OLD Media Moves

CNBC special on Oprah not good journalism

May 21, 2009

Brian Lowry of Variety critiques the upcoming CNBC special on talk show host Oprah Winfrey and says it comes across as an informercial for the television star.

Lowry writes, “The result is an hour produced by Bill Kurtis distinguished by its stunning ability to state the obvious — namely, that getting mentioned on Winfrey’s program helps move products — without any serious insight into why that’s the case, other than that Oprah is a trusted brand. Well, duh.

“The special includes tips on how to get on Winfrey’s show (good luck with that) and success stories of those who have been featured. As for any of the darker aspects of ‘The Oprah Effect’ — say, whether people spend money they don’t have on the host’s ‘favorite things,’ or the vague cult-like qualities of Oprah worship — that will clearly have to wait for another hour.

“Similarly, there’s zero mention of how Winfrey’s support apparatus and vetting process has experienced several much-publicized glitches in recent years, such as touting James Frey’s fabricated memoir or Herman Rosenblat’s bogus story about meeting his future wife at a Nazi concentration camp. Even ABC News was inspired to ask “Is Oprah’s Golden Touch Tarnished?” last December after the latest discredited yarn that was stamped with the Oprah seal of approval.”

Read more here.

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