9. Jim Hoft « The Washington Independent
No conservative blogger gave liberals more heartburn in 2009 than Hoft, whether or not they realized it. Based in St.Louis — “the heart of America” — Hoft launched his Gateway Pundit site in 2004 and turned it into a constantly churning hub of the conservative blogosphere. It wasn’t until this year, however, that Hoft began collecting liberal scalps. When then-White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones came under right-wing fire for his attacks on Republicans, Hoft discovered a 2002 petition, signed by Jones, calling for a new investigation into 9/11. The news quickly brought Jones down. Many liberals pinned the blame on Glenn Beck, who catapulted Hoft’s scoop into the mainstream conversation. Hoft, however, deserved credit as the leading example of a web-savvy amateur who leveraged the conservative media to cover stories that hurt liberals. In October, Hoft made the move to the conservative Catholic magazine *First Things *and blogged for Big Government (see #3), where he and other conservative bloggers campaigned for the removal of “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings.