O Magazine’s 2010 Deplorable Moment

By all accounts, Oprah Winfrey gave an impressive speech at the Golden Globes. It has been a heavy work week for me and I haven’t managed to listen to it myself, but since she is an articulate and personable woman who has made a career out of connecting with millions of people (largely female), her triumph is unsurprising. With her name being mentioned in just about every news report this week, I was reminded that I have written a few times about her in my Musings.

In 2010, I posted a letter to the editor I had written to her magazine. Upon re-reading, I think the problem on which I focused only grew as seen when Hillary Clinton labeled a huge swathe of the population as “deplorable.”  Here is a reprint of that Musing.

A few years ago after visiting my daughter, I was heading to the airport to return home when I realized that I had no reading material. Rachelle’s roommate offered me her copy of O, Oprah’s monthly magazine. I probably would never have picked this magazine up on my own and I had never seen an Oprah show, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my surprise, the quality of writing was impressive and the range of topics notably wider than in most women’s magazines. I began reading it regularly. Aside from many well-written and interesting articles, I appreciated getting a window into the Oprah phenomenon which has had so much influence on our society. While many of my own views are completely opposed to those espoused by the magazine, reading it helps me understand what ideas are shaping so many women’s attitudes.  I also find, to O’s credit, that it is not monolithic in its approach and sometimes unexpectedly presents views sympathetic to traditional values.

Almost every issue has something which I appreciate as well as something which makes me squirm, but this October, I was so appalled at what I read that I sent off a letter to the editor. It was not published, so I am using this venue to share it.

Dear O,

Over the years, I have mostly enjoyed getting O. On more than one occasion, however, I was disturbed by the bigotry which the magazine promoted. I kept letting it slide, but the October magazine moved me to write.

In the October issue Donna Brazile said, “Conservative businessmen don’t generally pay a lot of attention to middle-aged black women.”

Which conservative businessmen did Ms. Brazile mean? The ones I know who use their annual vacations to help build orphanages in Africa and S. America? The ones who spearhead their local Rotary and Lion’s clubs, helping not only their own communities but ones around the globe? Perhaps she meant those who donate to and fundraise for charities such as Fisher House, which helps many middle-aged black women whose sons have been injured in military service for their country? Or the thousands of conservative businessmen who work diligently and with no guarantee of success to provide products that improve the lives of middle-aged black women and others? Was she smearing an entire group for the actions of a few men she has met? Isn’t that one of the definitions of prejudice?

This is only one example of many over the years. It is easy to call for others to be more open-minded but it is hard to see our own flaws. The liberal community in America falls prey to this difficulty. More Americans classify themselves as conservative than they do as liberal, but in some industries including much of the media and academia finding a conservative is like searching for the perfect diet – futile. Instead of trying to understand those whose political values differ, there tends to be a tendency to consider conservative voters either stupid or evil. Too often, a smug and self-congratulatory attitude predominates, which hampers us from reaching goals which would actually help everyone in society.

I am regularly appalled at the widespread bigotry against conservatives and businessmen, especially those who are Christian (I am Jewish). It would be great if Oprah magazine could examine itself, admit its own biases and commit to change.


Susan Lapin

I stopped reading O Magazine when I realized what a hugely effective vehicle it and her show were for Oprah Winfrey to  influence society to move away from traditional views relating to sexuality. She is an intelligent, determined and hard-working woman who probably has had more clout on American social thinking and policy than 95% of politicians. She did so by incrementally changing the thoughts of middle-class, traditional, family oriented and often church-going women. What she says really does matter.

60 thoughts on “O Magazine’s 2010 Deplorable Moment”

  1. Elizabeth McDonald

    I’m sure I watched Oprah’s show a few times and read a couple of issues of her magazine over the years, but I’ve never been a fan. I couldn’t remember specifically why or what event turned me away.

    Now I remember, thanks to your Musings, Susan. You stated it beautifully. It was the subtle, incremental ungodly influence. May we be ever vigilant.

  2. And Just to clarify, Nor do I blame her solely. There were literally hundreds of ways that this happened. Through the schools (primary and secondary), TV, Sports, advertising, etc, etc,,,,
    But the way this is accomplished is the same. I apologize if it seemed I was blaming her solely.

