Who Is Betty White’s Publicist?

As you probably already know, Betty White will be hosting the May 8th episode of Saturday Night Live. An on-air promo has already been broadcast. Now, Ms. White is hosting in the wake of a surprising grassroots Internet movement to get Betty White, a 103-year-old woman, as the host of Saturday Night Live, a grassroots movement that has now apparently succeeded in its original goal, but had already greatly increased Betty White’s visibility and gotten her placement in a Super Bowl commercial, as well as a cameo on the relaunch of the new The Jay Leno Show. It is another triumph for new media in its attempt to wield the power of ordinary people to affect populist change.


When Betty White came up in conversation this weekend, as she does, a friend of mine asked: who is her publicist? This was the first time I had heard this question! This friend had been to the 2009 Emmy Awards (that’s right, I have a friend who went to the Emmy Awards one time. JEALOUS?) long before the Internet’s “grassroots” campaigning had begun, and she saw the paparazzi have a feeding frenzy over Betty White. Which you have to admit is odd, and at the time was even more odd because Betty White had not yet become the subject of so much unexpected fan support or been in a Snickers commercial or anything. Obviously, I am not claiming to have any inside information on this, but as I have mentioned in the past, the Betty White thing has always struck me as incredibly odd even by Internet standards. Like, what? Why her? Why now? But the idea that it could be the secret anti-populist manipulation of the Hollywood publicity machine seems entirely reasonable and believable as an explanation. It’s just an interesting question that my friend posed and that I am now posing.

Also, it is just fun to make up scandals and pretend like they are important!