In today’s edition of ‘some folks will go to great lengths to blame black folks for shit they had nothing to do with’ standup comedienne Nikki Glaser is blaming Donald Trumps’ win on… Orpah Winfrey. Glaser, who recently had a show on Comedy Central, blamed Oprah for not speaking out against Trump for fear of alienating her fan base.
“Did Oprah ever speak out against Trump? Are we angry that she didn’t? It really could’ve helped w/that 53% of white women who voted for him.
Follow up: to all rich, influential celebs who kept quiet about Trump in the interest of not alienating half your fan base: YOU ARE PUSSIES.”
*Sigh* I’m tired.
But let’s review.
When it comes to alienating her base to endorse a candidate, Oprah has BEEN there and DONE that. She put her brand on the line for Barack Obama in 2008 knowing it would be costly… and it was.
Then on May 1 last year, Oprah announced during the Larry King show that she was, for the first time, going to throw her considerable weight behind a political candidate — Obama. King’s suspenders nearly snapped.
“I think,” she told old Lar, “that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than any check.” Although, to be honest, her estimated $2.5 billion in wealth could buy an awful lot of TV ads in Indiana. It might even be able to purchase the Hoosier State.
But little attention has been paid to the effect of Obama on Oprah. Now along comes Costas Panagopoulos, an assistant professor of political science at New York’s Fordham University, to ask and answer just that question.
Writing at Politico.com, he suggests the… empress of TV has paid a price for getting into the dirty business of politics with and for her man Barack. By August last year, a CBS poll found her favorable rating had plunged from 74% to 61%, still twice as good as the president but nearly a 20% drop.
And it wasn’t just her favorability that went down, Oprah also saw a 7% decline in her viewership. So, yeh, Oprah’s done it before.
White women done abandoned Oprah a long time ago.
Soon after Oprah launched the Oprah Winfrey Network white women made clear they were not feeling it and basically peaced out. Some blamed it on the programming, some blamed it on the channel’s obscurity on the dial. Either way Oprah’s largely white and female talk show audience did not carry over. But you know what segment of Oprah’s audience did? Black women. OWN is now the most-watched cable network for African American women. When OWN was hemorrhaging viewers around 2011, Oprah noticed that Black American women were sticking around and pivoted her programming towards them.
(And, as an aside, I can’t help but notice that since Oprah saved her network by catering to black women mainstream media seems to have lost a fair amount of interest. Case in point; OWN’s Greenleaf was the most watched new cable show of the summer, in addition to being critically acclaimed. But I bet you ain’t hear much about that. But tell me again how Girls is ‘important for the culture.’)
I’m guessing that Oprah, like many of us, was blindsided by King Cheetos. She did publicly endorse Hillary (although it was more of a ‘Girl I guess I’m with her’ statement), but analyzing what Oprah did or did not do is beside the point. The truth is that white women failed themselves, plain and simple. A majority of the white mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters who went to the polls on November 8 passed on a chance to make women’s history and, instead, voted for a racist, sexist authoritarian who is trying his damndest to pull us back to a pre-Civil Rights era. Ain’t nobody tell them to do that.
Instead of desperately blaming any and everybody for their choices, white women need to take a step back and unpack what combination of Stockholm syndrome, deference to patriarchy, and plain old casual racism led them to do what they did.
Ladies, what are your thoughts on Nikki Glaser’s statements?