This Just In…..The 11 Manliest Anchormen of All Time

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 18, 2009 · 80 comments

in A Man's Life, Diversions


With the advent of television came the arrival of the anchorman. Sitting behind his desk, earnestly staring into the camera and reporting the news each evening in his calm and steady voice, he was a man you could trust. Night after night, Americans invited him into their homes as a friend to steer them through the nation’s tragedies and cast light on its triumphs. These days, more Americans are going to the internet to get their news. There is a veritable dearth of real newsmen out there, and the manly anchorman is becoming an endangered species. Male anchors are now in the minority nationwide. And the anchormen who are left are often not up to journalistic par. From Fox News to CNN, the news industry is beginning to replace real journalists with those whose only qualification is a winning smile. Fake tans and plastic surgery are becoming the norm, and real journalism seems to now be relegated to print (which is dying a slow death itself. Egads!) While there are obviously some newsmen we respect that did not quite make the list, we feel that those who did make it are a good representation of journalists who were and are dedicated to their work, rather than the appearance of their work. Please note that the newsmen listed below are American or prominently featured in American TV News. Feel free to add your favorite manly anchorman from abroad. Without further ado, here is our list of manly men who happen to do a little thing called “anchoring the news.”

Roger Grimsby


Most famous for his run as co-anchor (along with the equally esteemed Bill Beutel) on the Big Apple’s Eyewitness News, Roger Grismby was a pioneer of network broadcast news. An orphan raised by a minister and a veteran of the Korean War, Grimsby was a news anchor who didn’t take guff from anyone. He was an intimidating and brutally honest man; co-anchors thought he hated them, and if they were incompetent flyweights, he probably did. He famously had on-air feuds with news team members like Howard Cossell and Geraldo Rivera. But once you earned Grimsby’s respect, he was fiercely loyal. Grimsby wasn’t a prima donna; he just really cared about the news. He didn’t do the kind of sensational fluff stories that now dominate local news; he tackled NYC’s pressing issues, flew to Ethiopia to cover its poverty, and traveled to the Middle East to report on Israeli-Egyptian relations. His introduction (“I’m Roger Grimsby, hear now the news”) and sign-off (“Hoping your news is good news, I’m Roger Grimsby”) were as memorable as his stories. And while he took the news seriously, he never took himself seriously. Grimsby had an unforgettable personality and a sharp wit; he was famous for rescuing news show’s from the awkward moments that paralyzed everyone else. His most famous quip can be seen here at 5:23:

Hal Fishman


Fishman was one of the last of a dying breed: an anchorman with editorial control over the news he covered. Fishman holds the distinction of being the last Los Angeles-based anchorman to have this privilege. He is also noteworthy for being the longest running news anchor in American television history. Fishman anchored the news in LA for an astonishing 47 years; only death could remove him from his desk. Fishman, who came to prominence with his reporting of the Watts Riot, was the first to air footage of the Rodney King beating. If being a bad ass anchorman wasn’t enough, Fishman was an accomplished pilot who set 13 records for speed and altitude. Pretty dang manly. He even found time to appear in movies like Forrest Gump and Spiderman 3.

Jon Stewart


Although mostly known as the wise-cracking, sarcastic anchor of the “fake news” show, The Daily Show, Stewart is one of the most ballsy men on television. He may do it for laughs, but his skewering of the hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle is frequently nothing short of genius. Stewart also interviews interesting guests on topics rarely covered elsewhere and pulls no punches with his questions. It’s hard to pick a favorite Stewart moment-is it when he went on CNN’s Crossfire and took Tucker Carlson to town for the show’s divisive rhetoric and partisan hackery? When he bore his soul and got choked up talking about his country in his first show post 9/11? Or perhaps it is his recent skewering of Wall Street and CNBC:

One thing’s for sure, there will be many more such great moments to come, and it’s good to know there’s a gadfly out there irritating the mad cow that is today’s media.

Peter Jennings

Jennings earns manly props for being a self-made man. Although he dropped out of high school in tenth grade and never attended college, he became, at age 26, the youngest US network anchorman ever and went on to become one of the most prominent and well-respected men in the business. He established the first American television news bureau in the Arab world and became an expert in the affairs of the Middle East. Jennings was committed to uncovering and reporting the important news of his time, to avoiding the fluff stories, and to helping Americans understand important and complicated international issues. On Sept. 11, he held his anchor chair for 17 straight hours as he guided Americans through the crisis. The tragedy of that day so stirred his soul that it led this Canadian to become an American citizen.

Bob Schieffer


When it comes to national politics, few newsmen have covered the beat better than Bob Schieffer. Schieffer is part of an elite club of reporters who have covered all four of the major Washington assignments: Congress, the Pentagon, the White House, and the Department of State. Schieffer got his first taste of the action as a reporter for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Although initially disappointed in having not been assigned to cover JFK’s visit to Texas, Schieffer stumbled into a golden opportunity when in the aftermath of the assassination he was asked to drive Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother to the police station. Upon arriving, he used his manly resourcefulness and pretended to be a detective (he always wore a snap-brimmed hat for just such a purpose) to gain access to an office with a telephone. He then spent several hours calling his paper with dispatches from fellow reporters, enabling the Star-Telegram to have several extra editions of the paper put out. This past year, Schieffer was praised for moderating a presidential debate in which then candidates Obama and McCain finally came within at least a few miles of answering the actual questions asked. Well done Bob.