    God Bless!

  3. Thank you once again for a thoughtful and well-written piece!
    Anyone who has paid attention would have noticed (like you did over time) the serious flaws in the Oprah phenomena. I noticed back in the ’80s and could not understand how so many of mostly women couldn’t see the OBVIOUS.
    I WON’T rehash what SHOULD have been glaringly apparent, but this is exactly how so many are led astray from ANY truth.
    It starts with ONE example of some form of catastrophe, a pull on the heartstrings (“THIS could be YOU!”), mixed in with a spoonful of guilt ( culture, sex, gender,,,) and an entire audience crying in front of you for 45 mins ( a powerful VISUAL ) and all of the sudden TRUTH is thrown out the window !
    The MINDS of millions of women (the home front) were changed this way. Slowly, over a couple decades.
    We didn’t get here overnight. And just to throw another bomb. How old are all of these millennials we so love to denigrate? Wouldn’t they have been born about the same time Oprah was at her most influential??? THINK about it. The timeline.
    Lies aren’t usually blatant unless from a child. True lies are subtle and over time. To influence.

    God Bless you and our Rabbi.
    May the peace of God (אלוהים) be with your family and ministry!

    1. I certainly don’t blame Oprah as the sole reason for the decline of some traditional values, but I do think she played a large role because she was such a successful influencer. She was a leader in a movement.

  4. Susan you are wise and bold every time I read your blog I learn just how much more I must speak up. Thank you for sharing your special gift with us.

    1. Janet, I find it easier to speak up in writing than in person. Others are the opposite. But we do have to learn to articulate our values.

  5. Oprah knew long ago the way to build her empire was to connect to particularly women in the ways the fairer sex connects: emotionally. Conservatives usually eschew that method as manipulative in favor of using reason and logic to persuade. Alas this is where the rubber meets the road. We can continue to fall on our petard or use a method of messaging that works for all the right reasons. Thanks for your activism. It’s so heartening 😉 K

  6. One of the best letters to an editor I’ve ever read. Thank you. That they failed to publish it says a lot itself.

  7. Hi Susan, you are such a lovely person and such an intelligent writer. Thank you for standing for truth. I would vote for you, but not Oprah. I have never been a fan. If she was or is in the same camp as our previous leaders, it would be a repeat of disasters. I could never support abortion, or women and men who do. I’m so sad to think that many women who have a large influence do not use it to protect the real victims….so sad. God Bless you and your family, and all you do.

  8. Susan I am a fan of your blog. I am a Libertarian so I feel like the person in the middle of a nasty fight between Liberals and Conservatives. I’ve come to understand that Conservatives view Liberals as just grossly misinformed and if they would just educate themselves they’d see the light. Liberals view Conservatives as evil which justifies their vilification of them. It’s a sad situation and it makes living in the US right now stressful.
    Thank you for your letter. I have long thought the worst position for the last 8 or so years was a white, conservative, Christian male. And please note this comment is from a 50 year-old single feminist.
    Bless you for your work and keep it up.

  9. Marie Ferrell-Mewes

    Wow, I am impressed by your response and not at all surprised that you did not get into print in O magazine. Many professional women with education, position, and influence are struck dumb in the presence of this kind of propaganda. I find it hard to read almost any women’s magazine today. The only one I subscribe to at present is Good Housekeeping. That one is also becoming a vehicle for the liberal agenda. I am a retired Professor and worked with many liberals who held beliefs diametrically opposed to mine. But we used to be able to agree to disagree. Unfortunately, the only voice allowed now is the liberal voice. If you are conservative, traditional, and a Christian you are barely tolerated if that on campus today. I finally had enough and moved on to enjoy my children and grandchildren, an arena where my influence will hopefully have an impact on the future of our family and the world at large. God Bless you and your husband for your ministry and to upholding the truths of G-d who created us for His pleasure.

  10. Charaleen Wright

    I stopped watching Oprah when she was interviewing a guest on her show. After a lot of deep, personal questioning, Oprah was visibility and verbally aghast that the guest had once had a cocaine problem. This coming from a former cocaine user herself. The sheer hypocrisy of this woman hit me like a ton of bricks! From that moment on, I was done.

