Michelle Malkin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Philippine citizens Rafaela (née Perez) – a homemaker and teacher – and Apolo DeCastro Maglalang, who was then a physician-in-training. Several months prior to Malkin's birth, her parents had immigrated to the United States on an employer-sponsored visa. After her father finished his medical training, the family moved to Absecon, New Jersey. Malkin has a younger brother. She has described her parents as Ronald Reagan Republicans who were "not incredibly politically active".
Malkin, a Roman Catholic, attended Holy Spirit Roman Catholic High School, where she edited the school newspaper and aspired to become a concert pianist. Following her graduation in 1988, she enrolled at Oberlin College. Malkin had planned to pursue a bachelor's degree in music, but changed her major to English. During her college years, she worked as a press inserter, tax preparation aide, and network news librarian. Her first article for the paper heavily criticized Oberlin's affirmative action program and received a "hugely negative response" from other students on campus. She graduated in 1992 and later described her alma mater as "radically left-wing".
Malkin began her journalism career at the Los Angeles Daily News, working as a columnist from 1992 to 1994. In 1995, she worked in Washington, D.C. as a journalism fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market, anti-government regulation, libertarian think tank. In 1996, she moved to Seattle, Washington, where she wrote columns for The Seattle Times. Malkin became a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate in 1999.
For years, Malkin was a frequent commentator for Fox News Channel and a regular guest host of The O'Reilly Factor. In 2007, she announced that she would not return to The O'Reilly Factor, claiming that Fox News had mishandled a dispute over derogatory statements made about her by Geraldo Rivera in a Boston Globe interview. Since 2007, she has concentrated on her writing, blogging, and public speaking, although she still appears on television occasionally, especially with Sean Hannity and formerly with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News and Fox & Friends once a week.
Malkin founded the websites Hot Air, an internet broadcast network, and Twitchy.com, a Twitter content curation site.
Malkin has written six books.Her first book, Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces (2002) was a New York Times bestseller.
In 2004, she wrote In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror, defending the U.S. government's internment of 112,000 Japanese Americans in prison camps during World War II, and arguing that the same procedures could be used on Arab- and Muslim-Americans today. The book engendered harsh criticism from several Asian American civil rights organizations. The Historians' Committee for Fairness, an organization of scholars and professional researchers, condemned the book for not having undergone peer review and argued that its central thesis is false. As a result of the controversy, the Hawaii-based newspaper MidWeek dropped her column in August 2004; The Virginian-Pilot called her "an Asian Ann Coulter" and dropped her column in November 2004. Malkin responded: "I'm not Asian, I'm American", and described the comparison to Coulter as "a compliment".
Malkin's third book, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, was released in October 2005.
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, Malkin's fourth book, was released in July 2009 and was a The New York Times Non-Fiction, Hardcover Best Seller for six weeks. Malkin said she hoped the book would "shatter completely the myths of hope and change in the new politics in Washington", described the Obama administration as run by "influence peddlers, power brokers and very wealthy people", and called it "one of the most corrupt administrations in recent memory". She later discussed chapter two of the book, "Bitter Half: First Crony Michelle Obama", on NBC's Today show. She described Michelle Obama as "steeped in the politics of the Daley machine", and as having based her professional career on nepotism and "old white boy" network connections.
Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs, released May 2015, presents stories of American inventors and business people, directly challenging the "you didn't build that" statement made by President Barack Obama on July 13, 2012.
Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America’s Best & Brightest Workers, M. Malkin and J. Miano, Simon & Schuster Audio/Mercury Ink (November 10, 2015)
In June 2004 Malkin successfully launched a political blog, MichelleMalkin.com. A 2007 memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee described Malkin as one of the five "best-read national conservative bloggers", and Technorati ranks MichelleMalkin.com consistently in its "Top 100 blogs of all types". In 2011, the people search company PeekYou claimed that Malkin had the largest digital footprint of any political blogger.
After she criticized hip hop artist Akon for "degrading women" in a Vent episode, Akon's record label, Universal Music Group, forced YouTube to remove the video by issuing a DMCA takedown notice, but decided to retract this notice after the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined Malkin and Hot Air in contesting the removal as a misuse of copyright law.
She continued to contribute frequently to MichelleMalkin.com, and in June 2007, she revamped it, moving it to a larger server on WordPress. With the new redesign, she re-enabled comments on her blog, which she said she had disallowed after February 2005 due to a high level of obscene and racist comments directed at her. Malkin states her policy thus: "I may allow as much or as little opportunity for registration as I choose, in my absolute discretion, and I may close particular comment threads."
Malkin was among the first of several bloggers who questioned the credibility and even the existence of Iraqi police Captain "Jamil Hussein" who had been used as a source by the Associated Press in over 60 stories about the Iraq war. The controversy started in November 2006 when the AP reported that six Iraqis had been burned alive as they left a mosque and that four mosques had been destroyed, citing Hussein as one of its sources. In January 2007, Malkin visited Baghdad, and stated, "the Iraqi Ministry of Interior says disputed Associated Press source Jamil Hussein does exist. At least one story he told the AP just doesn’t check out: The Sunni mosques that as Hussein claimed and AP reported as 'destroyed,' 'torched' and 'burned and blown up' are all still standing. So the credibility of every AP story relying on Jamil Hussein remains dubious." Malkin has since issued a correction for her denial of Hussein's existence, "I relayed information from multiple sources—CPATT, Centcom, and two other military sources on the ground in Iraq—that the Associated Press's disputed source, Jamil Hussein, could not be found." [...] "I regret the error."
