If Not Cronkite, Whom? A Few Notables Weigh In on Whom (or What) They Trust.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We asked a few people to suggest public figures who meet the Cronkite standard of trustworthiness. Herewith, their nominees -- and we invite contributions on washingtonpost.com/style:

Oprah Winfrey, "because she has been so open and so transparent about her own life, and so welcoming to a range of Americans, inviting them to be no less open about theirs." -- Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian's

National Museum of African Art.

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor and banking oversight czar, "because she's been telling the truth to the American people since the beginning, with passion, steadfastness and a clear sense of history and what is at stake."

-- Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post.

"I trust Barack Obama -- he has incredible attributes and gifts -- but does the system he operates in allow him to bring all of that to bear? I don't think so."

-- Liz Lerman, founder of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Warren Buffett "is smart. He's unafraid. He doesn't need favors or help from anyone. And his calls are pretty smart."

-- Ben Stein, economist and actor.

"Tony Kushner, because he can take some truth about America and expose it in a very clear mirror." -- Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet.

The Everyperson. "In a way it's not one or two figures any longer, it's believing in a group consensus. The Internet blogger has become as opinionated and as strong a voice as the reviewer from the New York Times. And people trust the people around them perhaps even more than a single figure like a president or journalist." -- Neil LaBute, playwright and film director.

"I guess Anderson Cooper would be my answer, because he always has that slight bit of cynicism when it's deserved. . . . I always said there are only two reasons to have television: war and pornography. So I guess if it's war, I'd look at him. And I guess if I had to look at any newscaster in a porno film, I'd pick him." -- John Waters, filmmaker.

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