Punditry Hall of Fame

Punditry Hall of Fame

Why you should care

Because the people who report the news sometimes become the people who make the news.

Paul Harvey: A Conservative, 1950s Ira Glass

Say “conservative radio” to most young people today and they’ll likely come up with a name like Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck. But those guys are the offspring of the industry’s grandfather — one who told stories more often than he raised his voice, and who narrated history and the present to a generation of young listeners. His name was Paul Harvey — and his gentle storytelling program was the launching pad for an entire cast of well-known faces from today’s conservative movement, from Mitt Romney to Mike Huckabee to Fred Dalton Thompson. Read the story here.

The Changing Voice of the American Left

Air America Radio, promoted as the left’s response to Rush Limbaugh, took to the airwaves 10 years ago. “We will bring a fresh new voice to America’s ears,” promised its chief executive, Mark Walsh. But, as 2004 would show, the American left wasn’t ready to win a presidential election or dominate the talk-radio circuit. Air America filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Still, it wasn’t a total defeat for the voice of liberal America. The network helped launch many careers. Perhaps the biggest star to rise from the ashes was Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, now the flagship show of the cable news network. Read the story here.

Senegal’s Sufi Celebrities

Parting a sea of bystanders and fans, a man with the air of a rock star strode into the Sen TV studios in Dakar, Senegal. Inside, he silenced his four cellphones and sat in front of the green screen, a massive Quran displayed before him, and got ready to hold forth for his audience in TV land. It’s the age of the tele imam in Senegal, and Imam Iran Ndao is among a handful of these celebrity Quranic teachers. Tele imams weigh in on everything from modern dating to elections and droughts. The conversation so far has stayed in line with the historically peaceful and tolerant Sufi strain of Islam that dominates this 94 percent Muslim country. Still, analysts puzzle over the trend and worry about the possibility of radical infiltrators. Read the story here.

The Former Journalists Who Helped Write History

As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar and other outsiders throw their hats into the news ring, here are nine of OZY’s favorite ex-journos — from Al Gore to Nora Ephron, Mark Twain to Ben Franklin — who decided to move in the opposite direction, and who — far from being yesterday’s news, or newswriters — went on to even greater things outside the realm of print media. Read the story here.

Comment

OZYWildcard

Square pegs. Round holes.

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