I've always found Oprah Winfrey's influence impressive and frightening. Mostly frightening, actually. Her powers of influence are such that they even have their own name now -- the Oprah effect. Thanks to this odd phenomenon, people will blindly cosign or follow pretty much anything or anyone Oprah endorses on her show.
That makes sense, I suppose. Her audience is massive, and she's generally liked and respected. The thing I could never wrap my brain around with Oprah, though, is how someone at the helm of an empire as mighty as hers could be so fucking ... gullible. I'm not sure if it's a side effect of her whole "spiritual/positivity" thing, or what, but the woman is directly responsible for making some pretty shitty people, and their bat-shit crazy views, mega famous. For example ...
#4. She Helped Jenny McCarthy Bring Measles and Mumps Back
Back in 2007, Oprah had Jenny McCarthy on her show to promote some book she wrote (I believe it was called The Stupidest Shit Ever) about her son's autism. I never went to med school, but I do have Google (that counts) and, according to CDC statistics, more than 3.5 million Americans have an autism spectrum disorder for which scientists have yet to identify a definite cause. But McCarthy, who also did not go to med school (but she was on Singled Out, which doesn't count), announced very matter-of-factly that her son's autism was caused by vaccinations, specifically the MMR vaccine.
The MMR vaccine had nearly eradicated measles, mumps, and rubella in this country. If you didn't already know that, it's probably because society hasn't had to worry about those diseases for decades. Mumps and rubella aren't as serious, but measles did not fuck around in its glory days, killing thousands of people a year.
This is what it looks like under a microscope.
The number of total cases had dropped to less than 200 annually, until McCarthy and Oprah conspired to discredit science.
The result has been a gradual spike in measles cases, with 2014 boasting a record 23 outbreaks and 644 cases reported. Was that merely coincidence or the Oprah effect at work? You can take in the available information and decide for yourself, but please remember, one of the key proponents of the anti-vaccine movement earned her college degree in the public restroom at a Candies shoe store.
She's just like us!
I don't care what talk show she appears on: you don't take medical advice from Jenny McCarthy. Even more importantly, if you're in charge of these things, definitely don't let her give that advice on the most influential daytime talk show in television history.
Unfortunately, trusting her famous friends over modern medicine is kind of Oprah's thing. Case in point, don't forget the time ...
#3. She Trusted Suzanne Somers Over Science
Most people know Suzanne Somers from her role as Chrissy on Three's Company.
Others know her for shilling the single greatest piece of workout equipment ever made, the Thighmaster.
But did you know that when she wasn't fulfilling her life's goal to be a low-budget Jane Fonda, she was becoming a world-renowned physician who specializes in hormone replacement therapy?
If you didn't know, that's because she absolutely wasn't doing that, but damn if that was going to stop Oprah from treating her like a medical professional anyway. In 2009, Somers was invited to appear on the show for the sole purpose of having a platform to stand on while gushing about her intense daily routine, which consists of taking 60 pills, rubbing estrogen lotion on her arms, and vaginal estriol injections.
Not content to simply allow Somers' lunacy to permeate the airwaves, Oprah apparently let a little spill on herself as well. Shortly after Suzanne's appearance on her show, The Mighty O followed that same daily regimen of vagina shots and horse pills and, after four days, concluded that she was essentially born again into a more vibrant, clear, and youthful version of herself. FOUR DAYS? Fucking hair replacement cream goes through a longer trial than that, and that shit goes on your head, not IN your vag.
Why does Suzanne partake in this? Well, according to her, all this shit is making her stay young and healthy. However, according to pretty much everyone with actual medical credentials, her "wellness regime" is actually very unhealthy, to the point that it could endanger her life. Somers is a huge fan of bio-identical hormones ...
... but her lack of knowledge and use of them is so ass backwards that the actual doctors who prescribe them to patients fired off a letter to her publisher stating that Suzanne's protocol is scientifically unfounded and dangerous.
But despite the medical community refuting Somers' claims, despite the well-documented proof that the hormones she swears by have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, when actual medical professionals were asked to be on the show, they were treated like glorified audience members, rather than featured panelists.
In other words, damn them and their wealth of credibility in the field of medicine. Unless they can tell the world how injection needles will make Kegel exercises obsolete someday, Oprah isn't listening.