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April 26, 2007

How About It, Oprah?

On the Bill Moyers documentary last night, he pointed out that Oprah Winfrey did a show about Iraq on October 9, 2002. Her two guests were Judith Miller and Kenneth Pollack. They said things like this:

MILLER: The US intelligence community believes that Saddam Hussein has deadly stocks of anthrax, of botulinium toxin, which is one of the most virulent poisons known to man.

POLLACK: And what we know for a fact from a number of defectors who've come out of Iraq over the years is that Saddam Hussein is absolutely determined to acquire nuclear weapons and is building them as fast as he can.

Has she had them back on to explain how they got things so completely wrong? No.

That's interesting, because when James Frey turned out to have made things up for his book A Million Little Pieces, she made him come back on so she could shame him in front of America:

OPRAH: James Frey is here and I have to say it is difficult for me to talk to you because I feel really duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers. I think it's such a gift to have millions of people to read your work and that bothers me greatly.

Pretty strong language, which Frey certainly deserved. But he didn't actually help start a catastrophic war.

So, I think progressive organizations should get together and ask Oprah to invite Miller and Pollack back on the show...along with someone like Scott Ritter or Glen Rangwala. I think it would be quite an enlightening program.

(Thanks to Sam Husseini for pointing out the Frey parallel.)

Posted at April 26, 2007 01:56 PM | TrackBack

even our enemies embolden our enemies. when does the hurting stop?

Posted by: hibiscus at April 26, 2007 07:24 PM

Oprah should also apologize to the women in her audience that she ridiculed. That women had a lot of good sense to question what was going on, and Oprah just put her down.

Posted by: Susan at April 27, 2007 12:38 AM

Yes, that woman showed incredible courage to stand up not only to "experts" but to Oprah herself who cut her off, openly dismissed her concerns by stating that the panel was speaking the truth ("what is"), and added a smack of contempt by allowing the woman to have her mere "opinion."
I got the impression that woman must've been deeply troubled b/c she had a strong personal interest (a loved one in the military, perhaps).

Posted by: Michael at April 27, 2007 01:33 AM

Well, of course we all know what a sterling record pwogwessive organizations have in getting abso-tootly-ootly nothing done. Maybe MoveOn will rig another memebers poll and the PDA will start a campaign to elect more prowar corporate democrats to deal with the problem. That's sure to work!

Posted by: AlanSmithee at April 27, 2007 11:38 AM

btw - Some long-time Iraq sanctions activists tried to question Bush when he appeared on Oprah in 2000 --

September 18, 2000 - George Bush makes a campaign appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago. Before the show, VitW members give out information on the sanctions to audience members waiting in line. VitW members Danny Muller and Andrew Mandell get tickets to the show and interrupt the interview and manage two questions about the sanctions against Iraq before being berated by Oprah and escorted out.

Alan - I don't think it's wise to lump all groups that call themselves progressive in the same pot. What did PDA do? I think everybody failed right in my neck of the woods you had a strong progressive, Donna Edwards, running against Albert Wynn, a sleazy corporate Dem and the progressive -- and feminist -- organizations didn't really get behind Edwards, even though she was endorsed by the Washington Post -- she lost by a very slim margin.

Posted by: sam -- err -- osama at April 27, 2007 11:57 AM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 27, 2007 12:10 PM

Here is a contact page to email on this issue. I think this is important. That was one of the most disheartning parts of Bill Moyers documentry

Here is the main contact page

Posted by: at April 27, 2007 03:38 PM

Bill Moyers show highlighted a terrible oprah moment and i think she should make amends. 001441.html

Explains the issue

Here is oprah's contact page emai...l_landing.jhtml

Posted by: at April 27, 2007 03:53 PM

It's part of the worship of "experts". And if you want to have an expert against the war who was absolutely correct (like Scott Ritter) you will find that the right have worked to discredit him. He has baggage that they will bring up.

Their experts are really clever, they will talk about why they thought that the people they talked to were correct and how they were "proved fucking right".

To go after them you need someone who will not be polite and someone who will allow themselves to sit there and be grilled.

The people on the left often have a sense of shame, they will allow themselves to come on and apologize and get beaten up. On the right (or people like Miller) will parse in order to not admit they were duped and wrong.

Why? Because the left still cares about the truth the right cares about the base and doesn't feel that the truth is something that is hard and fast. They see many "truths" and to admit that they made a mistake or to admit that they "fixed the facts around the policy' is to expose themselves for attack.

Isn't it really kind of pathetic that we have to go to Oprah to get someone who can call these people out? Wasn't that the job of the media?

I guess it was at one time.

Posted by: spocko at April 29, 2007 03:45 PM

I agree with Spocko. Let's just ignore Oprah. She's clearly a dunce that got rich off of even bigger dunces. Her show is stale and predictable. Outside of being a relatively true rags to riches case, she's nothing special.

