A Number of Newsers Make Root 100 List, Despite Odd Absences

By Alex Weprin 

The Root has released its 2011 list of the most influential African Americans, and many TV news personalities are present. Leading the way are CNN anchors Soledad O’Brien and Don Lemon at #5 and #6. MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall represented her channel at #14, along with MSNBC regular Melissa Harris-Perry.

The other CNNers that made the list were Suzanne Malveaux, Roland Martin, T.J. Holmes, while MSNBC contributors were comprised of Harold Ford Jr. and Toure.

Still, the list had some curious omissions:


Arguably TV’s most-watched African American newsman is NBC’s Lester Holt, who anchors the weekend editions of “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” as well as “Dateline.” Holt was nowhere to be found on the list.

In addition, despite being the top-ranked cable news channel, not one Fox News personality made the cut, including (as J$P notes) analyst Juan Williams and anchor Harris Faulkner, who have higher profiles than some TV personalities that were included.

Also missing was MSNBC’s 6 PM host Al Sharpton.

The Root explains its methodology here, and it leaves lots of wiggle room. So even if a personality had lots of reach, as Holt and Williams certainly do, they could be penalized for not having enough “substance,” however it was defined.