Edward R. Murrow


Edward R. Murrow got his start in the news business before television had even been invented, and yet he would arguably shape the medium more than anyone else. In the early days of World War II, he kept Americans abreast of events through his revolutionary live radio broadcasts from London. It was during this time that he developed his famous “good night and good luck” sign-off, a catch phrase inspired from a common comment Londoners gave one another as they parted ways and prepared for another night of air raids. In the 1950′s, Murrow made the transition to television and gained fame and respect for unveiling Joseph McCarthy’s hypocrisy on his See It Now news program. The show covered other controversial issues, often to the chagrin of nervous CBS execs. After the show ended, Murrow criticized the media for refusing to tackle the big issues. He prophetically announced, “During the daily peak viewing periods, television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live. If this state of affairs continues, we may alter an advertising slogan to read: Look now, pay later.”

Eric Sevareid


Eric Sevareid got his start in journalism in a way that foretold his commitment to chasing a story wherever it led; on a trip sponsored by the Minneapolis Star, Sevareid paddled a canoe for 2,250 miles, journeying from Minneapolis to York on the Hudson Bay. Sevareid was recruited by Edward R. Murrow during World War II to be a correspondent for CBS. As one of the famous “Murrow boys,” Sevareid covered such events as the fall of France and the Battle of Britain. He wasn’t afraid to be in the thick of the action. He parachuted into the jungle when his plane failed while covering the Burmese-China theater, and he then helped rescue other passengers from the crash. Could you imagine any anchorman doing that today? I didn’t think so. He also accompanied the first wave of American troops as they made their way from France into Germany. He continued reporting the news for CBS after the war, serving as the head of the Washington bureau and then their roving European correspondent. He showed some manly mettle by being one of the first in the media to criticize Senator Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for communists, a move that prompted an (later proven unfounded) investigation of him by the Red-fearing FBI. From 1964 until his retirement, Sevareid kept alive the Murrow tradition of news commentary by giving his two minute analysis of current affairs on the CBS Evening News.

Anderson Cooper


Born into the prominent Vanderbilt family, Anderson Cooper’s life could have been that of the perpetually charmed socialite. Instead, his father’s death when Cooper was 10 and the suicide of his 23 year old brother set the young man on his path to journalism. Like any good journalist, Cooper had questions he wanted answered, the biggest being: “Why do some people thrive in situations that others can’t tolerate? Would I be able to survive and get on in the world on my own?” Cooper sought to find out. First he interned with the CIA, and then, when he couldn’t get his foot in the door at ABC, he made a fake press pass and traveled to war torn regions like Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, filming stories and selling them to Channel One. After cutting his teeth on news stories for middle and high schoolers, Cooper continued to work his way up the journalism ranks, starting as a correspondent for ABC and eventually anchoring his own show, Anderson Cooper 360. While 360 sometimes veers into more fluffy stories, Cooper gets props for being one of the few current newsmen trying to cover the more important news and doing it without yelling, partisan idiocy, or stupid gimmicks.

Ron Burgundy


Sure, Ron Burgundy was a chauvinist prone to citing the scientific fact that women’s brains are a third the size of men’s and threatening to punch a female co-worker in the ovary. And yeah, he lacked tact and had a weakness for reading anything put up on the teleprompter. But no one can argue Ron’s manliness. In the 1970′s he led San Diego’s Channel 4 news team with bravado and swagger. He shopped for suits when feeling blue, was fond of scotchy, scotch, scotch, had many leather-bound books and an apartment that smelled of rich mahogany, and took on a bear to save the woman who took his job. And he wasn’t afraid to show his softer side: confessing a love of poetry, playing a mean jazz flute, and being hopelessly devoted to his best friend Baxter. And in the end he got over his sexism to co-anchor the World News Center program with Veronica Corningstone. You stay classy Ron. In addition to his talent for reporting the news, Burgundy could also wield a bedpost with murderous accuracy:

Howard K. Smith


Another of the original Murrow boys, Smith was a Rhodes Scholar who immediately after graduation went to London as a writer/journalist for the United Press. In early 1940, he was the nation’s correspondent in Berlin, where he conducted interviews with prominent Nazis including Adolf Hitler, SS leader Heinrich Himmler, and propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. After the war, Smith continued reporting for CBS and chaired the first televised presidential debate between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon. In 1962, he left his job at CBS over a dispute about a documentary on the civil rights movement called “Who Speaks for Birmingham.” An advocate for desegregation, Smith ended the piece with Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” Told to remove the quote, Smith instead resigned from CBS and joined ABC where he co-anchored the ABC Evening News. Despite his formerly friendly relations with President Nixon earlier in his political career and his reputation for conservatism, Smith notably became the first national television commentator to call for Dick’s resignation after the Watergate scandal broke.

Walter Cronkite


Walter Cronkite’s title as the Most Trusted Man in America was well-earned. Cronkite began his career in 1937 with the United Press, wherein he became one of the top US reporters of WWII. He covered battles in the North African and European theaters while at the same time serving as an active member of the US Coast Guard. He covered the Battle of the Bulge as well as the Nuremburg Trials. After the war, Cronkite again made a name for himself in his coverage of political news; in fact, the term ‘anchor’ was coined to describe his coverage of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Cronkite went on to cover events such as the Vietnam War, the Kennedy Assassination, and the early stages of the US Space Program. He was also widely respected for his role in bringing the Watergate scandal to the forefront of the American public’s attention. The duration of, and the level of professionalism he employed during his career made him a living legend in the industry, and he is widely considered the preeminent anchor of the twentieth century.

Anchorman Hall of Shame

The anchormen of yesteryear tackled the world’s most important stories and did it with true professionalism, disguising their own biases to deliver the news in an unbiased way. Today’s newsmen host “opinion news” programs and try to outdo each other in the amplitude of yelling, fluff, snark, sarcasm, hyperbolic accusations, and gimmickry. Some of today’s newsmen have taken the presenting of news to a new low and deserve a place in the Anchorman Hall of Shame.

