right yelling about the news than to go cover the news. On prime-time entertainment, it’s cheaper to have a couple of guys with cameras shoot some real people who know they’re supposed to act like fools than to pay for really overpriced writers and actors to perform scripted shows. This is the pervasive influence of the multichannel universe–cheap.”

June 22, 2010 | Recorded on April 26, 2010

Mark Steyn and Rob Long—The Gipper Then and Now

Mark Steyn and Rob Long on Uncommon Knowledge

Reviewing clips of Ronald Reagan’s speeches, Long and Steyn reflect on Reagan’s relevance to issues confronting America today. Speaking of Reagan’s “The Last Stand on Earth” address, Steyn remarks on “how easily you can pick up the argument [made in 1964 about the threat of Soviet communism] and drop it right down into the current circumstances [the threat of Islamic extremism].”

February 16, 2009 | Recorded on January 30, 2009

Ferguson and Long on Obama, Lincoln, and More

Andrew Ferguson and Rob Long compare and contrast the rhetoric of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln.

How close in style and substance is Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln, one of our greatest presidents, who also hailed from Illinois and emerged from a humble background to lead our nation in a time of crisis? Ferguson and Long examine the first inaugural addresses of both men to explore the parallels between the two and offer insights into how President Obama will guide our nation. (36:54 ) Video transcript

July 20, 2001 | Recorded on July 20, 2001

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT: The Politics of Hollywood

In 1992, Bill Clinton received 43 percent of the national vote, but he received 83 percent of the vote from film and television writers, directors, and producers. Is Hollywood as liberal as these data suggest? If so, why? Does Hollywood have a cohesive liberal agenda that affects the films and television programs we watch?