Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Not Quite Yet

I confess that I do not like Oprah Winfrey. I have never liked her, don't like her, and probably never will like her. 

Winfrey, or "Oprah" as an adoring media calls her, has never seemed to embody principle or a firm set of values. Money and image appear to be her guiding principles. There is no clear ideological reason that (as the video below reminds us) she endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. The dirty little secret (for which the elite would substitute "wonderful" for "dirty") is that she yearned for a President who would "make history," whatever benefit or harm he would bring to the country.

I posted yesterday two excellent tweets. Today, I reverse that and post tweets from one clueless, and one almost clueless, individual about arguably the most popular American celebrity of the past decades.

"Oprah" is more than a "dialogue starter." As of 2021, she was considered the fourth most admired woman in the world. Reportedly worth approximately $2.6 billion, Winfrey is held in such esteem that the Smithsonian museum in 2018 dedicated to her an exhibition entitled "Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture." With such great influence and wealth comes great responsibility.

Winfrey did indeed launch the media career of Dr. Mehta Oz, who thereby became simply the far more marketable "Dr. Oz." She chose to promote his career despite the widespread belief in medical circles that Oz  stood upon a platform of quackery (video below from 12/21).  Winfrey promoted Dr. Oz- and his growing popularity in turn contributed to Oprah's own phenomenal success.  She commands a microphone more than almost anyone in this country, and if she were to choose publicly to deny responsibility for Dr. Oz' rise, she has every opportunity to do so.

Nonetheless, there was no reason heretofore for Ms. Winfrey to "campaign relentlessly against Oz."  Mehta Oz was running in a primary, not a general election.  If Winfrey had spoken out against Oz, she would have been aiding the candidacy of either David McCormick, a far-right hedge fund executive, or Kathy Barnette, apparently a far-right participant in the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2020. Though Oz would be a terrible US Senator, there is scant evidence that either of the other two wouldn't be at least as dangerous.

As of this writing, the race is sufficiently close that a recount is likely. If Oz does not prevail, Winfrey's silence will prove to have been irrelevant. If Oz does prevail, there is plenty of time for Ms. Winfrey to explain not only that Oz would not be a wise choice in November but that his opponent, John Fetterman, is far more dedicated to the democratic process and to the values of a free people.  

Patience, patience.  Tweeter Thrasher recognizes that powerful people should speak out against injustice, particularly when the individual (albeit lacking prescience) indirectly helped bring it about. But if there is a time for everything, the time for Oprah Winfrey to criticize Dr. Mehta Oa was not during a primary race but during a general election contest. It would be an invaluable part of her legacy.


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