Out magazine’s new Power 50 list was announced and media people play a prominent role. The big news, however, is the addition of a brand new member of the list: Shepard Smith of Fox News.
Smith meets Out’s definition of LGBT–including Anderson Cooper, Matt Drudge, Barry Diller and Jodie Foster–which includes people who may not be “openly gay” although the magazine considers them gay or lesbian.
IN 2007, Michael Musto wrote his famous “Glass Closets” article for an earlier Power 50 list where he discussed Anderson Cooper’s place on the Out list (the story is not available on Out’s website, but here is a bootleg version) and which explains the magazine’s thinking.
For Smith, who debuts at number 6, Out says:
The Mississippi native, whose nightly Fox Report With Shepard Smith has won its time slot for more than 100 consecutive months, has been with Fox News since its 1996 inception. His loyalty paid off in 2007 when he signed a three-year contract estimated at $7–8 million per year, renewing it again in 2010 for another three years
Other media types include: (3) CNN’s Anderson Cooper, (4) MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, (8) Daily Beast/Newsweek’s Barry Diller, (17) Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, (20) Perez Hilton, (21) Andrew Sullivan, (29) Time Inc’s Martha Nelwson, (31) Richard Berke of the New York Times, (34) Gawker Media’s Nick Denton, (39) Matt Drudge, (40) Dan Savage, (41) Adam Moss of New York magazine, (47) Jim Nelson of GQ, and (51) Ariel Foxman of Instyle.
Some observations on the list:
- The ethics of putting someone like Smith on the list are interesting. Out has done it before and there are clearly arguments both for an against including people who have never said they were gay, but are still allegedly gay. This also isn’t the first time Smith has been “outed” as gay. Kevin Naff of the Washington Blade outed him after saying Smith hit on him at a gay bar. (Sadly, another link that is unavailable). The story was repeated in the documentary Outrage.
- Putting aside questions about dipping into closets, it’s telling that there are no openly gay male national TV anchors on the list. Of course, that list basically begins and ends with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, but it is a statement about the barriers for gays and lesbians in national television journalism. While women fare slightly better–with Maddow and HLN’s Jean Velez Mitchell–it is still a glass ceiling.
- There is not a single non-white person on the media list (and very few on the overall list). The list is also overwhelmingly male and primarily from blogging and national magazines.
So, now it is your turn. Who should be on the list next year?