N’Oprah…that is… NO to Oprah.
The January 11th Guardian announced boldly that none other than Steven Spielberg has come out for Oprah for president, a sure sign that he is approaching his dotage and ought to confine his remaining activities to something he does know about, film making. According to the article he says, “I think Oprah Winfrey would make an absolutely brilliant president. If she declares, I will back her.” Just what he will be backing other than her celebrity is unknown.
Briahna Joy Gray also wrote in the Guardian, “But the enthusiasm around the mere specter of Oprah’s presidency reveals an uncomfortable truth about the hypocrisy of Democrats: all the talk of competency during the 2016 presidential election, qualifications, be they ideological or political, are mere pretexts for their choice of candidate.” As if to respond to Spielberg, Gray continues, “But given that Oprah’s political identity is largely a blank slate, (with some questionable blemishes that bear some inquiry), anyone who pretends to know she’s “qualified” based on her public persona alone is all talk, no show.”
Few may remember an early foray into what Oprah regards as foreign policy. Meet Oprah, the “Iraq hawk nonpareil” and war propagandist, in 2002. Fedwa Wazwaz reported, “On Oct. 9, TV personality Oprah Winfrey used her program to market the war. Winfrey ran video clips in a sound-bite manner by “experts” as a “moral” obligation to rid the world of Saddam Hussein.” Wazwaz continued, “So what conclusion did Oprah’s audience reach when certain facts were missing from her program? Pro-war. Understanding any subject cannot be achieved by passively watching emotionally manipulative propaganda programs. We must question, analyze and verify the information. Are these sources biased? Are these “experts” using “the facts” to attain a political, religious or hidden agenda? Furthermore, what are the opposing arguments? And more importantly, what are the consequences to us and others?”
At Wall Street on Parade Pam and Russ Martens wrote, “It’s time for Americans to get deadly serious about whom they put in charge of the U.S. economy, the U.S. financial system, the skyrocketing U.S. national debt and unprecedented wealth inequality — not to mention those nuclear buttons being joked about on Twitter by the President of the United States.” And they quoted Mehdi Hasan in his Intercept piece Oprah Winfrey for President: Have We All Gone Bonkers?, “Another clueless celebrity in possession of the nuclear codes? Another billionaire mogul who doesn’t like paying taxes in charge of the economy? And how would it be anything other than sheer hypocrisy for Democrats to offer an unqualified, inexperienced presidential candidate to the American electorate in 2020, given all that they said about Trump in 2016?”
“We prefer market-driven celebrities who thrive on glitzy spectacles and seductive brands over moral-driven exemplars who strive on with their gritty convictions and stouthearted causes.” This from Cornel West in his opinion piece in the January 14th issue of the Guardian, America is spiritually bankrupt. We must fight back together. He was not specifically speaking of neoliberal Oprah but the message is clear. Do we want another of what West calls the neoliberal Obama, a “black smiling face of the American empire”?
In my mind, the very fact that Oprah has not already stopped this ridiculous charade is proof enough of her inability to exercise good judgment. Only she can shut down this folderol, but does she have the good sense to do so? Probably not.
Oprah is an unadulterated self-promoter with about as much depth as a puddle in Death Valley. In the late 1970s she was still an unknown but amiable dunce (rather than a famous one) in Baltimore with a local show called People Are Talking. Her lapdog then was Richard Sher, who ostensibly co-hosted the show, but it was clear Oprah was the boss. She did not bother to take Richard with her on her trek to billionaire-hood. Maybe Sher was the smarter one after all. Instead, Oprah promoted the duplicitous Dr. Oz and that smarmy, snake oil salesman, Dr. Phil.
In the late 1970s, I accompanied my friend and men’s activist Fred Hayward to Oprah’s Baltimore show on the day he was being featured in a rather substantial segment. Oprah was pleasant when she came to speak to us in the green room; I remained there while Fred went on the air. Here is what happened (quoted from the National Post in Canada).
“But Fred Hayward, a California men’s rights activist interviewed in a recent issue of Everyman, says this idea [that men are equally or more so disadvantaged] is so novel he was once kicked off the Oprah Winfrey show (sic) for daring to suggest it. Piqued that Winfrey’s introduction suggested that men have nothing to complain about, Hayward responded, ‘You know, the black population in prison is eight times as high proportionately as the rest of the population. Why do you think that is?’
“When Winfrey attributed this fact to serious social problems within the black community, Hayward replied, ‘Men are 24 times as likely to be in prison as the rest of the population. Isn’t that an even bigger symptom’ of male malaise? ‘They cut right to a commercial and asked me to leave,’ continues Hayward. ‘The producer said to me, ‘I’m sorry, this isn’t going the way we planned.’ So they made me leave. They had a chef standing by—I guess for just such emergencies—and they did chicken recipes for the rest of the show.’”
I am still in touch with Fred, who lives in Sacramento. I have lost contact with Oprah who needs to stick with the chicken recipes.