Opinion: Oprah’s ex-fans trash her support for Obama over a woman
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Well, Ticket readers gave each other an earful -- or eyeful -- in the last 24 hours over Oprah Winfrey, her endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, her perceived declining popularity, religious views and what many called the increasing irrelevance of her widely-viewed daily TV show.
‘Oprah has been sliding not only because of her suport of Obama but her show has became a religion,’ Keith wrote. ‘She has let everyone know how new age she is and that turns a lot of Christians off. She is not as entertaining.’
‘I think she felt compelled to come out and support someone just so she could get her name out in the media for more than what the latest book club joke was,’ Bruzilla added. ‘She’s been on her way out for several years now.’
Wednesday morning, The Ticket published a detailed item, since read by hundreds of thousands, that told of a study compiling Winfrey’s declining popularity after she announced her backing of Obama last year, her first entry into politics after more than two decades of national TV popularity that created a personal fortune of about $2.5 billion.
The conclusion was that Winfrey, who’s not exactly in danger of unemployment, may be paying a higher price for her political involvement than the benefit she provided Obama by drawing large rally crowds for him in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
‘I never watch daytime TV,’ Sam admitted, ‘but if the women in my family are any measure, this drop in popularity is correct. They are a mix politically, mostly moderate but they were all big Oprah fans. They felt she was above the politics of the day.
‘Now they all, every one of them, feel she sold out and they no longer watch her, at least so they say. I know my wife now watches ‘Ellen’ when she is home at that time. I also know that my sister-in-law posted her anger on the Oprah website. Don’t make light of this, I think it is true.’
Many, even most critics, defended her right to ....
political opinions, but they appeared offended to have them imposed on their entertainment, even though Winfrey has used her celebrity, not the show, to promote Obama.
The talk-show hostess, whose book recommendations turn them into instant bestsellers, did get some support among Ticket readers. ‘Oprah had the guts to go out on the limb because the other two candidates would be a disaster for this country and she knows it,’ said Mike.
Two strong strains appeared in the more than 200 comments left by readers. They involved religion and politics. Many had watched her precisely because she appeared apolitical. ‘I used to watch Oprah faithfully, ‘ Sherry Jones wrote. ‘But once she came out backing Obama I have refused to watch any of her shows, even the one on Sundays. Ellen has filled that niche nicely, until she too, gets politicky.’
Jean speculated that Oprah herself ‘is looking for a spot in politics now, getting tired of crying on the blabber show.’ Bronte felt there were a variety of factors contributing to the decline in viewers of Winfrey, who formerly attended the same Trinity United Church of Christ as Obama with its controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
‘Adding the evilness of Wright, and the petulance of Michelle, with the inability of Barack to tell those who are doing him harm to ‘pipe down,’ that figure could go higher. It was her decision, and she made it. However, in retrospect, she may have precipitated her own demise as Queen of TV.’
‘Maybe,’ Nina speculated, ‘Oprah is just boring. All that new age garbage, the badly written books, the ‘its all about ME’ attitude put me off long ago. I like Obama. It’s Oprah who I wish would shut up and go away.’
There was also considerable anger expressed that someone women regarded as a feminist would so eagerly support a male candidate over his Democratic opponent, another woman. ‘As someone that used to be a fan of Oprah’s,’ Diane said, ‘I can attest to being in the group that no longer listens to or watches Oprah.
‘She spent her entire career promoting women, yet for the first time in history, a woman is running for prez, and she rejects Hillary for a man (I am not even a Hillary supporter and that just rubbed me wrong - how about supporting both of them since they have the same platform?). Oprah is a fraud. I lost all respect for her.’
Tea added: ‘Why I was upset with Oprah is that she (got) her billion dollars because she had her show for WOMEN -- men did not cause her rise to fame. Women backed her, supported. She knows better than anyone the struggles women have to be treated equally and fairly and she jumped right into Obama’s arms telling us he could walk on water.’
‘I may forgive her for being a liberal,’ Lynn wrote, ‘but when she messed with God, she went too far. What’s next for the book club? L. Ron Hubbard?’
And, perhaps alas for the growth of Winfrey’s still-considerable broadcast audience, Kathy was far from alone in her vehemence: ‘The support of white women made Oprah her billions. While she has every right to vote and campaign for whomever she wants, she stabbed all women in the back. She used her clout against the first viable white woman. Hope she sinks into oblivion. I will never forget.’
Then there’s Hokie, who put things in a different perspective by adding simply: ‘I couldn’t care less what the non-workers are watching or feeling.’
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-- Andrew Malcolm