42. MICHELLE MALKIN (93 on the 2007 list) Michelle Malkin; most influential conservatives

Blogger and author

Described by writer Lloyd Grove as “an agent provocateur of the hard right – blogger, newspaper columnist, Fox News contributor and, for the past six weeks, queen of the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list”. But while Grove detected “a certain grim, off-putting intensity”, Malkin’s many admirers love her for telling it how it is without any fear of being branded politically-incorrect or much, much worse. Just 39, she’s a long-time fixture on the conservative scene and few can match her prolific output. She reports too, having been embedded with US troops in Iraq and covering the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Her websites michellemalkin.com and HotAir.com drive huge amounts of traffic and she is an avid user of Twitter (she has nearly 40,000 followers). Her parents left the Philippines in 1970, just after she was born, and she attended Catholic school, intending to become a concert pianist before finding her true mission as a conservative writer and polemicist. An outspoken opponent of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and affirmative action, she attracts a degree of vitriol that is unusual even for a prominent female conservative. She has twice moved her family because of safety fears.