Posted by: at April 30, 2007 08:53 PM

I thought it was good that Oprah told the woman she had a right to her opinion but you could tell the woman's comment really bothered Oprah because right after that show Oprah began doing a series of antiwar shows. In fact if you read Michael Moore's book he claims Oprah was the only antiwar voice on mainstream media prior to the war and he was so impressed he endorsed her for president. Oprah had on several anti-war protesters prior to the war and in fact Moore himself appeared on the show the day before the war.

Posted by: Ted at May 4, 2007 10:26 PM

I need your help!!! I have seen LOTS of Doctors and they CANNOT tell me what is wrong with me. I have cysts all over my body. I have been removing them my self with a kitchen knife. I have scares now all over my face and body. My breast are full of them. I have a Large one on the top of my head. It has been removed by surgery and it came right back. I have a pacemaker due to a bad heart. I have pain that will last in an area for weeks but the doctors CANNOT find a cause for it. With all the people you know I am hoping that you can find a doctor that can help. Thank You Norma Jean Cook.

Posted by: NormaJean Cook at June 3, 2007 11:07 PM

The only mainstream media voice who ended up joining the antiwar movement before the war took place was Oprah.

Oprah did a whole series of antiwar shows in the few months before the war. Michael Moore even endorsed her for president and praised her on page 87 of DUDE WHERE'S MY COUNTRY for showing footage of Donald Rumsfeld embracing Saddam no other major media would dare show. Here's an excellent article about a two-day antiwar show she did from Academics for Justice:

Understanding What Just Happened on The Oprah Winfrey Show :

Today, Oprah Winfrey started a two-part series focusing on the impending U.S. war on Iraq. About halfway through the show the broadcast was pre-empted by coverage of Pres. George Bush, with Colin Powell at his side, reading a prepared statement on Iraq. The coincidental timing of this pre-emptive press statement raised immediate questions about the motives of the White House war strategists. Students of the Civil Rights Movement will recall an incident in 1964 when activist Fannie Lou Hamer sat before a live television audience and gave a riveting account of the oppression she and other Blacks faced in the South. President Lyndon Johnson was so convinced of the power of her appeal to undermine his own political/racial agenda, that he hastily called a press conference to pull cameras away from Hamer’s impassioned revelations. Though the networks pre- empted Hamer’s testimony to cover the president, the newscasts later showed her entire presentation.
The pre-emption of Winfrey’s show today should be seen in the same light. Oprah’s audience is a vast and powerful—but largely apolitical—force of middle-class white women. It is likely that most did not watch Colin Powell’s live testimony at the U.N. yesterday. In fact, it is likely that this huge audience was being oriented to the issues of the Iraq war for the first time. It is unlikely that they treated this show with anything but intense propaganda interest.
The first 30 minutes of the show was decidedly anti-war and highlighted not only worldwide unanimity in opposition to the war but presented many of the heretofore unheard voices of ordinary people speaking forcefully against Bush’s motives. CNN assisted the Oprah Show by presenting overseas confirmation of this from Great Britain and Iraq. For instance, the British correspondent said at one point that it was hard to find anyone in Britain EXCEPT TONY BLAIR that supported the war. Other voices repeated their conclusion that the war is “for oil,” not “against terrorism.” Those familiar with the Bush administration’s network cheerleaders at ABC, NBC, and CBS would, no doubt, view this expose’ with raised eyebrows. Then, without warning or introduction, Bush is seen at the podium reiterating Powell’s statement at the U.N. yesterday! One immediately had to assume that Bush was actually declaring war on Iraq, given the urgency of this interruption. Soon, however, it became clear that OPRAH herself was the target of this sabre-rattling and not Saddam Hussein. Bush simply summarized Powell’s presentation for Oprah’s audience, hitting key emotional points for this afternoon women’s gathering. He said nothing more of any import at all. Returning to the show, 15 or so minutes later, found still more impassioned, but reasoned, anti-war input from members of Oprah’s audience. There was indeed a balance of pro-war input but the net effect of the show—in spite of Bush’s strategic Johnsonian interruption—was to embolden the anti-war voices and to make opposition to the war as “patriotic” a position as that of the warmongers. What we just saw was a replay of an old propaganda ploy of an ol’ Texas politician, Lyndon Baines Johnson, against the scarecropper’s daughter from Mississippi, Fannie Lou Hamer. In 1964, enough of Hamer’s message was heard to force Johnson into acting against his own political desires. Bush’s ploy in 2003 may have backfired as well.