Sean Hannity


If Hannity was any more smug, he’d be twins. Prone to exaggerations and cringe-worthy partisanship, Hannity is like a puppet that says, “Socialism, socialism, socialism!” whenever you pull the string. Hey Sean, knock off your Smugs McSmugs-a-lot schtick. It just makes you look like a schmuck.

Keith Olbermann


Just as partisan as rival O’Reilly but with a liberal bent, his feud with the Irishman is tantamount to a pissing contest where each gets pee on their respective shoes. As former Los Angeles Times television critic Howard Rosenberg wrote, “Countdown is more or less an echo chamber in which Olbermann and like-minded bobbleheads nod at each other.” And this blowhard is so pretentious that he’s co-opted legendary anchorman Edward R. Murrow’s “good night and good luck” sign off. Manly sacrilege. You should have stuck to sports. Olbermann’s enormous ego and penchant for over the top rhetoric was satirized brilliantly by Ben Affleck on SNL:

Bill O’Reilly


If former anchormen reported the news with dignity and stately bearing, Bill O’Reilly does so by yelling his opinion over that of his invited guests. Those that don’t agree with him are “pinheads;” those that kiss his butt get a free book. It’s hard to argue with the fact that Bill O’Reilly is immensely entertaining to watch, but his pomposity crosses the line of manly propriety. And despite his positioning of himself as a moral crusader, it’s hard to trust a guy who is prone to outbursts like this (warning: explicit language):

Chris Matthews


Mr. Matthews doesn’t even pretend to impartiality. His outright fawning for Obama and partisan remarks got him and his fellow Hall of Shamer Keith Oldermann removed from co-anchoring MSNBC coverage of the presidential election. Such inability to disguise his biases was again made manifest when he let slip an “Oh God!” on air as Bobby Jindal emerged to give his rebuttal to President Obama’s national address:

Stephen Colbert


Despite putting on a manly front, when push comes to shove, Colbert has shown a soft underbelly. His all-consuming fear of bears, distaste for books, love of Dungeons and Dragons, and disdain for facts and thinking is not very manly. Colbert does have potential for rising to the ranks of manly anchormen. He did defeat freshman congressman Jason Chaffatz in Indian leg wrestling three times.

Stephen, if you’ll join Pizza Hut’s Book It! reading program, wrestle a bear, and read Art of Manliness religiously, you’ll become a man. Return and report.

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raconteur March 18, 2009 at 3:51 am

Meh. Commentators aren’t news men, so I don’t mind them being blowhards, whether on the right or the left. As commentators I judge them on what they stand for, what they’re pushing for, and how much they can get done. Some of those guys are surprisingly effective at actually helping people.

But I don’t put them in an anchormen hall of shame because they’re not anchormen. Except in the case of Matthews and Olberman, who MSNBC keeps putting behind the desk to cover news events. That’s ridiculous. It’s one or the other. Not both. Most places respect that boundary.

I think there are a lot of anchormen, nowadays, who could go into an anchorman hall of shame, sadly. The news is a crumbling institution. That’s a bad thing, but hopefully something better will rise from the ashes.

2 Charlie on PA Tpk March 18, 2009 at 3:54 am

Your overall premise is fine, but you lose it in the details.

You have mixed commentators with newsmen. Commentators like Messrs. Hannity, Olbermann, O’Reilly, Matthews, Colbert, and Stewart should not be mentioned in the same breath as Messrs. Grimsby, Murrow, Sevareid, Smith and Schieffer. (I understand Ron Burgundy was just a throw-away for a laugh). They aren’t anchormen in the true sense.

Peter Jennings Walter Cronkite were true newsmen in their youth, but they lost a lot of their cred when their bias began to seep into their news. For example: few people would doubt Mr. Jennings dislike of President Bush and the GOP, and Mr. Cronkite lamented his inability to ‘set the agenda’ in the newsroom as recently as 2002. I had thought the anchorman’s job was to report news, not to ‘set an agenda’ (that’s the commentator’s job, right?). Arguably, these men had cred to spare, but it would be wrong to say their were non-biased.

Other newsmen that deserve their due:
Edward Newman
Morton Dean
Christopher Glenn
Ted Koppel

3 Craig March 18, 2009 at 4:21 am

I agree with Raconteur . Was about to add that same comment.

4 Scott March 18, 2009 at 4:35 am

I would have to agree with the above comments in regards to the confusion of anchormen and commentators.

But… since they have been thrown in the same list, I find it odd that Stewart would be considered “manly” while Colbert wouldn’t.

5 Helen March 18, 2009 at 5:07 am

Jon Stewart, Anderson Cooper and Ron Burgundy, manliest anchormen of all times..I don’t think so!!

6 Jack March 18, 2009 at 5:23 am

Anderson Cooper? Manly? I’m not getting it.

7 Brandon Harshe March 18, 2009 at 5:29 am

I don’t know about Jon Stewart or Anderson Cooper. I would also agree with Charlie about Jennings and Cronkite.

8 victor March 18, 2009 at 5:32 am

Out of all the Hall of Shame members, Steven Colbert should be given a pass, yes my favoritism is weighing in on this, but he just isn’t as bad as the other rotten apples you have there.

9 rob March 18, 2009 at 7:09 am

how could you forget tom brokaw as one of the greatest anchors of all time???

and how could you not put dan rather on the wall of shame?

10 Joe McLaughlin March 18, 2009 at 7:58 am

As noted, this article mixes commentators with actual journalists. If the line between the two can be drawn thicker and respected more, the actual news will be reported better.

Also, as much as I disagree with Colbert the man’s politics (as opposed to those of Colbert the character he plays) if you’re going to have a slot for either Colbert or Stewart, Colbert deserves it with no question. Colbert the man DOES attack his own side when they’re wrong. And doesn’t it take huevos grandes to stand up there every day and jokingly attack your own side and hope people pick up on the satire?

