Fulton Lewis Jr. was a radio commentator and columnist.
He began his journalism career at the Washington Herald in 1924. He served as the city editor of the Herald and with the Washington bureau of Universal News Service and the International News Service before joining the Mutual Broadcasting System as a national affairs commentator.
Lewis was a war correspondent in World War II and was active in securing radio galleries in the House of Representatives and Senate. He was the author of the syndicated column, "Washington Report."
Born in Washington on April 30, 1903, Lewis was the son of Fulton and Elizabeth Lewis. He was said to have been related to Mordecai Lewis, the Revolutionary War financier.
For 14 years during his early life he studied piano, voice, harmony and composition. In high school he wrote the complete script and score for two musical comedies, which were produced. While he was at the University of Virginia he composed "The Cavalier Song" after which the athletic teams of the college are named.
At the Washington Herald he wrote a fishing column and national news. In three years he become the city editor, but left the Herald in 1928 for Hearst's Universal News Service and for nine years headed the Washington bureau.
In 1937, Lewis left Universal, which had consolidated with the International News Service, to join Mutual's Washington-affiliated station, WOL. Two months later he went on Mutual's coast-to-coast network.
A libel suit that brought a $145,000 judgment against Lewis when first tried was subsequently settled out of court without a second trial. The settlement details were not disclosed.
Pearl A. Wanamaker, former superintendent of public instruction for the state of Washington, won the judgment for statements Lewis made about her in a broadcast in January 1956.
The original judgment was set aside in 1959 by District Court Judge George L. Hart Jr. He said the jury must have been prejudiced against Lewis in returning what was then the largest libel award ever made.
Lewis had criticized Wanamaker for her part in a White House conference on education and then connected her with a State Department employee who had fled behind the Iron Curtain. He later admitted he had made a mistake in connecting her with the defector.