The Daily Beast's Top 25 Lefty Journos
The Daily Beast ran a list of its Top 25 Lefty Journalists, as ranked by Tunku Varadarajan.
The good news: Jessica Valenti, Ezra Klein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Jane Hamsher, Markos Moulitsas, Rachel Maddow, Eric Alterman, and a host of other lefty luminaries.
The bad news, they used my photo of Ezra Klein without asking permission.
[Update: I emailed the Daily Beast to ask for a credit and they immediately set things right. So, more good news.]
The list probably should have been called "The Liberal Establishment's Top 25 Public Intellectuals/Pundits/Media Personalities, Including Several Journalists." I mean, Arianna Huffington made the list. She's a media entrepreneur, but not a journalist.
Best Of lists are always wildly subjective and it's generally stupid to make strong prescriptive arguments about what should have made someone else's list.
It all depends on how you define your terms. By "top" do you mean the most influential or the most excellent, or maybe some weighted combination of the two? Who's on the left? Varadarajan is a fellow of the Hoover Institution, so I imagine his definition of left is quite different from mine. Is it enough to be personally left-wing, or does the politics have to come through in the work itself?
Instead of arguing about what should have been on Varadarajan's list, here are some names that didn't make his list, but would have made mine: Sy Hersh, Jeremy Scahill, Naomi Klein, Ken Silverstein, Jeff Sharlet, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jane Mayer, Dahlia Lithwick, Tom Geoghegan, and Harold Meyerson. Update: I can't believe I forgot Amy Goodman.
I don't know if Michael Pollan self-identifies as a leftist or a journalist, but he makes my list because his work has galvanized an entire generation of lefties.
Matt Taibbi probably doesn't qualify because he's more of a nihilist than a lefty, but it's a tough call. In terms of sheer influence, you could make a case for Malcolm Gladwell, though I'm also unsure whether he counts as a man of the left, or even the left of center. Nick Kristof is more of a neo-liberal than a lefty, but he does great work on women's issues and poverty.
You can play along at home. Please do.