Friday, May 27, 2011

I Was Not a Fan, but I Admire What Oprah Winfrey Accomplished

I don’t think I ever watch an entire Oprah Winfrey show.  It wasn’t the type of show that really appealed to me.  Nevertheless, I have great administration for what Winfrey did when she first burst on the national scene in Chicago in the mid 80s.

In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago, where I grew up, and took over a moribund show called “AM Chicago” on WLS-TV, Channel 7, the Chicago television station owned and operated by ABC.  In three years and through sheer will and hard work, she turned the show into a national phenomena and renamed it the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Within a short period of time, Winfrey founded and ran Harpo Productions to not only produce and syndicate her show but to create other spin-off productions that have now become household names.  She is responsible for the “Dr. Phil Show” and the “Dr. Oz” show among many other television and movie ventures.  She has employed scores of people, giving good salaries and benefits. In 1985, she even appeared in a film called “The Color Purple” and was nominated for the best supporting actress academy award.

While I was not necessarily in sync with her politics, I admired the way she carried herself in public.  I was also dismayed by the way many in the media decided to take shots at her once she became successful.  Here was a woman who overcame a very disadvantaged and troubled childhood, and yet as so often happens, some in the media had to belittle every little flaw they saw in Winfrey. 

It is really more of a commentary about what has happened in this country more than it is on Winfrey.  It seems that many people in our society just can’t stand to see a successful, self-made person, and so they must claim that they are lucky and not deserving of such success.

Luck had nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey’s success.  She earned every penny of the millions she has amassed and has given many millions to a multitude of worthy causes.  I wasn’t a fan of the show, and she and I would probably not agree on a lot of things, but in my opinion, what Winfrey accomplished deserves everyone’s respect.

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