Forbes' O! No! List

Forbes makes a rather questionable decision

By Robert A. George
|  Saturday, Jun 6, 2009  |  Updated 8:08 AM CDT
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The Week That Was: Angie on Top; Obama in Egypt

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Oprah Winfrey receives honorary doctor of humane letters degree before her commencement speech at Duke University on May 10. Yet, Forbes dropped her to No. 2 on its "Celebrity 100" list?

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Oprah has a right to be ticked off.

She makes $275 million a year (the most of any entertainer). She's guaranteed of appearing on at least one magazine cover per month (albeit her own). She's got her own satellite cable network -- and is working on cable station of her own. So, she gets knocked down to No. 2 on Forbes' "Celebrity 100"?  What the heck? 

She "loses" out to Angelina Jolie who, Forbes says, "has always been able to attract tabloid attention and Oscar nods, but this year, she's finally figured out a way to make serious money."  Serious money? The magazine calculates her pay at $27 million -- Oprah makes nearly 10 times that much!   Forbes is a business magazine, right?  Even if you accept Forbes' view that Oprah's viewership has slid, she's still the No. 1 talk show by far.

Are we talking altruism? Yes, Jolie has a UN ambassador position, but Oprah has founded schools in Africa

Oh, wait, let's not forgot one small thing: In 2008, the notoriously cautious, apolitical mega-star steps out of her comfort zone and decides to endorse a political candidate for the first timeBarack Obama. Hmmm....how did that work out?  

Not only did Obama win -- he ends up as Forbes' No. 49 celebrity (the magazine rewards him for his book sales -- and web hits)!!  Once again, Oprah Winfrey managed to help elect Barack Obama who -- it has been reported -- is the nation's first black president.

And who did Jolie manage to drag onto the celebrity list?  (Brad doesn't count.)  Exactly how does Forbes justify this? Was the list fixed after all of Jolie's kids voted for mom?  Who did the tabulating -- AIG accountants? 

As if the public didn't need more reason to be skeptical about the great "wisdom" of the capitalist geniuses.  The lesson from this choice -- a mother of six who makes one-tenth that of a one-woman mega-corporation is "worth" more? That might be a nice message for the "traditional values" folks, but for a business magazine? 

Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.

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