Most Americans know Oprah Winfrey is liberal – and those who ever questioned it got a dose of reality in the last presidential election. What many people don’t know is that Oprah’s not content to just be liberal – she wants to make America liberal, too.
There are two left-wing mantras Oprah lives by, and she repeats them often. One is the idea that when people know better, they do better – which implies that education is all people need to make good decisions. The second is the notion that all people are inherently good. In a recent interview about OWN, her new network, Oprah reiterated her philosophy. “I’m concerned about the bigger overall picture: my belief that people are basically good.”
In addition to swearing by these mantras, Oprah praises at the altar of moral relativism – where people determine for themselves what is morally right based on how they feel about it. To Oprah, the only commandment that matters is the one she and her ilk made up: Thou Shalt Not Judge.
This worldview – that education is the answer to ethical behavior, that all people are intrinsically good, that morality is subjective – is what Oprah’s programs are built upon. Her goal isn’t to expose actual truth – but truth as she sees it. As Kitty Kelley writes in her biography, something Oprah used to say was, “I am the instrument of God. I am his messenger. My show is my ministry.”
Who, we might ask, is Oprah looking to save? Why, conservatives of course. Conservatives are in need of rehabilitation because they don’t believe in moral relativism. Though she doesn’t use the term conservative – that would be too obvious – Oprah makes it clear that those who don’t subscribe to her worldview are backward. This is precisely what happened when she and her team returned to the small town of Williamson, W.Va., where they first filmed a show about homosexuality and the AIDS virus 23 years ago.
To Oprah’s viewers, the 1987 show appeared to be an honest foray into what was, at the time, a new disease. But what went on behind the scenes of both shows – the one in 1987 and the one that was aired two weeks ago – provides an excellent glimpse into how Oprah achieves her goal to save America from themselves.
In 1987, Mike Sisco was a gay man living with the AIDS virus. On the prowl for a victim she and her missionaries could exploit, Oprah heard Sisco had jumped into a community pool in Williamson, W.Va., and that swimmers quickly scattered out of fear that they, too, would contract the AIDS virus.
Keep in mind this was 1987, and AIDS was new. Even experts didn’t know how AIDS was spread, as this 1988 Time article demonstrates. “There are no certain answers to these questions, and that is part of the problem; it is misleading, and perhaps even dangerous, to pretend that there are,” write the authors.
No matter. Oprah used Sisco as her puppet to drive home the point that those who don’t embrace homosexuals are homophobic and bigoted. In so doing, she painted a portrait of an innocent man who was mistreated by folks who were uneducated and didn’t know any better. It was up to Oprah to educate them.
To make her case, Oprah brought along Dr. Woodrow Myers, a public health official and AIDS “expert.” During the show, Dr. Myers tells Jerry Waters, an audience member, that his attitude toward gay people is “wrong.” Waters had suggested to Myers that there’s nothing wrong with people wanting to avoid homosexuals, to which Dr. Meyers replied, “The reason you said that, sir, is because you’re afraid. You have a great deal of fear.” This charge prompted Waters to become vociferous, whereupon he admitted he was “repulsed” by homosexual behavior.
Bingo. Oprah got what she wanted: someone who admitted he thinks the “wrong” way – demonstrating that America does in fact need Oprah, the Chosen One, to help fix people.
Fast forward to the September 2010 show, in which Waters again agreed to appear. (Yes: bad decision.) Unbeknownst to him, the purpose of Oprah’s visit was to prove Waters had had an “epiphany.” That’s the exact word Brian Piotrowicz, one of Oprah’s co-producers (who is gay), used. He made it clear he would only go to Williamson if Waters apologized for having been so ignorant 23 years ago. Oprah liked the idea, too. It would prove her 1987 mission had not been in vain and that she, God’s messenger, had done her job well.
As it happens, Jerry Waters has not changed his views and felt there was nothing to apologize for. But Oprah did manage to browbeat him until he used the word “regret.”
What Jerry meant – I spoke with him this week – was that he regretted his outburst, not that he regretted what he said about homosexuals. But that’s not what the audience heard. “You have to feed Oprah a little in the hopes that you can slide in what YOU want. But I saw that the battle was lost, so I smiled and just stopped. There was no reason for me to go on.”
And so … mission accomplished. On both visits, Oprah went home satisfied. And America was none the wiser.
Suzanne Venker is co-author of the forthcoming book “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say” (WND Books). Her website is www.suzannevenker.com.