The most trusted man in America?

LBJ famously said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.”

Who have the Democrats and President Obama lost?

Howard Stern

and Mad Magazine. The latter was via Instapundit.

The source of the second observation is interesting, because Cronkite was characterized as “… the most trusted man in America.” Despite a Time magazine poll showing that Jon Stewart the most trusted man in America, I’d argue that, in fact, Instapundit – Glenn Reynolds – is now the most trusted man in America.

Why do I say this?

Have you ever checked his Sitemeter stats? Currently Instapundit averages over 420,000 visits a day. (I realize that many of those are repeat visitors.) Then you look at the time spent on the site and now it rounds down to 0.00 seconds per visit. Most people visit Instapundit to tell them where to go and they go there right away. Instapundit’s readers trust him.

He knows what an awful lot of people find interesting. And they keep coming back, according to Sitemeter, in ever greater numbers.

What is Instapundit’s secret? I don’t know for sure.

While he clearly has deeply held views he doesn’t hit people over the head with them. Even his more pointed comments are usually found between two slices of wry.

Clearly part of his appeal is instinctive; he’s plugged into the pop and political culture of the time.

He also does it with often ironic  key words and phrases (e.g. “Heh,” “Faster Please,” “They told me that if I voted for McCain …,” “We’re in the best of hands”)

For the most part too, he takes Polonius’s advice to heart that “…brevity is the soul of wit.”

Of course our culture isn’t as homogenous as it was 40 years ago, so I can’t believe that Prof. Reynolds could ever wield the sort of influence that Cronkite did. He still is a bellwether of public sentiment.

Nowadays any0ne can be a pundit. (For heavens sake I’m a pundit!)  But no one does it as well or instantly as Glenn Reynolds.