Newsweek’s ‘New Media’ List Resembles Old Media

The new issue of Newsweek magazine is full of lists. This is a surefire way to generate buzz, since people are bound to disagree with who’s on your list– and then write about it.

Which is exactly what I’m doing.

But one of the lists really jumped out. The magazine selected the top “Opinionists,” who are apparently the “best online writers at war with the obvious.”

The first thing you notice is that two of the five judges are Newsweek-affiliated columnists: conservative David Frum and the right-leaning Andrew Sullivan. And who made the list of top opinion writers? Frum and Sullivan, naturally– the latter designated not in the mere top ten list, but with a lifetime achievement award.

The other obvious conclusion to draw from the list: White guys apparently do a lot of battling the obvious. The list of 10 consists of 9 white males; the exception to the rule is, unsurprisingly, Arianna Huffington.

The list isn’t entirely bad news: Salon.com‘s Glenn Greenwald makes the cut. It would be even harder to take a list like this seriously if he weren’t on it.

But the lesson would seem to be the same one Janine Jackson wrote about in Extra! (6/12). The “new media” space offers a nearly limitless array of commentary, punditry and reporting from virtually every perspective. So why is it that the new media elite resemble the old media elite?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.