TV host Jon Stewart named most influential man of 2010

Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:52pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Talk show host Jon Stewart was crowned the most influential man of 2010 on Tuesday, heading a list of 49 men who all swayed public opinion and were described as rule-breakers to some degree in a time of recession.

Stewart, who will host President Barack Obama on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" this week before holding a "Rally to Restore Sanity" at the weekend, claimed the No. 1 spot in an annual survey of about 500,000 readers of AskMen (, a men's lifestyle website.

He was followed by Microsoft's Bill Gates while Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social networking site Facebook, came in third place. Apple co-founder and chief executive officer Steve Jobs came fourth.

"We noticed the rule-breaking trend because it spans a lot of industries," James Bassil, editor-in-chief of AskMen, told Reuters.

He said this extended to people like musician Kanye West who ranked fifth, and actor James Franco at seventh, who proved he was more than just a movie star by enrolling in graduate programs and writing a book.

Number 48 on the list was Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who stormed off his job with some profanities and a dramatic exit down an inflated emergency chute, winning widespread admiration.

This month Slater, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal mischief and was ordered to undergo a year-long mental health program and receive alcohol and substance abuse counseling.

"In the list last year we were looking more at guys who were players in the industry or were perceived as players, like (U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman) Ben Bernanke," said Bassil.

"Guys are open to the idea of rejecting the status quo in some ways. They've kind of come to more admire these dudes who took it upon themselves to break out on their own and discover success on their own terms."   Continued...

<p>Jon Stewart holds the awards he won for best writing for a variety, musical or comedy show and for best variety, music or comedy series for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 20, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>