Political speculation has surrounded Oprah Winfrey for a decade or more, with plenty of people calling one of the wealthiest and best-known entertainment moguls to run for office. This might be the first time that a broadcast network has endorsed a candidate before she even enters the race. At least explicitly.
NBC’s social-media management came under fire last night for calling Winfrey “OUR future president” in a tweet that has yet to be deleted:
Golden Globes host Seth Meyers had jokingly used reverse psychology in his opening monologue to push Winfrey into politics. He declared that Winfrey, who won a lifetime achievement award last night, didn’t have what it takes to run for the nation’s top office. While he was at it, Meyers also looped Tom Hanks in for running mate:
Seth Meyers: "In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the WHCD… I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president. You do not have what it takes. And Hanks. Where's Hanks? You will never be vice president." #GoldenGlobes pic.twitter.com/vQzxrHZfrt
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 8, 2018
Winfrey laughed it off — or did she? CNN’s Brian Stelter reports this morning that she’s considering a 2020 run:
According to two of Winfrey’s close friends who requested anonymity to speak freely, Winfrey is “actively thinking” about running for president in 2020.
Some of Winfrey’s confidants have been privately urging her to run, the sources said.
One of the sources said these conversations date back several months. The person emphasized that Winfrey has not made up her mind about running.
The LA Times followed up with remarks from some of those closest to Winfrey, who didn’t exactly issue denials:
“It’s up to the people,” Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told The Times. “She would absolutely do it.”
Gayle King, Winfrey’s best buddy, echoed Graham’s sentiments: “I thought that speech was incredible. I got goosebumps,” she also told The Times.
In other words, this is a foreseeable outcome, and it’s not a new idea either. So what was NBC thinking in issuing their endorsement last night? Yes, they were promoting the awards show and trolling for viewers, and yes, it includes an element of humor. But it also contains an implied rebuke of the incumbent against whom Winfrey would have to compete for the office and the strong implication that Trump isn’t “OUR president” for NBC. That might be news for the NBC correspondents covering the White House.
It’s also a very strange comment for a national broadcaster and the parent of a major news media outlet to make. Well over 14 hours after that message went out and attracted so much attention, NBC finally deleted it, claiming it went out from a third party and wasn’t intended as a political statement. They still seemed comfortable with the role of opposition party rather than straightforward news providers for at least several, much-commented hours — and perhaps we should be comfortable considering them as such.
As for Oprah, she’d probably do well in a Democratic primary, but she’d have to explain this at some point:
Last night’s orgy of industry-wide self-congratulations on wokeness ignores the fact that a lot of people ignored the predators despite the “open secrets” of Hollywood. And in fact, last night’s events might still have included a few of them — and rewarded one, too.
Update: Nothing ever entirely disappears on Twitter. And notice how many RTs and likes this tweet had before NBC supposedly got around to noticing their endorsement.
Of course not. Who'd possibly think this was political? pic.twitter.com/j76VO0NrvP
— M. Amsterdam (@emmdee22) January 8, 2018