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Moyers, Moore and Maddow are the Most Influential Progressives

Recently we asked our readers to rank the most influential progressives. Here are the results.

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It could be argued that among the top 10, only Amy Goodman truly operates within progressive, independent media (well, almost: three of her books were published by Hyperion, which is owned by the Disney Corporation). Goodman generally does not appear on broadcast television. Therefore she would be the most influential grassroots progressive media figure, as her show "Democracy Now" is seen and heard on hundreds of local radio and television stations across the country. Chomsky is another leader, who maintains his reputation among the AlterNet audience despite very rare appearances on corporate television. 

In the second 10, one of the bigger surprises was filmmaker Robert Greenwald, the founder of Brave New Films, who parlayed highly tactical Internet-promoted documentaries about Fox News, the war in Iraq, etc. and then a newer form of short, hard-hitting Internet videos about a wide range of political topics, into considerable visibility. If you watch political video online you know Robert Greenwald. 

Three veteran progressives ranked 11th-13th: the Texas populist talker and writer Jim Hightower, fresh from wining the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship from the Nation Institute; the Nation's editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, who has her fair share of mainstream television appearances; and author Barbara Ehrenreich, who has used her intellect and humor to carve out her own niche in the progressive and mainstream media universe. 

Two other surprises in the list (or maybe not) were food writer Michael Pollan, ranked at 14th (this makes sense given the popularity of food writing and analysis on AlterNet in 2009); and Jeremy Scahill at 18th, whose book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, is one of the definitive works of the past decade. Another relative newcomer, and a fresh unique voice who ranked 16th, is Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi, who almost single-handedly ripped the facade from the notion that the U.S. banking system was fair or made sense for the country. Taibbi made it clear that the recent economic collapse is all about naked greed (far beyond what many of us imagined), accompanied by a shocking level of enabling from the Obama administration. Finally, Frank Rich at 17th, the second New York Times writer, rounds off the top 20 of the most influential progressives.

Finishing the top 25 are a gaggle of writers including syndicated columnist David Sirota; veteran radical Robert Scheer, founder of the political Web site; David Corn, Mother Jones' Washington guy at Mojo wire; Bob Herbert, the third New York Times columnist to make the list; and Chris Hedges, the "take no prisoners" author and Truthdig columnist.

*Readers were asked : How Influential are the following progressive media figures? The options were: Very influential, Somewhat influential, Not Very influential and Who? The rankings for this article came from the highest percentage of respondents who chose "very  influential." The recognition score was the percentage of people who recognized the media figure.

Here's the list of the top 25:

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(click for larger version)

The following people were also in the survey, and received votes from survey participants (in alphabetical order): Max Blumenthal, Digby, Laura Flanders, Bill Greider, Jane Hamsher, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Van Jones, Roberto Lovato, Joshua Marshall, Ron Reagan, Randy Rhodes, Tavis Smiley, Pam Spaulding, Jessica Valenti, Joan Walsh, Patricia Williams

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.

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