On the other hand, Stewart’s reputation as a bipartisan badass is wholly undeserved. Stewart’s show is primarily him showing a clip of a conservative that sounds stupid out of context, and showing it without context, and then giving a one line response, and waiting for the laugh that any mention of George Bush gets him. What does he do to be bipartisan?

If you’re not going to restrict the list to actual journalists, Colbert and Stewart should be switched.

11 Steve March 18, 2009 at 8:05 am

I’m pretty sure they mean Colbert the (fictional) character, not Colbert the person. And its actually a pretty good observation. Colbert (the character) talks a big game but doesn’t always back it up. Of course, he’s deliberately drawn that way.

As for Anderson Cooper, don’t let looks deceive. He may not look like you’d want him on your side in a bar fight, but he has walked the walk in his reporting, going to a lot of dangerous places in order to get a story.

12 Rob March 18, 2009 at 9:00 am

Dude, Colbert? Really? He’s brilliant! And manly. Should have made the manly list…replace Jon Stewart with Colbert.

13 Tommy T. March 18, 2009 at 9:06 am

What’s consistent in the comments so far is a distaste for the inclusion of commentators and satirists, as well as mention of heavyweights who were left off the list. I agree. I enjoy the articles at AoM very much and hope the publishers aren’t feeling pressure to provide content for the sake of filling up a page. That’s how we ended up with the confusion presented by this article.

The cream rises to the top, and with three networks, the best anchors were ubiquitous when real news broke. With dozens of channels today, anchor desks need to be filled and not always the finest are on display. This article (which is inconsistent due to the inclusion of buffoonery) would run well as a Maxim feature or in Details mag, but I don’t come here to read what can be readily found in so-called Men’s periodicals. Please try and do better next time.

Also, the literacy rate of Americans when it comes to current events is not furthered when the distinctions called for here are ignored. Jon Stewart himself lamented the notion that anyone would turn to him for their news, and Colbert is spoofing the commentators (that he spoke at the National Press Club just adds to that confusion). Bill Maher’s role could also be lumped in here. These guys are first and foremost, Comedians. I respect them as such, but how serious would Murrow or Cronkite have been if they played it for laughs. So again, please do better.

As for who to include in your updated list, don’t forget the late Tim Russert of Meet the Press. His books about his father “Big Russ” alone put him in the Pantheon of manhood.

14 Jon March 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

I have to disagree with you on Olberman. Yes, he can be a little bit of a blowhard, a bit loud. But he never failed to call bullshit on anyone who tried to pass it off on this country. He also co-opted Murrow’s signoff but in 20 years I think he will be remembered for calling out the hipocricy, lies and other fallacies that were thrown about the last eight years.


15 Chris March 18, 2009 at 9:59 am

As usual, your list of manliest men is an absolute joke. Judging by the comments, most other men who read this feel the same way. Categorizing Colbert, Jon Stewart, Olberman, Bob Schieffer(WTF???) as “manly” is as puzzling as it is absurd.

How many times have we ever seen this blog pay tribute to the common modern man in the trenches? The average fireman, policeman, construction worker, soldier, steelworker, truck driver? Never.

I know a lot of your articles are written by a very well intentioned woman, and it obviously shows. These silly posts now even more lead me to believe you know nothing about “manliness.”

I think this site should be renamed ‘The Art of Metrosexul Liberal Manliness’

16 Hayden Tompkins March 18, 2009 at 10:24 am

I think the inclusion of Jon Stewart was genius. I know folks want to make the distinction between “anchors” and “analysts” but this list is really more about truth telling and trust.

As for whether he is partisan, with the bulk of his show existing during the Bush Administration, it can look that way. But so far he’s been all over the Obama administration as well.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but I trust Jon Stewart over anyone on the Hall of Shame list.

17 Chris March 18, 2009 at 10:36 am

I noticed that you put mostly the right-wingers in the Shameful section. Mostly every anchorman has some sort of bias, not just the right winged people. It kind of pisses me off how your just putting our political views into something that is the difference between who is manly or not. If Colbert has some sort of bias, he can still be manly.

18 Xander March 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

I believe as well that Colbert the personality should be in limbo, as he is “macho” manly, but not actual manly.

I love his show because of the flamboyant hypocrisy, while still being straight faced enough to keep the act going. This is best seen during his “The Word” segment and during his interviews with elected officials. He’s very much a Trojan Horse of satire, where as Jon seems more disciplined strategist.

I wish the list was longer, but I’m very happy with the selections, even if it was missing a few others.

19 Kevin March 18, 2009 at 11:40 am

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley are my votes.

Colbert, O’Reilly, Hannity, Stewart? Really? Anchormen?

20 Jack March 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I’m going have to echo confusion about this article.

I know Ron Burgundy was in it for a laugh (and I did laugh), but I think it hurts the post overall. Joke or not, someone who is as clueless and chauvinistic should not be considered manly at all.

21 Hank March 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Please tell me you’re kidding with this? Jon Stewart? Ron Burgandy? Then you include news analysts as anchormen just to put them on a wall of shame. I realize it’s probably supposed to be tongue in cheek, but then you write it in a style that asks us as the reader to take these selections seriously..not likely. This should have been a comedy post not an attempt at some form of serious analysis.

22 The Maniliness Evangelist March 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

This entire post was complete GARBAGE. Not one of these people are men of character in any way shape or form. They are not examples of manhood. Worst Post ever.

23 Brad March 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Jon Stewart does some of the best television journalism available these days.

24 Bob K March 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I can’t take Anderson Cooper seriously. His name sounds like an accounting firm.

25 Bernie Franks March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Re: Joe McLaughlin’s comment, “On the other hand, Stewart’s reputation as a bipartisan badass is wholly undeserved. Stewart’s show is primarily him showing a clip of a conservative that sounds stupid out of context, and showing it without context, and then giving a one line response, and waiting for the laugh that any mention of George Bush gets him. What does he do to be bipartisan?”

