Friday, January 23, 2009

Forbes Magazine Ranks Liberals

Forbes Magazine is one of the most free market and conservative (at least when it comes to business) publications in the country and it is one of the most authoritative when it comes to the economy. They are also noted for their love of "lists" and in light of its Right wing credentials, I was surprised to see its article on the most influential Liberals.

My surprise isn't because one can't tell that Liberals are effective, with some more effective than others, but usually Conservatives describe such while cursing and not as a compliment. I guess Forbes simply wants to keep its readers on their toes.

An obvious springboard to such a list is the fact that American politics is now dominated with Liberals, be it in the White House, Senate, or the US House. So, it does make sense to be aware of who the major players are. The following are some highlights of the list, read about the entire 25 at Forbes.com.

  • Kevin Drum. Showing the continued influence of the new media, Drum is a blogger by profession at MotherJones.com, which is one of the nation's most influential liberal publications.

  • Gerald Seib, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal. In a newspaper that is noted for its Conservative pedigree, it is hard to find a prominent individual with such Liberal credentials. Don't be fooled though, Seib is not the paper's "token Liberal" but a leader in the publication's perspectives.

  • Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com. Another blogger who shows up high for his influence on the media on a website that is noted for its strong, new media roots.

  • Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is one of the few females on a list dominated by white males, which doesn't seem very Liberal or Progressive.

  • Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers Journal. For many decades this laid back, but philosophically extreme, journalist has been one of the Left's more influential voices.

  • Chris Matthews, Hardball on MSNBC. I believe that Matthews influence has become largely limited to the Left. He has been told by MSNBC that he cannot serve in an anchor role and he recently said in an interview that it was his job to make sure that the Obama Administration is very successful (see video above). This was an odd choice.

  • Markos Moulitsas Zuniga , the Daily Kos. Another new media leader whose entire platform is online. I actually don't buy this choice. "Influential" means the ability to change the views of others. Zuniga merely preaches to the choir and it is an extreme one at that.

  • Oprah Winfrey. I found the fact that Winfrey, who spent years above the political fray, is now recognized as a Liberal and she is probably the most influential one because she does influence people of various ideologies, without them knowing it.

  • Jon Stewart, The Daily Show. I believe Stewart is effective. He is extremely smart, but not biting. Because he is likable, you want to believe him. He is very influential and most people don't realize they are being influenced.

  • Thomas Friedman, New York Times. Friedman may be the intellectual Godfather of the modern Liberal movement. His cool style and bright analysis makes him difficult to debate.

  • Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post. Huffington is another new media leader and she lands very high, at number two. She is extremely Liberal, but I think she is bright and makes the website reader do a little work before they realize its philosophy. She even has a few Conservatives on the site.

It is an interesting list and the vast majority on it are in the opinion making business. I think that culture (Jon Stewart and Oprah Winfrey), play a bigger role on Liberal influence. However, the great thing about lists is their capacity to begin debates. The debate on the influential Liberals begins at Forbes.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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