Friday, January 23, 2009

Most influential liberals?

With thanks to, that put these in list form so I didn't have to go through them and write each down individually, here is the Forbes list of the 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media:
  1. Paul Krugman
  2. Arianna Huffington
  3. Fred Hiatt
  4. Thomas Friedman
  5. Jon Stewart
  6. Oprah Winfrey
  7. Rachel Maddow
  8. Josh Marshall
  9. David Shipley
  10. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (Kos)
  11. Fareed Zakaria
  12. Chris Matthews
  13. Bill Moyers
  14. Christopher Hitchens
  15. Maureen Dowd
  16. Matthew Yglesias
  17. Hendrick Hertzberg
  18. Glenn Greenwald
  19. Andrew Sullivan
  20. Gerald Seib
  21. James Fallows
  22. Ezra Klein
  23. Kevin Drum
  24. Kurt Andersen
  25. Michael Pollan
There has been a fair amount of outrage already in BlogWorld, most of which centers on the extent to which these people can be considered liberal (we already know Andrew Sullivan would not like the label). But a lot of the comments I've seen didn't seem to discuss the criteria that Forbes used, which were:
Broadly, a "liberal' subscribes to some or all of the following: progressive income taxation; universal health care of some kind; opposition to the war in Iraq, and a certain queasiness about the war on terror; an instinctive preference for international diplomacy; the right to gay marriage; a woman's right to an abortion; environmentalism in some Kyoto Protocol-friendly form; and a rejection of the McCain-Palin ticket.
Rather than fretting about who ought to be on the list of candidates, let's look at what it would take not to be considered. Since the authors refer to "some or all of the following," anyone who isn't a liberal would have to believe in all of these:
  • A flat tax, or no taxes at all
  • Health care only for some, based on some undisclosed criterion
  • Support for, or neutrality toward, the war in Iraq
  • Full-bodied enthusiasm about every aspect of the war on terror
  • A conscious preference to reject any form of diplomacy whatsoever
  • Opposition to gay marriage
  • No right to an abortion under any circumstance (or, perhaps, a man's right to an abortion)
  • A dislike for environmentalism, or maybe just a dislike of the Kyoto Protocol
  • Support of the McCain-Palin ticket
So who is on this list, these "non-liberals" who believe each and every one of these things? Furthermore, which people in the media can be identified as supporting each one? I can't think of any, which means the list collapses into the 25 Most Influential People in the U.S. Media. But that doesn't look right either, as there seem to be a whole lot of people excluded. I guess I'm just confused.

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