Would comparing an Iraq speech of Obama’s to one of Bush’s with side-by-side video count? Or is comparing Obama to Bush too liberal?

26 Christopher March 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm

The first half is very fun. I enjoyed learning about the Anchormen of past generations.

I’m with Raconteur, Charlie on PA Tpk and others. If there weren’t enough real anchormen to actually have anchormen on the hall of shame, I’d be happier to see it skipped. Actually, why even list the hall of shame either way? I’d rather keep it positive, and just stick with the good anchormen we can hearken back to and learn from..

27 Justin H March 18, 2009 at 6:36 pm

This is the intro to the “Hall of Shame” portion…

“Today’s newsmen host “opinion news” programs and try to outdo each other in the amplitude of yelling, fluff, snark, sarcasm, hyperbolic accusations, and gimmickry.”

While this is the description of Jon Stewart, a supposedly manly anchor…

“Although mostly known as the wise-cracking, sarcastic anchor of the “fake news” show, The Daily Show, Stewart is one of the most ballsy men on television.”

I personally don’t understand how Stewart, by far the most sarcastic of the gentlemen listed, does not fall into the description for the Hall of Shame. I understand that he hosts a comedic show, but why does his sarcasm get a pass? Bill O’Reilly has no hesitation confronting his opponents, so shouldn’t he be placed on the same level as Stewart.

I recommend you stay away from posts such as this, that can be construed as biased and political. It is certainly not up to the standards of this site when you promote such double standards.

28 Justin H March 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm

This is the intro to the “Hall of Shame” portion…

“Today’s newsmen host “opinion news” programs and try to outdo each other in the amplitude of yelling, fluff, snark, sarcasm, hyperbolic accusations, and gimmickry.”

While this is the description of Jon Stewart, a supposedly manly anchor…

“Although mostly known as the wise-cracking, sarcastic anchor of the “fake news” show, The Daily Show, Stewart is one of the most ballsy men on television.”

I personally don’t understand how Stewart, by far the most sarcastic of the gentlemen listed, does not fall into the description for the Hall of Shame. I understand that he hosts a comedic show, but why does his sarcasm get a pass? Bill O’Reilly has no hesitation confronting his opponents, so shouldn’t he be placed on the same level as Stewart?

I recommend you stay away from posts such as this, as these posts can be construed as biased and political. It is certainly not up to the standards of this site when you promote such double standards.

29 Andy March 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

No glenn beck?

30 Chris March 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Hey you sports lovin beer swillin jackasses,

Colbert’s persona is all a joke. He is not a conservative. ITS A JOKE. Its his character, his schtick. He is an actor, playing the part on a made up show, on a comedy network, meant to make fun of real conservative talk shows.

Seriously, if you dont get that joke, your dumb & humorless. Plain and simple, your just dumb.

31 Ryan March 18, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I like the Jon Stewart choice, he’s got the guts to call out what’s wrong in America. However, Colbert should be up there with him, but I have a feeling the Colbert and Burgandy choices were just for kicks and giggles.

32 Tim March 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Regrettably, I must agree with many of the other commenters thus far. This article is not up to par with previous AoM work.

33 Greg Throne March 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Sorry, but manly anchors including a fictional character (Burgundy) and a comedian? This post unfortunately does a grave disservice by putting heavy-weight , serious newsmen from the era when broadcast journalism was working at being serious fact-based reporting with clearly labeled analysis (Remember the “White paper” documentaries of the 1960″s?) in the same venue as the current crop of light-weight commentators.

34 Drew March 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I liked your article, though i will slightly disagree with your pick of Stephen Colbert.

The Colbert Report, like its parent The Daily Show, has a parallel in terms of how it presents today’s headlines: satire, comedy, etc.

Though a lot of what is said and done on the CR is borderline ridiculous, one has to consider that Stephen Colbert is (in real life) a left-leaning person, which is completely opposite of who he portrays on the CR, a Republican (technically speaking anyway).

I will admit though the style is different between the CR and DS (myself preferring the DS), but that isn’t enough to warrant his place in the hall of shame.

35 Cory March 19, 2009 at 1:07 am

I think Brian Williams should be up there with the manly anchors. I think its manly that he’s trying to bring back “good news,” especially in this sensationalist era we live in. I’m tired of hearing about doom, gloom, and bottom feeding celebrities. Mr. Williams personifies exactly what this website is about. More importantly, his reporting is unbiased…a rarity in this day and age.

36 Dan March 19, 2009 at 3:53 am

You moron….. commentators are not anchormen. They are supposed to be partisan. You were right to put Olberman in the Hall of Shame because he is blatantly partisan while pretending to be a newsman. As for the others, they don’t pretend to be anything but what they are, and that is partisan commentators.

This post is probably the lamest one I have ever seen on AOM…. I know, everyday can’t be perfect, but pick it up tomorrow.

37 Jason March 19, 2009 at 4:03 am

Tom Brokaw!

38 Britt March 19, 2009 at 4:48 am

I will have to disagree with you on this one….The lack of Manliness is not what is killing news from traditional sources.

What is (in my opinion) killing news from traditional sources is the quite obvious lack of real Journalism. Todays news presenters, when they can take the time to talk about the news (How many times do you turn on the news to see 3 talking heads all chatting with one another, as if that is of interest?) are really Editorialists… They are not reporting the news, they are biased, one sided, only reporting what they want to tell you and then not reporting the facts but using that age old tool Rhetoric, to report in such a way as to try to bias the audience. They no longer trust us to look at the facts and make a conclusion, but try to force feed us one particular conclusion through the use of spin doctoring and biased reporting.

