It isn't any of the jabbering chuckleheads heard non-stop on radio and television as they demonize Your Group or The Other Group in a 24/7 saliva-hurling contest.
A report from Forbes magazine says the Most Influential Pundit is film critic Roger Ebert. I agree.
He is not only one of the best in his field, he's also one of the most likable folks around who provide opinion. Given the chance to read a review of any movie by Ebert or anyone else, I will always read Ebert first. He still has that rare ability to be just an ordinary viewer, though his knowledge of the medium is encyclopedic. And kudos go as well to his annual film festival.
The Editor and Publisher reports:
"Candidates were scored on "awareness and likeability" among respondents most prized by advertisers -- relatively high income college graduates aged between 25 and 54, Forbes said.
"While the results show that plenty of cable talking heads like Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Geraldo Rivera score highly, the most powerful pundit in America is veteran film critic Roger Ebert, who appeals to 70% of the demographic and whose long career makes him well known to well over half the population," Forbes media writer Tom Van Riper wrote.
"Ebert, despite being limited to print reviewing over the past year as he battles cancer, is viewed by the public as intelligent, experienced and articulate, the three most common traits associated with the top 10 list," Forbes wrote. "And his widespread appeal makes sense. Unlike political pundits who bring a liberal or conservative voice to the table, his strong opinions are generally confined to individual movies. Hence, he's not drawing cheers from half the population and jeers from the other half."
Comedian Bill Maher, who has a weekly talk show on HBO, was ranked second, followed by cable talker Bill O'Reilly; liberal radio host and comedian Al Franken; TV journalist Geraldo Rivera; comedian Rosie O'Donnell; film critic Leonard Maltin; legal commentator Greta Van Susteren; economics news commentator Lou Dobbs; and basketball analyst Bill Walton."
And a big thanks to Newscoma for pointing out this story, even though the findings surprised her to no end.
SEE ALSO: This debate about pundits at MCB.