November 15, 2010
Dear Marketplace Friend,
Talk about stark contrast: if you’re in the magazine business – competing for the newsstand shopper who is visually stimulated – you’re pretty careful about whom you put on the front cover. Blonde starlets are Choice #1, it seems. Wait: what’s the big guy with the big open mouth doing on that cover?
On the cover of Newsweek, it’s Rush Limbaugh. The cover story is “The Power 50.” The exposé inside explores the question of America’s most influential players on the political field.
They used a strange criterion to form a list that begins with Limbaugh and ends with #50, David Axelrod. In between the top and bottom are names like Glenn Beck (#2) and Sarah Palin (#6); Bill Clinton (#8) and George W. Bush (#18); Karl Rove (#35) and Dick Cheney (#32). The measuring stick, oddly enough, was their most recent annual earnings. Rush pegged $58.7 to be first; Sarah Palin is slotted at $14 million, while President Obama occupies #20 with $4 million (book sales, not salary).
It causes me to step back and ask an unpopular question: is influence really measured in income? Have we come to