Journalism has died, there are only taling heads with fake tans and plastic surgery, and they are only reporting what they want us to hear, what they want us to think.

39 Jack McNiel March 19, 2009 at 7:02 am

Anchormen… manly…? Are you sure?

Colbert is a fool playing the fool to poke fun at the pundits and putting their folly on display… Plus he’s really funny. Alternatively, Jon Stewart is a really just a plain ol’ fool trying to be serious.

40 Benno Weigel March 19, 2009 at 8:10 am

To much Lefty BS for me….Time to unsubscibe….Good bye and Good Luck

41 Наталья March 19, 2009 at 8:28 am

Прикольный пост. интересно было почитать

42 Bill March 19, 2009 at 9:21 am

Do I agree with all of your selections? Not really, but I never agree completely with a number of your articles. I find some of your criticisms from people absurd though, about how all of a sudden this is liberal propaganda. How dare you criticize Bill O’Reilly?

43 Tim March 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I am usually pretty impressed with AoM articles, but not here. If you wish make the criteria for your “Anchorman Hall of Shame” to be people overwhelmingly expressing their opinions then you might as well put the entire MSNBC, CBS, CNN, and NBC networks on that list because they are an embarrassment to what they claim “reporting the news.” Not to mention Jon Stewart? Really? Not AoM’s finest hour.

44 Kurt March 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Assuming you take this article with a grain of salt, it is a very entertaining read. And that is what it was meant to be. And all of you hard-core republicans getting all upset about the author calling these guys on their obvious bias need to take a pill and relax.

Ever wonder why the UN ranks Norway, Sweden, and Canada the best countries in the world in which to live? Guess the left isn’t so bad afterall.

45 James March 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I’m confused. What is the difference between Hannity and Stewart? Both are commenters. And the rest are manly news men? These men supported sides without being questioned because the were all that was on. This article itself reeks of unprofessionalism. Ron Burgundy? What the hell?

AoM this is the worst article I have ever read on your sight. It does not promoted manliness. It promotes mediocrity and immature ideals.

46 James March 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Remember these? Perhaps you should filter articles based on principle. That’s what men would do.

47 Dave March 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I laughed not at this article because I think it’s drivel and just not good, but because of this comment:

“Seriously, if you dont get that joke, your dumb & humorless. Plain and simple, your just dumb.”

The guy is calling out people for being dumb, ye the cant even learn the difference between your and you’re. Oh i would have been fine if it was spelled “youre.” At least the letters would be correct. I can deal without perfect punctuation. I guess I should be thankful he didn’t use “ur.” We get the joke that Colbert is making. It’s just not that funny.

Now as for the article, it’s clearly biased. I didn’t think Stewart’s ambush of Jim Cramer was really good. Jon Liebowitz, yes that’s his real name, is just spewing the White House’s populist rhetoric. I really wouldn’t be shocked to find a fax from Bob Gates giving Stewart the talking points of the day. Anyone who watched Cramer knows he is a fool and completely irresponsible, so going after him like Rosie did Tom Selleck all those years ago is just lame. Everyone else hit the rest of the points I had

48 Patrick March 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm

I’m certain that the only reason Colbert and Stewart are on the list is in an attempt to get Colbert to respond to being called unmanly. Stephen has been known to do such things on his show, and hopefully this site has a high enough profile for him to take notice and maybe mention it in a show, possibly even listening to AoM’s suggestions.

Would be nice to get the site some more exposure, and would be funny to watch.

49 Joe March 19, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Don’t you know the difference between newsmen and commentators? How can it be a Hall of Shame without Dan Rather? This site has become a Hall of Shame on the Manliness chart. Where do I unsubscribe to this mess?

50 Yavor March 19, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Ron Burgundy is the manliest man, no doubt.

51 Gene March 20, 2009 at 5:26 am

This may not have been the best essay, but it does point out a real truth I see we have all picked up on — mainly that our news folks are more propaganda/spin artists than true journalist these days. I think most of the greats of the last 50 years – Cronkite, Rather, Jennings, etc. all started as classic journalists, but something changed them as time went on; maybe they believed their own hype?

I had great respect for Dan Rather as a young man – he went to great lengths to bring a story to us – I remember he cut his teeth reporting a hurricane while it was passing by. But I totally rejected him in the 1992 elections, when at 7:00 PM, the moment he went on the air reporting election night coverage he crowed :Clinton wins Georgia!” Good grief – people were still in line out here (yes, I live in Georgia).

And Jennings — I watched most of my 9/11 coverage with him that day – until I realized he didn’t like President Bush, and had begun a subtle smear of the man because he didn’t rush back to Washington, but diverted to other airbases. If you look back at his comments of that day you will note he just couldn’t get it in his mind that security for the President is an important thing.

TV journalism has sunk just as has the print media. Very sad, really.

52 Tom March 20, 2009 at 9:46 am

Kurt- Did you just link Canada with Norway and Sweden? Far from it my friend. If anything, our governing party is more like your Democratic Party… which is nothing like the Socialist governments of Norway and Sweden. Only pockets of Canada are rated high with the UN and that’s because we have less people up here so our major cities are smaller and more affordable than yours, it has nothing to do with left wing governments.

53 Logan March 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm

John Stewart on the list shakes the very foundation of this great blog.

54 Jim March 21, 2009 at 6:29 am

Brett & Kate McKay started off well and then went south with including Stewart. he is a commentator same as O’Rielly. Then they confused the issue by throwing in the rest of the commentators. they also missed a bunch of really good anchors… if they want “modern anchors” with guts and style, why not Brit Hume or even Charile Gibson?

Sorry to disapoint but Cooper is not manly. Metrosexual, maybe, but not manly.

I agree with others on this… Weak AoM, very weak not up to standard. Their next article should be “This just in… we lost fans on this one by vering left.”

