The Emcee asks how Oprah gets away with all the cases of malignant neglect and malfeasance she’s been involved in. I think that’s a fair question. Most media stars that fuck up to this degree would have to answer some tough questions. At the very least, for almost every public celebrity not named Oprah Winfrey, there would have to be an acknowledgement that these things happened on his or her watch. The person would have to take very visible and very definitive steps to correct the problem. How come the O gets to skate through all her issues?Shamus' good words, of course, are "wacky", "bullshit", "scandals" and "snake oil merchant". Agreeing with me is just gravy.
I think a big reason why people don’t question this wacky broad is that too many folks need her. If you’re an author, having Winfrey give your book her stamp of approval means a serious bump in sales. If you’re in television or film, a sit-down with Oprah gives your project an automatic boost in prestige. In other words, the folks that should be doing the investigations into Oprah’s various scams and failures have a very strong incentive to look the other way.
It will be very interesting to watch what happens after the lights go out on Oprah’s daily television show. My guess is that without the massive ratings generated by her show, Winfrey will start to lose the power she has to control her own narrative. The Oprah Winfrey Network looks like a slightly glossier Lifetime TV retread. Nobody is going to care if they don’t get interviewed by Gayle King on whatever rinky-dink ten-viewer gabfest Oprah throws her way. Why? Because unlike with the syndicated Oprah program, nothing on OWN is going to pull massive ratings. After the Oprah Winfrey Show goes off the air, it will become more and more safe for people to start pointing out just how lame Oprah really is.
Don’t get me wrong. Oprah will still have a lot of influence on the culture. She is always going to sell people solutions to problems they didn’t even know they had. She will continue to spin her non-judgemental/it’s not your fault/sob story/faux-empowerment bullshit out to masses of watchers, readers and listeners. Most importantly, she will remain a prototypical soft-hearted soft-headed lefty, which will endear her to many in the MSM for years to come.
What is going to change is the kid glove treatment she’s been receiving for so long. Without those ratings to hold over people’s heads, the fear of pissing Oprah off will start to fade. When that happens, the gauzy secular saint persona she’s spent years fashioning is going to crumble and a truer picture of this woman will emerge. While there will be many Winfrey sycophants who will dismiss the inevitable scandals and embarrassments, a substantial portion of her audience might not like the unvarnished Oprah that comes out. Some of Winfrey’s former supporters might realize just how much they’ve been played for fools by this modern day snake oil merchant.
Check him out at Blog de King Shamus. He's really good.
(You can find out more about what Oprah's been up to by clicking her tag, below.)