Mediaite’s Most Influential in News Media 2018
45. David Muir
Is David Muir the new Peter Jennings? His ratings certainly say so. The ABC World News Tonight host is scoring record-setting numbers in the viewership department, rivaling those of his famed predecessor. Recent data shows Muir’s program is still outperforming all other networks in the evenings, ranking no. 1. When he’s not in the studio, Muir can usually be found trekking around the globe to report on the ground from scenes including California’s wildfires, the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki and the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Muir has proven once and for all that he is a true news anchor in its finest sense.
44. Lawrence O’Donnell
Lawrence O’Donnell has notched record ratings this year, maintaining Rachel Maddow’s audience thanks to a sharp combination of progressive news coverage and a righteous take on the current political climate. A brilliant writer and gifted broadcaster, O’Donnell makes sure his show is tougher, sometimes angrier than Hayes and Maddow, and it works. His coverage of the Russia investigation provides perhaps the most nutritious comfort food for #TheResistance, and we naturally like when he dabbles in media criticism — his analysis is often spot on.
43. Lou Dobbs
Lou Dobbs is the outlandish Fox Business host who has become a fixture in presidential politics. On the very MAGA end of the political spectrum, gratitude to Trump is not just a positive, it’s a job qualification — and Dobbs nails it. Being pro-Trump is not a factor in his work, it is the object of it, and one that his audience, and the president, continue to reward. His name is mentioned from rally stages, on competing networks, in print, and all over social media, making his profile higher than ever. And as the object of his presidential admiration moves into the second half of his term, facing a Democratic House and the sure-to-be-a-circus 2020 scrum, Dobbs is extremely well-positioned to have a say in what many Republicans talk about, and how they talk about it.
42. Chris Hayes
While skepticism once loomed over the future of the MSNBC anchor’s prime time show, Chris Hayes can let this year’s ratings data speak for itself. Throughout 2018, All In was more watched by viewers in the key A25-54 demographic than CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who airs in the same hour. Last August, those numbers helped to secure Hayes a spot in the top ten cable news broadcasts of the month. Maybe more importantly, Hayes has found his voice with consistently smart and nuanced advocacy against President Trump. His impressive town hall episodes — like the vital one he held in Chicago — earned the young anchor an Emmy this year.
41. Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa, Ashley Parker & Phil Rucker
The Washington Post has become such a must read in the Trump era that we could list the entire masthead here. Instead, we’ll just go with these four top reporters who consistently deliver must-read scoops and insights from inside the White House and on Capitol Hill. Apart from breaking news that often finds the competition panting to keep up, Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker have all done what mortals often find impossible: appearing on cable news and still remaining very much respected and even liked by their peers!
40. Savannah Guthrie & Hoda Kotb
The Today show has forever been one of, if not the, most significant drivers of the morning show news cycle. And in any year, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb would be deserving of great praise and recognition for their daily delivery of informed news and morning show ephemera that makes their show so unique. But given the continued developments in a #MeToo era that touched NBC News, Guthrie and Kotb earned well-deserved praise and admiration for handling a very tough situation with intelligence and poise. They also have continued to nab major exclusive interviews — recently including everyone from Tom Hanks to Michelle Obama.
39. Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo has had an interesting evolution in the Trump era. Since making the move from CNBC to Fox Business Network back in 2014, the financial anchor has only expanded her footprint at Murdoch’s properties: she anchors a daily morning show on Fox Business (Mornings With Maria) and a Friday show (Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street), a weekend show on Fox News (Sunday Morning Futures), and regularly appears on other programs. Media critics have not been kind to Bartiromo’s surprising turn towards Trumpism, but it has earned her one important viewer in the commander-in-chief, who regularly grants her high-profile interviews.
38. Robin Roberts & Michael Strahan
The Good Morning America stars — along with George Stephanopoulos — once again helped the show to rank as among the most viewed weekday morning programs of the year. In November, Robin Roberts scored an exclusive interview with Michelle Obama, talking with the former first lady on a number of notably personal matters from her marriage to fertility struggles in a discussion that made national headlines. It was one of many big newsmaker interviews Roberts secured this past year. Strahan remains a multi-platform mega-star, who was also chosen to co-host with Sara Haines a new third hour of Good Morning America, which features lighthearted news to round out the network’s morning headlines. A lot of the people on this list are controversial, but not this affable pair. Who doesn’t love Robin and Michael?
37. Matt Belloni
Under Matt Belloni’s purview, The Hollywood Reporter has evolved rather dramatically from a fading trade publication to what it is now: a digital-first must-read that no longer solely covers the entertainment biz, but also breaks news in the world of cable news and politics. While we at Mediaite might be somewhat vexed that THR occasionally swims in our media and politics lane, game recognizes game. And Belloni has been instrumental in making THR the place for quick news, deep dive must-reads, and world-class profiles that has made the mag so influential. That they host the (second) hottest media party in NYC each year helps too (yes, behind the one held in honor of this list).
36. Laura Ingraham
2018 was the first full year that Laura Ingraham hosted the 10 p.m. hour of Fox News, where The Ingraham Angle handily maintains the large audience Sean Hannity is gracious enough to build up at 9. The best indication of her power and influence? The fact that there is a near constant threat from progressive activists eager to get advertisers to boycott her show. Nonetheless, she persists and thrives, offering the full-throated conservative opinion for which legions of Fox News viewers tune in. Oh, and 2018 even saw Ingraham earn the highest honor in all of the media: she was parodied by Kate McKinnon in a Saturday Night Live cold open.
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