“The Great Mentioner” describes the phenomenon whereby certain people are “mentioned” to journalists as possible candidates for higher office.
It suggests that being mentioned or talked about in a positive way can help a person or idea gain more attention and credibility, and can ultimately lead to success. It’s a key part of the invisible primary.
The term also suggests the media and political commentators have the power to create or influence public perceptions about potential presidential candidates.
In this context, the Great Mentioner can be seen as a key shaper of the political landscape and the early stages of a presidential campaign.
As Scott Simon of National Public Radio explained:
The late Art Buchwald used to talk about the Great Mentioner — some unnamed person who told pundits and reporters a lot of people say this, a lot of people say that.
Art said that if you trace back exactly who said this and that, it was usually just the reporters and analysts themselves that tried to splash a coat of credibility over sheer speculation by putting it in the mouth of the Great Mentioner.
Ryan Lizza attributes the term to New York Times columnist Russell Baker who used it “to describe the mysterious source who plucks politicians from obscurity and mentions them to political journalists as contenders for higher office.”
The term caught on and has since been used in political campaigns and media to refer to the power of being mentioned or talked about in the press or public discourse.
Examples of “The Great Mentioner” in a sentence
- The Great Mentioner has been giving a lot of attention to candidate Smith’s campaign, which has helped boost her popularity in the polls.
- Many people believe that being mentioned by The Great Mentioner is crucial for success in politics, as it can help attract more donors and voters.
- Some say that The Great Mentioner has too much power in shaping public opinion, as it can amplify certain voices and ideas while ignoring others.