finally, some criticism of the quackery and nonsense being promoted by Oprah, in a feature article by Newsweek.
One has to assume criticizing Oprah on these matters is so rare, due to her ratings-power. Noone connected with any of the networks who carry her shows would dare to say anything, as that could harm the advertisers and the bottom line.
No one who ever wanted to be on her show would say anything about her either.
and the producers of the Oprah show, do "rig" the Oprah show and sandbag the occasional "critic" who is allowed on the show, that has been shown many times.
Hopefully, more mainstream media will now begin to criticize Oprah for her promotion of these endless streams of New Wage gurus and cultists.
At some point, it would seem, people will stop looking to Oprah for this kind of guidance. This will never happen. Oprah's audience admires her as much for her failings as her successes. In real life, she has almost nothing in common with most of her viewers. She is an unapproachable billionaire with a private jet and homes around the country who hangs out with movie stars. She is not married and has no children. But television Oprah is a different person. She somehow manages to make herself believable as a down-to-earth everywoman. She is your girlfriend who struggles to control her weight and balance her work and personal life, just like you. When she recently related the story of how humiliated she felt when she arrived for a photo shoot to find that she couldn't fit into the clothes she was supposed to wear, she knew she had every member of the audience in her hand. Oprah's show is all about second and third and fourth chances to fix your life, and the promise that the next new thing to come along will be the one that finally works.
This perpetual search for The Answer reached its apex a couple of years ago, when Oprah led the frenzy over The Secret. The video and accompanying book were a rehash of one of the oldest of self-help truisms—"think positive"—refreshed with a dusting of "science." The secret of The Secret was something called the Law of Attraction. As Oprah put it on the show, "It says that the energy, that the thoughts and feelings that you put out into the world, both good and bad, are exactly what is always coming back to you, so you have the life that you have created." Oprah and the teachers of The Secret, as they call themselves, did not mean this metaphorically. They explained that the universe and everything in it are made of vibrating energy, and by thinking positively we can actually "attract" the positive vibrations of the universe and bend them to our will. "You're a field of energy in a larger field of energy," one of The Secret's teachers said. "And like attracts like, and that's very, very scientific."
By harnessing this powerful science, they said, we can have anything we want—happiness, love, fabulous wealth. This was so inspiring to Oprah that she devoted three shows to the product and appeared on Larry King to talk it up more. She said it encapsulated everything she believes. "I've been talking about this for years on my show," she said. "I just never called it The Secret."
On one of the Secret shows, Oprah gave an example of the scientific power of the concept. She said that once, while she was hosting an episode about a man who could blow really big soap bubbles, she was thinking to herself, "Gee, that looks fun. I would like to blow some bubbles." When she returned to her office after the show, there, on her desk, was a silver Tiffany bubble blower. "So I call my assistant," Oprah told the audience. "I say, 'Did you just run out and get me some bubbles? 'Cause I got bubbles by my desk.' And she says, 'No, the bubbles were always there. I bought you bubbles for your birthday and you didn't notice them until today'."
There are many lessons that might be drawn from this anecdote. One is that if you give Oprah a thoughtful gift, she may not bother to notice it or thank you for it. This is not the lesson Oprah took away from her story. Because the way she sees it, her assistant hadn't really given her the gift at all. She gave it to herself. Using the power of The Secret, she said, "I had called in some bubbles."
According to The Secret, however, the Law of Attraction can use the vibrations of the universe to deliver more than just bubbles. The book that Oprah urges everyone to live by teaches that all diseases can be cured with the power of thought alone: "The question frequently asked is, 'When a person has manifested a disease in the body temple … can it be turned around through the power of "right thinking"?' And the answer is absolutely, yes." The book then offers the testimonial of a woman identified as Cathy Goodman. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I truly believed in my heart, with my strong faith, that I was already healed. Each day I would say, 'Thank you for my healing'." Goodman watched "very funny movies" to make herself laugh. "From the time I was diagnosed to the time I healed was approximately three months. And that's without any radiation or chemotherapy."
The message got through. In March 2007, the month after the first two shows on The Secret, Oprah invited a woman named Kim Tinkham on the program. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and her doctors were urging surgery and chemotherapy. But Tinkham wrote Oprah to say that she had decided to forgo this treatment and instead use The Secret to cure herself.