Oprah appeared on the cover of Newsweek last week with the caption: Crazy Talk Oprah, Wacky Cures and You. The subtitle sarcastically mocks Oprah’s advice with the following phrases: Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy!
Oprah responded to the critique via ET by saying,
“I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions to determine what may be best for them,”
Newsweek’s article troubles me for a few reasons. First, Newsweek is a news magazine that should be a source of factual information for serious current events and news. There are many more newsworthy and important events going on right now like the election of another Supreme Court Justice, War of Terror, worldwide economic collapse and health care reform that should take up space on Newsweek’s cover, not Oprah. Much of Newsweek’s frustration with Oprah is that she should stick to being an entertainer, not a health care advisor. Well, Newsweek should stick to being a news magazine, not a tabloid that tries to poke fun of entertainers. By the way, I wonder how many more issues Newsweek sold this week because they put Oprah on the cover.
Additionally, their appraisal of Oprah’s advice is incomplete and cynical. Oprah is known for offering non-traditional health care remedies such as the power of visualization, hypnosis, supplements and other alternative modes of healing. Newsweek ‘poo-poos’ these known healing modalities as if they are for wack-jobs. When in reality, people do heal themselves by methods that can not be explained with science’s current three-dimensional paradigm. Additionally, Oprah also has Ivy-League educated doctors on the show that advocate traditional advice such as healthy eating and exercise. Part of Oprah’s success as an entertainer and as a trusted source of guidance is that she offers a balance of both traditional advice and non-traditional guidance. She also trusts that her audience has the intelligence to research which combination of traditional and non-traditional healing ideas will work best for them.