A liberal talking head and media critic, Alterman is widely seen as one of the most insufferable members of America's chattering class.
Scarsdale native Alterman spent his twenties freelancing for lefty magazines like Harper's, The Nation, and Mother Jones. He headed back to grad school for a PhD in history and, while stalling on his dissertation, wrote his first book, Sound and Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy, which was published in 1992. He joined the punditocracy himself in 1995, signing on with MSNBC as a commentator and launching an early blog, Altercation, for the channel's website in 2002. MSNBC sent him packing in 2006, but he's since found a homes with Media Matters for America, The Nation, and the liberal Center for American Progress. In addition to internet presence, Alterman's best-known book is the 2003 bestseller What Liberal Media.
Alterman doesn't exactly endear himself to his peers. During an interview with an Observer reporter at media hotspot Michael's, he said he liked his lunches "expensive" and proceeded to order the most extravagant items on the menu, including foie gras and Kobe beef. (He also classily offered up this gem: "Another thing I do that liberals don't do is, I admire the beauty of waitresses.") A former intern told the Village Voice: "He is incredibly rude and arrogant. He constantly wants to remind you that he's Eric Alterman, that he knows a lot of important people, and that you're a lowly intern." [Image via Getty]