55 Brett March 21, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Whoa… Just got back from my vacation and took a look at the comments. Yikes.

First, the accusations of this being leftist drivel makes no sense to me. In our Hall of Shame section we equally went after those on the left and on the right. I’m not sure how you could miss that. We tried very much to make the article quite even handed.

Second, this post was supposed to be fun. When we first started the site our goal was to mix in some fun stuff with our serious stuff. Lately, we’ve felt we’ve been on a more serious steak. So we wanted to do something less heavy, and thus included fake anchormen like Ron Burgundy and Stephen Colbert. Lighten up. Life’s too short for everything to be taken so seriously. I’m constantly surprised by AoM’s contingent of hard core curmudgeon readers, who think being a man should be about as fun as a root canal.

I also find the argument that this post was flawed because we apparently mixed news “commentators” with “new anchors,” rather hollow. “Anchorman” is a broad term; it simply means a man who anchors a news program-whether that program just delivers the news or comments on the news. Many of the old time anchors in the “manliest” list also occasionally engaged in opinion/commentary-which doesn’t negate their anchorman-ness. Giving one’s opinion or commentary isn’t a problem (which is why Stewart made the list)-it’s how you do it. While those in the Hall of Shame don’t fit the mold of past anchormen-that’s really the point-these are arguably the anchormen of today, and they’ve changed the delivery of news for the worse. The purpose of the Hall of Shame was therefore to show how news programs have gone downhill.

56 Kevin March 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

John Stewart’s interview of Jim Cramer has got to go down as one of the most significant interviews of this generation, if only because it took a goofy news show to expose the shady double-dealings on Wall Street. Where are our manly (real) newsmen to shed light on these financial shenanigans?

Stewart stepped up. Give him his props, people.

57 Jim March 22, 2009 at 5:55 am

“I’m constantly surprised by AoM’s contingent of hard core curmudgeon readers” wow, Brett, way to insult your readers. Nice.

58 Justin March 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm

@Brett: I’m just confused as to how Stewart, the most blatantly sarcastic of all (even if in jest), was in the “manly” section while sarcasm was listed as one of the negative characteristics in the Hall of Shame.

59 Brett March 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm


Stewart anchors a comedy program and as such, sarcasm is appropriate. The anchors in the Hall of Shame on the other hand purport to be doing a serious news show. Again, it’s true that their shows are a mix of news and commentary, but they advertise and label themselves as the best places to get the real news about what’s going on and as places to get the most fair and unbiased news. And they don’t deliver that. If they’re going to make such claims to seriousness, then they should carry themselves in a way that underscores their purpose. Stewart delivers an awful lot of snark, but he doesn’t pretend to be anything but a comedy program. I will admit that Stewart can get way too smug and snarky-to the point that I actually flip the channel sometimes to avoid it. But he is one of the few people in the media that actually calls politicians and other media types out on their BS, and so while he isn’t perfect (an none of the anchors listed were), on the whole he deserves some accolades.

60 Justin March 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm

@Brett: Fair enough. Either way, love the blog, keep up the good work.

61 Brett March 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm


Thanks. And thanks for couching you comments in a reasonable manner. Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.

62 Jack March 22, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Where’s Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey? Rush is especially versed in “the art of manliness.”

63 Charlie on PA Tpk March 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

The anchors in the Hall of Shame on the other hand purport to be doing a serious news show. Again, it’s true that their shows are a mix of news and commentary, but they advertise and label themselves as the best places to get the real news about what’s going on and as places to get the most fair and unbiased news.

Before I go further, I enjoy AoM, and am not suggesting I would stop reading it.

That said: you’re again blurring the lines between news and commentary. Sean Hannity (taken as your first example in Hall of Shame) never anchored a news broadcast. Bill O’Reilly hasn’t anchored a news broadcast on Fox News either (he may have on a prior network). They’re paid for their commentary.

Contrast that to Mssrs. Matthews & Olbermann who have anchored recent party conventions and other events. The respective networks of these commentators call themselves unbiased, but that clearly is meant to mean their news reporting, not in the commentary; one cannot often comment in an unbiased manner.

The fact remains: news alone doesn’t sell well on TV, not any longer at least. Case in point: remember when CNN’s Headline News was just that: 30 minutes of news, followed by another 30 mins, etc. 24 hrs a day?. Without commentary programs – mixed with a healthy dose of debate – the networks would probably pull lower ratings (again: O’Rielly will debate with people, Olbermann only has people who parrot his views; guess who wins in the ratings?). So long as their news programs are unbiased, that will keep them true to their slogans.

Giving one’s opinion or commentary isn’t a problem (which is why Stewart made the list)-it’s how you do it.

You’re right; back in the day, the true Anchormen gave their opinions with a chyron saying it was an editorial or an opinion (much like the Editorial page of a newspapers is distinct from the front page — or at least ought to be). Now, anchors drop subtle and not-so-subtle views into their copy (See Walter Cronkite on “setting the agenda”). If they took the time to editorialize in a proper fashion, I’d give them respect; otherwise, they blur their own lines and deserve none from me.

64 Jay Archibald March 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm

From north of the border, Canada-way, don’t forget Peter Mansbridge, who has been the voice of the nation and the CBC since May of 1988. Calm, cool, and professional, he carries the weight of the news with grace and dignity.

65 Brett March 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

“Sean Hannity (taken as your first example in Hall of Shame) never anchored a news broadcast. Bill O’Reilly hasn’t anchored a news broadcast on Fox News either (he may have on a prior network). They’re paid for their commentary.

Contrast that to Mssrs. Matthews & Olbermann who have anchored recent party conventions and other events. The respective networks of these commentators call themselves unbiased, but that clearly is meant to mean their news reporting, not in the commentary; one cannot often comment in an unbiased manner.”

