Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oprah Winfrey -- Bad Businesswoman

I have never been a fan of Oprah's iconic talk show, or her magazine. In fact, I don't think I've ever watched more than a snippet or two of her talkfests, since they began airing in 1987 -- too much "feeling" and not enough "fact" for my taste. It's not that I dislike her personally; she seems like a very nice person with a sharp business sense and genuine likeability. And it doesn't hurt that like Oprah, I've also struggled to maintain an optimal weight for good health and self-confidence.

However, the fawning adulation of the most famous talk show host in America by members of my sex has disgusted me for quite some time now. When otherwise intelligent women breathlessly declare that they bought a certain book, viewed a particular movie or even started a specific diet for the sole reason of Oprah's endorsement (as opposed to their own research), it sends a chill down my spine. Long before the cult of Obama came along, there was the cult of Oprah. And then there's the insidious matter (as uncovered by Debbie Schlussel) of the original O's unabashed support for Israel- and America-hating Palestinians.

But the emergence of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket, combined with Oprah's poor business decision might have finally awakened her audience from its collective stupor. No, I am definitely not a proponent of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, nor do I believe Oprah has an obligation to interview Sarah Palin on her show. It is after all, her program. I am, however, puzzled that a woman who's achieved as much as Oprah thanks to sheer guts and determination would dig in her heels when clearly, her mostly female, mostly white audience is not only clamoring for such an event, but becoming increasingly outraged by Oprah's hypocrisy and stubborness.

Below are just a few of the viewer comments currently posted on her website:

Well, I am not surprised. As someone who HAD enjoyed everything Oprah for years I had become very disappointed in some of her decisions on the political front and this one is not exception.
You have Obama on not once but TWICE during this current race, openly campaigned for him on your show and we now have another "historical" candidate in this race and for this one you REFUSE to have HER on!
How very disappointing, how sexist, how very partisan and political on your part!
I sure hope you and your staff change your mind but I won't hold my breath.
All this decision does is reinforce my decision from a year or so ago to..
1) stop watching your show
2) stop "drinking the Oprah kool-aid" on all things in the world
3) stopped reading my Oprah magazine and when it was time to renew a year ago I did not. Each and every time I get a renewal form for it in the mail I not only not renew, I write a letter and give the exact reasons why I will NEVER renew the magazine!!!
How dissapointing you would choose YOUR personal political views on this race and YOUR candidate and not on this race as a whole....

"I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates." Is this a correct statement? I took it from your above statement. So if this is the case, why did you have Barack and Michelle on your show? Please don't say it was before he announced that he would run for President because I am sure that he had already made that decision. Just because he did not announce it to the public does not mean that he wasn't on that road. I am just disgusted at your statement. You most certainly used your show to platform the Obama's. Who do you think you are fooling? Nice Oprah. Way to be honest with your viewers.

This Obama-love thing is even more serious than I thought. Hey Oprah, remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks' careers when they disobeyed the most basic rule of entertainment -- "know your audience?" I'm really disappointed: If nothing else, I thought you at least had formidable business acumen. Your audience is speaking; you might want to listen before your empire takes a serious financial downturn. And not even your messiah can save you from that.

UPDATE: Oprah the Anti-Christ(ian)?

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