Here's an article about yet another antiwar show Oprah did right before the war. The one written by a war supporter critical of Oprah:

The Oprah schnook club
By Ben Shapiro columnis...ah_schnook_club

Oprah Winfrey is the most powerful woman in America. She decides what makes the New York Times best-seller lists. Her touchy-feely style sucks in audiences at the rate of 14 million viewers per day. But Oprah is far more than a cultural force -- she's a dangerous political force as well, a woman with unpredictable and mercurial attitudes toward the major issues of the day. Her ignorant views and wacky reasoning shape the views of millions.
Oprah's latest target: the war in Iraq. In what previews described as an eye-opening hour, Oprah used her bully pulpit on March 18 to slam the United States and George W. Bush. Her guests were anti-war Fawaz Gergez, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and "pro-war" New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Of course, both Gergez and Friedman were anti-Bush.
Oprah also showed part of Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," which lambastes American foreign policy. "It resonated with a lot of people, me included," she sweetly informed. When Friedman (remember, he's supposed to provide balance) stated that "the Bush administration is going to have to have an attitude lobotomy," Oprah laughed out loud. After showing a clip of young Muslim man ripping America, Oprah noted: "What he said sounded like what I've heard from people of color all over the world."

Posted by: Jackson at June 23, 2007 11:19 AM

Dear Oprah,

Watching Al Gore presentation you had on your TV screen today, Monday 9 July 2007, I was amazed in what was shown that has not already happened during the years of 1441-1446. It was during this time that the Chinese fleet circumnavigated the world and Greenland was at that time. free of ice as well as being able to being able to navigate through the coast of Russia. In or about 900 to 1,000 BC, the land was occupied by the Vikings who farmed the land.

There was no industrial revolution then as truth of Global Warming is that it is a natural cycle of our planet Earth.

Your guest reporter for the response to Al Gores film, Marlo Lewis was true in his appraisal of the amout of ocean rising. I would have said approximately 40 cm's. I have written a book entitled "A Fresh Approach To Magnetism-Version 2' ISBN 0-646-46737-9, and A Fresh Approach To Global Warming ISBN 078-0-646-47722-0"

NASA showed that on the 15 February 2001, our sun switched its polarity and this reaction is now being felt by Earth with the reversing of the seasonal changes we are now beginning to experience. This change shows that our Isobar reading have switched totally during 2006 and 2007 in our winter highs are in the zone of 1028 Isobars. Australia has not had such a change like this begore, and now, we are beginning to react to these high levels of highs pressure readings during our winter, and we are developing much needed rains from over the oceans of the Pacific. This will go on until February 2008 in the southern hemisphere. I would expect that the northern hemisphere will be undergoing drastic changes that at this point of time, will be new and different to the normal climate we were used to in our teens.

The discussion of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is progressing, is strong, how-ever, with respect, this natural element is only 0.054 parts of one (1) percent of the air we breath. Our industry is producing 0.047 percent. This can be varified by your science people in the USA. Certainly we are producing CO2, If we were to stop producing CO2 now, totally in the world, it will not change the effects of our climate change, for this has been caused by the sun's polarity reversal back in 2001. This is a natural event of this time, as the Sun changes this cycle every eleven years, and it decided to change at a most inapropriate time when we were experiencing stable climate. This occured during our seasons that were responding to a normal magnetic change of environment.

My book outlines these dramatic changes and a collegue of mine, Jason Buttigieg, founder of Australian Atomic Research Team, and I, produced a scientific paper that was to be released with IWMC (a USA Journal), but some how, these documents were stolen in Switzland for they were on two lap top computers of the IWMC writers own property. Helene, this week, told us for we were asking what was the progress. She was not able to contact us for all records were stolen.

I would like to relay these articles to you, but cannot for we are contracted to the IWMC. I can forward to you a copy of a letter to the Editor, if you wish that basically covers everything that has happened here in Australia, regarding the weather patterns.

I remain a distant follower of your human interest show. Keep up the great work you do.

Thomas Watson (tomw)

Ph:++61 03 52 787 628

Posted by: at July 9, 2007 09:59 AM

dear Oprah--i am a one finger typer[no i have all my fingers-just cannot type] i recently read articles on how the death rate of young children has risen in the last ten years from being left in the car[forgotten]--with so many different people driving our precious cargo--the night i read that article i could not sleep--my mind was racing--i think i have come up with a simple inexpensive invention to prevent this from occurring--my problem--we are retired and live on a fixed income--i want to get a patent --do not know how and do not want my discovery stolen--i do not have the resources to fight for a patent and take a chance of it being stolen--my whole life i have felt i have had an idea waiting to come out i think it has and i want to protect it--can you help me please i am a 62 year old gran with 8 grandkids--i have worked with young children my whole life--sincerely susan[a concerned granny

Posted by: susan blewett at August 13, 2007 08:45 PM