I respectfully submit that you are again narrowly defining the term “anchorman” and “news broadcast,” and then criticizing the article based on this personal definition. Note that this article is not about the manliest “newsmen” or “news casters” or “new reporters.” It’s about anchormen. Anchormen anchor a program related to the news. If Hannity and O’Reilly don’t anchor a “news broadcast” than I’m not sure what they do. Yes they don’t just report the news, but their whole show is based on them commenting on the news. The shows are based entirely around the news and their take on the news-is that not a news broadcast? While it’s true that people still associate “anchormen” with the old nightly news broadcasts, there are a whole array of news shows these days that could clearly be said to be anchored by the hosts.

And it’s not just the networks that say they are unbiased, so it cannot be that they are simply referring to their news reporting and not these men’s commentary as you argue. O’Reilly boldly declares that his show is in the “No Spin Zone” and presents himself and his program as fair and balanced-as the most fair and balanced place to get the news. To say such things, but to clearly have a bias lands a anchorman in the Hall of Shame.

I understand that debate and commentary help these shows do well in the ratings and I honestly have no beef with having these things in a news-based program. But there can be debate and commentary that doesn’t involve yelling over guests and exuding an unmanly and unprofessional smugness and disdain for those who disagree with you.

At any rate, Charlie, while I disagree with your criticism, I do understand what you’re saying and respect that point of view, even if we don’t see eye to eye.

66 Shar March 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Stephen Colbert is more of a MAN! Than this website will ever BE! So he likes dungeons and dragons so do I. What is wrong with that, and lord of the rings too I love the movies, and I donot like to read either, but he reads the news everyday! And he is better than Jon Stewart more tonque and cheek than him that is just his character. Who knows who the real Stephen Colbert is? But to call him NOT MANLY I wag my finger at you.

67 Evan Mathews March 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Some of these guys are men and some are not. Remember, just because some of these guys are mentioned on the net in a blog does not make it so.

68 Robert Scott March 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Most honest person ever on TV, Mr. Hugh Downs. I will never forget Brokaw reporting election returns, and he said “When we take Iowa”, Old-marble mouth really bared his leftist feelings. Rather and Brokaw what a pair of fair-minded journalists.

69 Paul March 25, 2009 at 4:46 am

Big fan of the website, but I felt this article to be subpar.
I agree with the observations that commentators are not the same as anchors.
As well, Jon Stewart is a hack. Bill O’Reilly is often over the top, yet, but have you ever watched his show? He is not partisan – he is registered independent. The word you’re looking for is conservative.

70 ramirez March 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

“i stabbed a man in the heart with a trident.”

if THATS not what real journalism is all about, i don’t know what is.

71 fideli March 26, 2009 at 5:43 am

Wanted to suggest a couple manly Colbert moments: watch the 2006 Whitehouse correspondents dinner and the 60 minutes Colbert interview.

72 Jones March 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Here’s an interesting article comparing Jon Stewart and Edward R. Murrow:

73 NewsGuy March 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

…and they are all WHITE! (even the afke ones). What about Bernard Shaw of CNN (hunkered down in that hotel in Baghdad while the bombs were landing) or Max Robinson of ABC or Bryant Gumbel of NBC and HBO or Ed Bradley of CBS 60 Minutes (now he was the coolest anchor ever!)….

74 DC March 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

Major ommissions on this list include Paul Harvey, Ed Bradley, and the greatest voice ever: Bill Kurtis.

75 Magnus Ver Magnuson May 4, 2009 at 6:39 am

Pretty lame. If Anderson Cooper is a model of manliness I have some serious thinking to do.

76 Christatos May 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I met Mr. Murrow when I was a small boy in 1964 only a year before he died. It was an ugly sight, and only a year after he had an operation to have one lung removed. Weak and dying, I was only able to see him over the course of a single day because my father knew him from his days broadcasting during the Blitz, as my father had worked in British Intelligence or the British Army or something like that during the Blitz, and had become a smoking acquaintance of Murrow’s and was determined to see him before he died. Even then, when I was a boy, and as the man was dying, I knew he was a great man. The day he died was the only time in my entire life that I saw my father cry. All my childhood I had been raised with stories of Edward R Murrow, the great American, and the rest of my childhood those stories continued, and the impressions has remained. Edward R. Murrow was the model upon which other journalists should base their careers.

As for bias in this article, I think you are all being a little narrow minded. Refer back to the Murrow Boys and their contemporaries. What made these men great was not any pretensions to presenting the facts in a balanced sense, but telling the truth, speaking their opinions, and not hiding the fact. Each of these men is great for presenting the facts, telling you what they thing, and not hiding the fact that they are telling you their opinion. A poor newsman tells you he is fair. That is a lie. A great newsman tells you the truth. Each of these men did or does that. Where their opinion comes from, right or left is irrelevant. They tell you. You know what to filter. With the liars, you can’t be sure which direction to turn. I ask, before you attack, that you return to Murrow, and consider journalism and the historical roots of the craft and it’s original purpose on television.

77 Dan June 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

you want manly look no further than Dan Rather, he composed himself well while we were taking fire, he gets my bid.

78 marcel bradet November 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm


79 Johnny the Freemason December 3, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I agree with the entirety of the list with the exception of Steven Colbert. While unmanly he may be we must keep in mind, unlike the others on the unmanly schmuck list portion, Colbert is playing a character for the sake of humor. The others are merely caricatures of their respective puppeteers….. and just flippant dolts in general.

80 John Slade December 9, 2012 at 12:16 am

I agree with this list. Jon Stewart is authentic, funny, and ballsy. He consistently hits both sides equally as hard. I also like Anderson Cooper very much. No one knows very much about where the man stands lol. That’s the point of journalism. Also, I think it’s very manly to come out of the closet and be who you are. That takes courage.

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