The Atlantic 50 claims to list "the most influential commentators in the nation". It's a fascinating list, not merely due to the inclusion of many mediocre commentators, but by the way it highlights how the columnists of a handful of prominent publications almost automatically gain "influence". The definition of "influence" is a bit scary,
A survey of more than 250 Washington insiders – members of Congress, national media figures, and political insiders – in which respondents rank-ordered the commentators who most influence their own thinking.Well, it's not the definition that's so scary, but the implications of "members of Congress, national media figures, and political insiders" admitting that they follow the lead of the likes of Rush Limbaugh. But then, they rank Paul Krugman #1, and if his thinking is influencing Congress and the media these days you would hardly know it from current policy proposals and their associated media coverage. And to their credit, the triumvirate of former Bush speechwriters didn't rank.
And boy, what a handicap it is these days to be a white male.