Keller @ Large: Oprah’s Great, But Not Perfect

BOSTON (CBS) – I have to admit, yesterday may be the only time I’ve ever watched an Oprah Winfrey show in its entirety. Late afternoon is a tough time for me to do that.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But I have seen enough of Oprah’s act over the years to develop an appreciation of her incredible talent. Her intelligence and speaking skills have always been apparent.

She is an exceptionally good interviewer, asking the right questions with the right tone at the right time. And she comes across as natural, real, and down-to-earth, no small feat for a mega-star in a highly-produced format who has become one of the richest, most accomplished business executives in the world.

Watch Jon’s WBZ-TV report:

And there’s another very commendable thing about Oprah — her altruism. Her philanthropy and use of her clout to help others is extraordinary.

Oprah is a giant in her time, no doubt about it.

But that does not mean that her impact as a cultural phenomenon is beyond skepticism.

She has many critics in the medical field who disapprove of her championing dubious scientific claims about autism and hormone therapy.

Her popular book club made instant bestsellers out of every book she chose, but she didn’t always choose wisely.

And if you believe that our culture has become dangerously narcissistic, with far too much emphasis on self-esteem and self-aggrandizement, you can look to Oprah’s relentless advocacy of feel-good philosophy as a source of the problem.

In the hands of a brilliant creative mind, television can be a powerful social force for good.

Oprah’s legions of admirers are testimony to her brilliance.

But power can be abused by the imperfect, however inadvertently. And perfection is perhaps the only thing even Oprah can’t do.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • FireGuyFrank

    Never watched Oprah — even yesterday. Why? Mainly I work during the day and couldn’t watch if I wanted to. Record it? Could. But never really wanted to watch. I have heard that Oprah manipulated her back-story for impact. I don’t know if that is true or whether it was sour grapes on folks that didn’t get along with her. She has power, but I don’t know if, to quote you, Jon, she is “as natural, real, and down-to-earth” as she makes herself out to be.

  • mikey

    It was reported recently that Oprah had lost half of her viewing audience, too political was the reason given. I don’t think so. In this economy who can afford to stay home and watch daytime television? Gotta go! Bye.

  • merimack

    Personally, I am glad to see Oprah off the air. She was only out for herself, even when she looked like she was helping others. She made a lot of money while spending other companies and peoples money. I truly do not understand how she got away with this, why others got condemned for doing the same thing. I hope she can live with herself. Because I see Oprah as only a self serving, money grabbing promoter.

  • The Owl

    Oprah’s lure was similar to P. T. Barnum’s.

    And she got wealthy from the suckers who freely gave their money.

  • Willow

    I say bravo to Oprah. She pulled herself up from humble and abusive beginnings and instead of using it for an excuse to do the same to others, she made something of herself and worked hard to be where she is today. If she was self-serving, she would have kept every cent she has made. She is a very generous person and has made a difference in the world around her.

  • Italo

    Hallelujah, now will she just please, finally, go far, Far, AWAY???!! Take Gail and Stedman with you, too, Please! :-o

  • The Owl

    Bethel CT in 1810 was a pretty humble place, too. That where Barnum got his start.


    I envy her, she became a billionaire twice over doing what she loves.

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