UPDATE: This. /update
The listification of American journalism didn't begin with the Forbes 400, but I think we accelerated the process. Once Forbes began turning out magazines the size of a small-city phone book, we quickly got orders to publish more and more lists, until even junior staffers were saying to each other that the quality of our product was suffering as a result.
We had no clue what was coming.
Lists are huge on the net, in some part because the medium lends itself to quick hits, but also because publishers can sell each click to the next item as another page view. And JR and Jeff are right, most of the wrap-ups and predictions are pretty stupid.
Worse, it's easy to assume that every feature presented in that form -- even those that involve actual reporting -- is guilty of the same sins.
Also, the David Letterman Top Ten frequently was funny in the '80s, kids.