4 Ways Oprah Screwed The World (Nobody Ever Calls Her On)
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 ...
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 ...
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.
She Gave Dr. Phil His Power
Oprah first met Phil McGraw when his company helped prep her for her trial against Texas beef in 1995, which was filed in response to an episode of her show about mad cow disease. Oprah won, because she's Oprah, and decided to show her gratitude to Phil by making him her weekly life-strategy expert. That's nice and all, but as the Oprah effect has demonstrated time and again, she could put Charles Manson on her show every week and, after a few months, people would start holding that psycho in a completely different regard than they do now.
Enter "Doctor" Phil. For starters, he stopped practicing psychology five years prior to meeting Opes, and now solely on the strength of his famous friend and her gigantic audience, he was fast becoming America's shrink. Oh, and part of the reason for closing his practice had to do with an inappropriate relationship he had with a female patient. Whoopsie!
He measures his success in "mustache ride" jokes.
Nevertheless, Oprah was so stoked about him and his ability to fix everyone's messy lives that she granted him his own talk show in 2002. And almost every year since, it's been shown that Mr. Fix Your Life is a bigger train wreck than the disasters he councils on his show.
An unauthorized biography in 2003 revealed that he had participated in shady business practices in a gym earlier in his career and that he was physically abusive toward his first wife. But that was the past, and maybe Phil reformed himself using the very methods he preached.
Or maybe not! In 2006, he was hit with a defamation lawsuit from the Kalpoe brothers for making it look like they were involved with the disappearance and murder of Natalee Holloway. Surprise! They weren't!
In 2008, he basically violated doctor-patient confidentially. That is, if he was even technically practicing psychology -- which is under debate, as he was accused of practicing in a state he was never licensed to practice in, and years after his only license was expired. His people then posted $30,000 bail for a Florida teen that was accused of beating the shit out of another teen, because they planned to put her on his show. That plan fell through when the public got wind of how it went down.
Sorry, kids, sometimes the bully wins.
Phil's been a professional blowhard ever since. In fact, if DNA tests concluded that he and Donald Trump were somehow related, I would not be the least bit shocked, because they're both fame-hungry jerk-offs that get hard whenever a camera is aimed their way. If you think that's an exaggeration, look how many failed TV shows Phil has to his name. He's the worst, but Oprah gave him the seal of approval, so apparently that has whitewashed how big a piece of shit the guy is. Couldn't she have just given America more free cars instead of this douche canoe?
But the "Real" Doctors She Trusts Are the Worst of All
You would think Oprah learned her lesson after Dr. Phil. That maybe she would be more particular about the kinds of medical professionals she hoisted onto a pedestal. And at first, Dr. Oz seemed to be fairly legit. He's been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001 and is the director at the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Sounds impressive.
But if history has taught us anything, it's that to be a part of Oprah's Board of Medicine Hearsay and Misinformation you have to believe much more in anti-science and faith-healing than actual science-based medicine. And Mehmet Oz was apparently born for a position on that prestigious council of bullshit.
"Whatever this is will change your life, probably." -Dr. Oz
Ever since Oz got his own show in 2006, he has been bestowed with countless honors and awards, often being hailed as one of New York's best doctors and the most trusted person on television. I'm assuming the people giving him these awards either don't own a television or are punking the shit out of the general public, because this is a man that promotes reiki, faith healing, homeopathy, and psychic communication with the dead, among other random craziness. In fact, the shit Oz says on his show is so bad that he's been slammed by the British Medical Journal for most of his advice having little to no scientific basis whatsoever.
If that's not enough, the doctor was brought before the Senate in 2014 for promoting green coffee extract as a magic pill and weight-loss miracle. After Oz touted this miracle pill on his show, sales skyrocketed even though the supplement was not clinically proven or approved by the FDA.
The ad makes it seem so legitimate!
But when America's Doctor calls something magic and a miracle, then why should a silly thing like proof or science get in the way of that?
Now, don't you want that guy cracking open your chest and performing cardiothoracic surgery on you? But maybe we should let Oprah go first, since she's the one that made this asshole as famous as he is today. Don't worry; I'm sure he'll have a resurrection spell handy if she dies on the table.
For more from Cher, follow her on Twitter @TheCherness.
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