Monday, June 8, 2009

Oprah's Medicine Show: Bringing Charlatans to your TV Screen

I've always been skeptical how Ms Winfrey relentlessly pursues and promotes pseudoscientific bullshit.

Live Your Best Life Ever!

Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!

From Newsweek

Oprah takes these things very seriously. They are, after all, the answers she hopes to find for herself. If Oprah has an exquisite ear for the cravings and anxieties of her audience, it is because she shares them. Her own lifelong quest for love, meaning and fulfillment plays out on her stage each day. In an age of information overload, she offers herself as a guide through the confusion.

Her audience cannot get enough. After more than two decades on the air, the Oprah franchise continues to expand. Forty million people tune in to watch her television show each week. O magazine, which features her picture on every cover, sells more than 2 million copies each month. She has her own satellite radio channel and a very popular Web site. Forbes puts Oprah's personal fortune at $2.7 billion. Her empire is about to get bigger. Oprah has made a deal to launch her own cable television channel that will reach 70 million homes. It will be called, of course, the Oprah Winfrey Network and will include Oprah-approved programming on health and living well. In announcing the deal, Oprah said, "I will now have the opportunity to do this 24 hours a day on a platform that goes on forever."[...]

This is where things get tricky. Because the truth is, some of what Oprah promotes isn't good, and a lot of the advice her guests dispense on the show is just bad. The Suzanne Somers episode wasn't an oddball occurrence. This kind of thing happens again and again on Oprah. Some of the many experts who cross her stage offer interesting and useful information (props to you, Dr. Oz). Others gush nonsense. Oprah, who holds up her guests as prophets, can't seem to tell the difference. She has the power to summon the most learned authorities on any subject; who would refuse her? Instead, all too often Oprah winds up putting herself and her trusting audience in the hands of celebrity authors and pop-science artists pitching wonder cures and miracle treatments that are questionable or flat-out wrong, and sometimes dangerous.

Oprah would probably not agree with this assessment. She declined to be interviewed for this article, but in a statement she said, "The guests we feature often share their first-person stories in an effort to inform the audience and put a human face on topics relevant to them. I've been saying for years that people are responsible for their actions and their own well-being. I believe my viewers understand the medical information presented on the show is just that—information—not an endorsement or prescription. Rather, my intention is for our viewers to take the information and engage in a dialogue with their medical practitioners about what may be right for them."


  1. If Brad and Angie's 'charity' and 'humanitarian' work is legit, then why don't they donate directly to the most efficient charities to begin with? Why must the funds be donated to their own foundation first? Why are the donations to and from the Jolie-Pitt Foundation publicized so often within a week of their latest film or DVD release? Why isn't their foundation rated by any independent charity watchdog? Why havn't they spent or granted the majority of their funding so far directly on 'humanitarian' work? Why are the private jets and super high-end accomodations around the world necessary to promote 'good will'? Why would Brad Pitt compete for funding, awareness, and support with the most efficient home building charity organization in the world (Habitat For Humanity)? Why not just endorse and support Habitat instead?

    Why in the name of all that is right and logical would a 'humanitarian' squander such obscene levels of limited life sustaining resources on multiple mansions, private jet rides, private helicopter rides, and super exclusive super high-end accomodations around the world? Why in the name of all that is right and logical would a 'humanitarian' deliberately concentrate the world's wealth and resources? Why would they DELIBERATELY expand the gap between the rich and poor? Why would they promote, accept, and celebrate the concept of extreme wealth or obscene compensation for the making of movies? Even now when so many people worldwide struggle to survive? Why not call for a more reasonable, moral, and logical pay-scale for all people? Why not call for a more reasonable distribution of wealth? WHY ARE HOLLYWOOD HUMANITARIANS SUCH DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOBS?

  2. Well meaning people can still do harm.


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