In April 2006, Students Against War (SAW), a campus group at University of California, Santa Cruz, staged a protest against the presence of military recruiters on campus, and sent out a press release containing contact details (names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses) of three student leaders for use by reporters. Malkin included these contact details in a blog column entitled "Seditious Santa Cruz vs. America". Malkin claimed the contact information was originally taken from SAW's own website, but that later SAW had removed it and had "wiped" the "cached version". The students asked Malkin to remove the contact details from her blog, but Malkin reposted them several times writing in her blog: "I am leaving it up. If you are contacting them, I do not condone death threats or foul language. As for SAW, my message is this: You are responsible for your individual actions. Other individuals are responsible for theirs. Grow up and take responsibility."
SAW remarked: "Due to the continued irresponsible actions of some bloggers, members of the group have received numerous death threats and anti-Semitic comments through phone calls and emails." A blog war ensued. Malkin claimed that she received hostile e-mails then her private home address, phone number, photos of her neighborhood and maps to her house were published on several websites. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported receiving an email from Malkin saying that this forced her to remove one of her children from school and move her family.
Another controversy involving private addresses began on July 1, 2006, when Malkin and other bloggers commented on a New York Times Travel section article that had featured the town where Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld owned summer homes. The article included a picture of Rumsfeld's long tree-lined driveway that showed a birdhouse and small portion of the housefront. Malkin declared that this story was part of "a concerted, organized effort to dig up and publicize the private home information of prominent conservatives in the media and blogosphere to intimidate them." The photos of Rumsfeld's house were taken with Rumsfeld's permission.
On April 24, 2006, Hot Air, a "conservative Internet broadcast network", went into operation, with Malkin as founder/CEO. She intended the blog to provide "content and analysis you can't get anywhere else on a daily basis—both on the blog and in our original video features". Her staffers included 'Allahpundit' and Bryan Preston, though the latter was replaced by Ed Morrissey on February 25, 2008. In February 2010, Hotair.com was bought by Salem Communications and is no longer administered by Malkin.
Malkin has been a contributor to VDARE, a website which developed from the best-selling book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster, since 2002. The book and the website criticize U.S. immigration policy after 1965 from a conservative perspective.
Malkin believes that the custom of granting automatic citizenship at birth to U.S.-born children of foreign tourists, temporary foreign workers, and illegal aliens undermines the integrity of citizenship and national security. She argues that the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, "originally intended to ensure the citizenship rights of newly freed slaves and their families after the Civil War, has evolved into a magnet for alien lawbreakers and a shield for terrorist infiltrators and enemy combatants".
Malkin also opposes sanctuary cities, in which local authorities do not enforce all national immigration laws or coordinate with agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Following the August 2007 execution-style murder of three college students in Newark, New Jersey, she repeated her criticisms of politicians' posture toward sanctuary cities. In particular, she criticized former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's proposal for a tamper-proof identification card with this comment:
What Rudy-come-lately fails to comprehend is that there are already multiple alien tracking databases mandated by federal law that have yet to be fully implemented, integrated and used. The reason they don’t work is because open-borders interests have sabotaged them by restricting funding for them, objecting to them on civil liberties grounds, and pushing local and state governments to forbid public employees from checking them to verify citizenship status. Ring a bell, Rudy?
She supports coordination with federal authorities through the use of Section 287(g) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to investigate, detain, and arrest aliens on civil and criminal grounds. Malkin supports the detention and deportation of some immigrants, regardless of legal status, on national security grounds.
During an appearance as a news analyst on the roundtable segment of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on August 2, 2009, she explained why she opposed another 13-week extension of unemployment benefits: "If you put enough government cheese in front of people they are going to just keep eating it and kicking the can down the road... people will just delay getting a job until the three weeks before the benefits run out."
In a February 2012 column, Malkin called the "War on Women" a false narrative, arguing rather that "It's the progressive left in this country that has viciously and systematically slimed female conservatives for their beliefs."
At Oberlin, she began dating Jesse Malkin. They married in 1993, and have two children. Jesse Malkin worked as an associate policy analyst and economist focusing on healthcare issues for the RAND Corporation. In 2004, Malkin reported on her website that her husband had left a "lucrative health-care consulting job" to be a stay-at-home dad.
In 2006, Malkin gave a lecture at her alma mater, Oberlin College, discussing racism, among other topics. She denied allegations that she had been insensitive to the "plight of minorities", listing several racial epithets that had been used against her, and by relating a lesson she learned from her mother for which she is "eternally grateful". When in kindergarten, Malkin went home in tears one day because her classmates had called her a racist name. But, her mother comforted Michelle by telling her that everyone has prejudices.
Malkin and her family lived in North Bethesda, Maryland, until 2008 when they relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado.