Oprah Loses Her Way With Kardashians
Interviewing the Kardashian clan is a new low for the creator of the ratings-challenged OWN network.
Now Oprah, in a desperate attempt to keep her network from sinking, has drunk the Kool-Aid and decided to turn a trick, too. Why Winfrey would put her reputation, brand and a lifetime of credibility on the line for a possible -- not probable -- brief bump in ratings is mind-boggling. News of this impending interview makes me feel as though the American public has been duped.
During the late 1990s, each talk show was trying to be more salacious and lascivious than the next. For a while, Winfrey got caught up in the noise, all in the name of ratings. But she took a breath, stepped back and renewed her commitment to being an example of how powerfully entertaining, informative, even educational, television can be when it's produced by talented, creative people who truly understand the potency, value and reach of the medium.
This is the woman who re-engaged Americans in reading, who touted the value of teachers and education and who was a living Horatio Algier story. A woman whom I used to admire and in whose footsteps I once wanted to follow.
This same woman just last year proclaimed on Facebook, "The world is a mess ... It's depressing and overwhelming at times to look at how much potential we have and yet we're constantly bombarded by images and information that speaks to the lowest common denominator. We can do better. We can be better. I know it's true."
My only question now to Ms. Winfrey is, "What has happened to change your mind?"
Jennifer E. Mabry holds a doctorate in communications from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a cultural anthropologist of race, gender and popular culture. She is an occasional contributor to The Root.
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