Farm Progress

Oprah, Justin Bieber, Sarah Palin: OK, Google, need I say more?

Hembree Brandon 1, Editorial Director

February 18, 2011

3 Min Read


Oprah Winfrey is not who this column is about. Although born in the Land of Cotton (Kosciusko, Miss.), zillionaire Oprah, with a Chicago penthouse and a Santa Barbara estate, is long removed from anything agriculture. (Well, yeah, there was that little contretemps in Texas a few years back when she bad-mouthed beef and ended up in a courtroom in, I kid you not, a “food defamation” lawsuit.)

Nor is it about Justin Bieber (if you have to ask, you don’t have under-17 daughters/granddaughters). (OK, in the event you’ve been wandering the outer reaches of the galaxy, this insight: he’s an almost-17-year-old Canadian-born singer who’s the latest heartthrob of the grade school/teenybopper set).

It’s not about Barack Obama, either, who depending on which constituency one supports, may or may not be president illegally, or wife Michelle Obama, on a mission to replace our Big Macs, supersized fries, and Cokes with broccoli, celery, and tofu. Yummmm!

Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, and assorted other TV shouters, comics, and commentators — ain’t about them either. Or Archie Manning, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, or any Manning gridiron megastars yet to be born. Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, ummm, no.

And while I could, I suppose, ponder the thought processes behind the TV networks spending big bucks to send evening news anchors Brian Williams and Katie Couric to Cairo, Egypt, to become instant experts on the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations there, when they had far more knowledgeable people already in the trenches, I won’t bother, since evening news shows have become little more than a mish-mash of show biz fluff pieces and promos for other network programs, so who cares anyhow? (Would it be snarky to note that when the going got tough and demonstrators started roughing up foreign media, Brian and Katie beat a hasty retreat to their New York studios?).

Lessee, who’s missing in this pantheon of beautiful/famous/infamous names currently “hot” or “trending”? Oh, Sarah Palin/a.k.a. Caribou Barbie. Mustn’t forget her, although I won’t name the long list of other presidential wannabes — in that cadre, Ms. P. is Top Dog (in her own mind at least, though a straw poll at a recent bigtime gathering of Republicans put her dead last).

If you’ve persevered this far, this little exercise borrows a trick from an earlier era of publishing, when writers and editors would look for ways, however far-fetched, to work a celebrity name into a story in order to sell more newspapers or magazines.

Today, with the world at our fingertips electronically, all the media genuflect at the throne of The Great God Google. Whether politics, show biz, sports, or yeah, even agriculture, everybody in the writing biz tries for key words/names that will grab the attention of Google’s search bots and generate more “hits” on their websites.

Not that I would ever resort to such tactics.

Oh, did I mention Prince Harry and Kate Middleton?

About the Author(s)

Hembree Brandon 1

Editorial Director, Farm Press

Hembree Brandon, editorial director, grew up in Mississippi and worked in public relations and edited weekly newspapers before joining Farm Press in 1973. He has served in various editorial positions with the Farm Press publications, in addition to writing about political, legislative, environmental, and regulatory issues.

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