Why all the ranking?

Have you noticed how the media insists on ranking everything?  Are they responding to a public interes or to their own?  Or some combination.
Must we rank colleges, for example? There is a difference between transparency, and even “comparing” versus ranking and the difference is fundamental.  The vey idea of “the best” involves risks, above all in a democracy where we are trying to honor, not rank, differences.
Ever since my daughter chided me on warm summer day for leaping into my pond and shouting out, “This is the best pond in the world,” I have been getting more cautious.  I now shout it only when I’m alone.