I know it isn’t her intention, but as I watched the debut of Oprah’s own network, the Oprah Winfrey Network, it occurred to me that OWN may become the challenge to the Fox News Network.
That’s right: Oprah is the positive counterpart to Roger Ailes.
What it seems that Oprah’s network is setting out to do is to build people up and inspire people to “own” who they are, to get past their pain, their weaknesses, their issues, to scale the walls that separate them from empowerment and peace. Ailes’ network, at least on the news side, seems intent upon spreading dissension, fear and anger and a political point of view at any cost – even truth.
The Fox news operation has unabashedly fed into the fear that remains in America and its citizens because people do not read and inform themselves. They instead rely on people to give them their truth, to define their truth, or to validate the “truth” they think they have. This truth is based on years, generations, of simply accepting what people say instead of searching for the truth themselves.
I still reel at a statement I read on my Facebook page where a man wrote that “Glenn Beck taught me all I know about American history.” With all due respect to Mr. Beck, that is a sad and scary truth. But here’s what Mr. Ailes is: a genius at manipulating and using the fear and ignorance of people to his own political and economic advantage.
Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and a whole host of other Fox News people are likewise using the fear of people to build their own wealth and fame. Although Rush Limbaugh is not a Fox News anchor, he, too, does the same thing and perhaps set the standard. I remember feeling sick to my stomach at the thought that Limbaugh riles people up and then laughs all the way to the bank – that he says what he says in the way he says it in order to pander to his audience.
In other words, it’s an act, designed to boost ratings, and my feeling increased when Limbaugh, who has had nothing good to say about gay people or their quest for civil rights, invited Elton John to perform at his wedding. It spoke volumes to me about his hypocrisy.
Winfrey, too, is looking to reach a core part of human beings, but it isn’t their fear: it’s their power and potential. Too many individuals are stymied by feelings of low self worth. Babies born are full of potential, but then they are taken into their homes and are raised by individuals who themselves feel like nothing because they were raised by people …who felt like nothing. The result is babies who grow into children who grow into adults who do not have a clue as to who they really are, what they can do, and why they should do it.
So many people live lives of quiet desperation. Ailes’ network exploits that reality, while Oprah’s network is working to change that reality.
As people shed their fear, the fear that breeds racism and sexism and child abuse and spousal abuse and shyness and self-loathing and so many more damaging issues that people carry, the world will be a better place. The blinders will fall off people’s eyes and they will be more equipped and more inclined to seek a truth that empowers, not a “truth” that binds.
They will live in love, and therefore give love, instead of living in fear, which leads people to give fear out in the form of hatred, bigotry, and all sorts of toxins that make the ground fertile for people who would exploit those qualities.
At the end of any day, any month and indeed, at the end of any year, all of us ought to have a list of things we can see that we did to change ourselves and therefore our world, for the better. I am sure that people who live in fear cannot do that.
I am just as sure that people who have been touched by the programming Oprah has done over the past 25 years and the work she is continuing to do now through her OWN network can and will do that.
What we put out in the world is what we will receive. Ailes and his crew have given out fear and hatred and that’s what they get back. Oprah attempts to give out empowerment and that’s what she gets in return. She gives out love and love liberates, according to Maya Angelou.
People are looking for answers. I think the programs offered by Ms. Winfrey will give those who are ready to be transformed those very answers, and in the process, make this world a little better place. The programs will help people venture into their raw, tender places and seek healing. Healed people heal people; hurt people hurt people. Ailes’ network seeks to perpetuate the hurt; Winfrey’s network seems to be one that will seek and perpetuate the healing.
That’s a candid observation.