Media mogul Oprah Winfrey announced that once again, she is “happy to be of service to Obama in 2012,” which proves that some people just don’t learn, and Oprah is one of those people. It also means that, regardless of the extent of the damage Obama has inflicted on employment, the economy, and the future success of the American people, the same voters affected by the President’s disastrous first term may very likely vote for him again.
All around, Obama’s negative influence is so severe that even gazillionaire Oprah Winfrey has not been immune to the “Obama Effect,” where people who were working in 2008 are either no longer employed or are concerned about what effect his continued presidency may have on job security.
Since Obama won the Democrat presidential nomination in June 2008, the employment rate has soared from 5.8% to as high as 9.8%. The President’s policies are so toxic to the workforce that a 31-year-old Ohio breakfast restaurant he touted as an “indirect beneficiary of the government’s Chrysler bailout” closed after he made a passing mention of the establishment’s success in a speech. One word from Obama and Chet’s omelet machine began collecting dust.
When Oprah Winfrey made her famous career-changing decision to support the Senator from Chicago, the talk show queen had already enjoyed 20+ years of pre-eminent ratings. Apparently, Winfrey had so much faith in fellow Trinity United Church of Christ ex-congregant Barack Obama that she referred to him in Biblical terms and for the first time ever was willing to “throw her brand behind – a political candidate.”
If ratings equal job security, then Winfrey too has fallen victim to job-related issues, albeit on a much grander scale than the rest of America. Although it might be conjecture, after Ms. Winfrey stuck her $500 red-soled Christian Louboutins into the political waters it does appear that her talk show ratings began plummeting.
Unlike millions of Americans, billionaire Oprah may still be employed, but there’s no denying that since endorsing Obama she is less popular than she was in the past, and probably should have just stuck with Dr. Phil.
After breathless “He is the one” preacher-like speeches, Oprah’s “favorable ratings fell from 74 to 66 percent” and “her unfavorable ratings jumped from 17 to 26 percent.” In 2008 Oprah was so caught up in Obama fever and so busy “crying her eyelashes off” at packed rallies she didn’t realize her political activism was offending some of her viewers. From day one of the endorsement, Winfrey’s daytime audience began dwindling. From nearly “9 million at its height in 2004-05,” by 2010 just prior to her finale, Oprah’s viewership had fallen to just four million.
In tandem with a struggling job market and mirroring Obama’s freefall in the polls, two months into Oprah’s newest endeavor with the Discovery Channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), the millions of screaming fans “who usually snap up anything she blesses with her seal of approval” are now choosing Ellen DeGeneres as their new BFF and watching Judge Judy instead.
Moreover, as the President continues to lose support even amongst disenchanted liberal females, Oprah’s OWN channel audience of “135,000 consists of only about 45,000 women” in the 25-to-54 age group, which is problematic because that is precisely the demographic the channel is targeting.
There’s no denying that for some reason, Oprah Winfrey’s amazing success has taken a downturn since the President took office in 2009. In fact, investors are worried that “OWN is a drag on Discovery’s stock” and are questioning whether Harpo Studios’ job creator, Ms. Oprah, has “lost her golden touch.”
Perhaps the reason is that Oprah’s “golden boy” isn’t so golden after all and her audience realized it well before she did.
At some point, the media mogul may have noticed the correlation between supporting the President and losing viewers and realized the last thing OWN needed was her out on the campaign trail wearing an Obama 2012 balloon hat, a fashion choice that would probably deliver yet another blow to her Discovery Channel enterprise.
With that announcement, Oprah appeared to be moving in the right direction – away from Barack Obama. Then, somewhere between April and August of this year, in a not-so-stunning turn of events, Oprah announced she’s supporting the President’s 2012 bid for reelection.
After re-evaluating her hasty decision to remain apolitical, she stepped forward on behalf of the President and said, “I supported Barack Obama in 2008 because I believed then as I do now that he is the right man for the job.”
Winfrey said, “If the campaign needs me, I’m happy to be of service. I’m in his corner for whatever he needs me to do.”
The reason for the sudden change of heart? Either Ms. Winfrey believes OWN’s new Rosie O’Donnell Show will save the besieged channel, or her original “ear for eloquence and a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth” endorsement so destroyed any hope for future ratings that at this point, career-wise she has nothing to lose if she endorses Obama a second time.
Either way, despite a much smaller viewing audience Oprah must have a renewed faith in her ability to resurrect the same level of fervor she generated in 2008.
Even if Obama’s reelection ushers in continued job loss for all Americans, further impacts her decades-long high approval ratings and the size of her cult-like audience, and possibly even influences the future of her shaky collaboration with the Discovery Channel, the talk show queen has clearly counted the cost. Oprah Winfrey has decided that if it’s on behalf of Barack Obama, jumping into the political arena a second time is well worth the price.
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