Jay Martini, sometime guest blogger for Fresh Talk and longtime tomato market expert, recently sent me an e-mail that joked that The Packer’s recent coverage of high tomato prices was sure to mark the end of the run-up in f.o.b. prices.

The Packer 'jinx' and other media news of note

Tom Karst
National Editor

He wrote: “Ohlemeier’s story about high tomato prices will be the death knell of the market, similar to the Iowa football team being on the cover of Sports Illustrated a couple weeks ago! (And you saw what happened to them!)”

If Doug’s coverage was destined to doom the tomato market, I kiddingly responded that the jinx effect may also humble the romaine market on the heels of Andy Nelson’s front page coverage of the $40-per-carton f.o.b.

In all seriousness, of course, it would be mere coincidence if the outlook-oriented coverage in The Packer corresponded with a reversal of fortunes more accurately linked to the unstoppable machinations of supply and demand.

There is no SI jinx or Packer whammy.

The power of the media, however, is derived from its users.

Even for the most powerful person in the world, the most incidental Web headline can sting and provoke a retort.

President Barack Obama sounded a little defensive in recent comments after a Drudge Report scoop that described him as “skinny as a rail” and questioned if Obama has experienced dramatic weight loss since taking office.

From The Daily Mail:

“Under the headline ‘Barack n Bones,’ the report claimed that the president’s exercise regime — including basketball games — is behind the ‘dramatic weight loss.’”

The source quoted by the report insisted that  Obama was working nonstop — and that he was not chain-smoking.

However, today Obama said that while he is indeed going gray, reports that he is skipping meals and shedding pounds are untrue.”

Obama’s mantra “I am not skinny” may play better than President Nixon’s “I am not a crook” but still reveals him to be too media-sensitive.

So what if California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once ridiculed Obama’s skinny legs and promised to make him do squats?

The Daily Mail continues:

“Obama is often pictured playing basketball or returning from the gym with aides, while Mrs. Obama’s infamous vegetable garden in the grounds of the White House promotes healthy eating on top of exercise.

“The first lady’s gym-toned arms have also been the topic of much discussion.”

Mr. and Mrs. President, I’m with you on this one. If healthy living is wrong, you don’t want to be right.

It’s enough that commentators pick apart the health care bill, but it quite another when they go after the “infamous” vegetable garden, pickup basketball games and gym-toned arms.

Let them take their ill-aimed potshots. You don’t need to gain weight or to abandon the “infamous” vegetable garden. You just need thicker skin.

———

It will soon be time to sit down to another Thanksgiving dinner, and I still haven’t put up any Christmas lights.

For those like me who carry the dread of tasks we should not have put off into the Turkey Day feast, it will at least be good to know that the cost of the Thanksgiving dinner is down 4% this year.

Although I don’t think apples were in the Farm Bureau market basket for the Thanksgiving meal, it is worth noting that the U.S. average retail price of red delicious apples has also come down sharply in recent weeks, from $1.21 in September to $1.13 per pound in October.

While many in the apple industry believed the f.o.b. market was priced too high last year relative to the eventual crop size, it may seem this year’s psychology may be the reverse.

Washington shippers may be wondering if f.o.b. prices are too low, considering strong movement and manageable inventories of fruit on hand. Sounds like the makings of a double-reverse whammy Packer story on the apple market. 

E-mail tkarst@thepacker.com

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