Gravitas is difficult to define, but you know it when you're seeing it. Defining characteristics: deep, orotund Midwestern broadcast voice; suggestive pauses and stresses on certain words and phrases, such as "terror", "patriotism", "homeland", and "national security"; a piercing gaze from a somewhat lowered head facing camera; a sidelong gaze that says, "America, you can trust me, you should trust me, and if you don't you're probably a liberal sympathizer to terrorists"; neatly cut dark hair, above-average height, and a rugged masculine jaw; and a name like Stone Phillips.
Deceased Canadian ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings is the only known post-Walter Cronkite mainstream media news personality who used gravitas for ethical purposes. His level of gravitas was the highest since that of Cronkite. No living anchor yet has surpassed it.
Some news anchorwomen possess gravitas, such as Linda Ellerbee, but they are often assumed lesbian or shrill and do not last long, despite their credentials and professionalism. American news anchorwomen are often offered perkiness as its substitute, and eagerly take it. Samantha Bee does not know this, being Canadian, and continues to promote a weird hybrid of the two, perkitas, on The Daily Show instead.
Personalities who possess "accidental gravitas":
Former First Lady Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
Former mayor Jerry Springer
U.S. District Attorney and Investigator Patrick Fitzgerald
ABC TV host Tom Bergeron
Gravitas developing rapidly:
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert
Ascending TV superhostess Meredith Vieira
Personalities with weak or undeveloped gravitas:
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Comedy Central star Jon Stewart
Comedy Central star Rob Corddry
Those who eerily possess none:
MSNBC news host Tucker Carlson
Perky TV hostess Kelly Ripa
Former Daily Show alumnus Mo Rocca