    1. I wanted to publish this remark, because I appreciate everyone’s contributions and own stories, but I also do not want to be a part of spreading rumors, so I just want to say that I am not aware that Oprah ever was a cocaine user. I’m sure you must have heard something and maybe it is commonly known, but it is not something I know about.

  11. Thanks for the reprint and other observations. However, I am not open minded to follow people who think they are better than others because their values and views differ. I am not a fan of Oprah and don’t really care about her magazine, brand or opinions. Again, thanks for this article. And my prayer is that all under her deceptive spell snap out of it. HaShem will surely have mercy and redeem them.

  12. I think she has been a dangerous influence for many years. I always get the impression she is aspiring to be bigger than God.

  13. Per Mrs. Lapin’s request, I am reposting my comment from her Facebook post.
    “Excellent rebuttal! Thank you Mrs. Lapin for standing up. I used to be an avid viewer of her show until Oprah had a segment on supernatural encounters. Things happening to people that can’t be explained. As she went through the panel of stories of “knowing ” a loved one was in trouble, and seeing strange sights the only story she literally scoffed at was of a man who had been doing a routine jog where a cougar jumped at him and started chasing him. He said he looked back and saw Jesus standing between him and the cat as it was about to pounce. According to the man, Jesus stopped the cat long enough for him to get away.
    Ms. Winfrey curled her lip and said,”Jesus?” With such incredulity and sarcasm I felt like I had been slapped. Obviously, her guest did too because he fired back, “Well it wasn’t the ice cream man!”
    That made me laugh. Poor man! But I was left stunned and shocked at the revelation.
    I stopped watching her program immediately, and began praying that whatever unforgiveness she has toward the God of the Bible would be resolved. That she would be healed.”

    1. Although for a long time she was touted her nickname as something like ” God’s little preacher” when she was growing up she has long since left her faith origins. Five to ten years ago there’s was an internet video going around where she is greatly a claiming paths lead to God in order to be all inclusive –pushing Oprah’s religion!

  14. I originally read only Rabbi Lapin, from whose wisdom I have sipped for more than forty years. I had the honor to meet Mrs Lapin long ago, and was so impressed with her kindness, dignity, clear values and highly developed common sense that I decided to read her “Musing.” Her voice is the perfect antidote to the negative influence of the media and the Oprahs of the world. We, Americans and religious people, need an “S” magazine.

  15. I have an opinion. If the facts do not align with my opinion then the facts must be wrong and based on my position and reputation you must accept my opinion. My opinion is your fact.

    When we view the world through our eyes and we believe our eyes. But we ignore our nose. The smell test. Some animals find their prey with their nose. Some come to the realization they are prey by sniffing the air.

    Our nose is always in our field of vision. We don’t see it because our brain cancels out this information. If you close one eye you will discover that no matter which way you look you will see your nose with the open eye. How often have you had someone look at you askance with one eye? They are using that eye toward you to “sniff” you out. Are you being truthful? If you turn your head far enough one eye is firmly fixed while the view of the other is obscured by the nose.

    Some see the truth, facts, as black and white. Others see it as a coloring book. Any color, anywhere, across and outside the lines. Scribbling as a child. Facts can be harsh things but we must never ignore them, diminish them, or twist them for our own comfort or as a means to an end. Our truth is accepting the facts and in so doing adding to our wisdom.

    The statement by Donna Brazile that you present was probably an “off the cuff” spontaneous reaction to her “set of truths” but not inclusive of the whole truth. As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, ma’am”.

    The Bible is our best foundational book of truth. Ancient Jewish Wisdom has helped me immensely to translate these truths into wisdom. I wish I could have learned as much fifty years ago. I just didn’t have all the facts.

    Thank you so much for this insight you have presented.

    1. Dear Susan,

      Like Mike Garner above, I am inclined to think that the remark by Donna Bazile was on off the cuff remark. Her statement was, “Conservative businessmen don’t generally pay a lot of attention to middle-aged black women.” Upon reflection, I believe her statement is correct; and likewise your reaction to the statement is also correct; because you are using the word “conservative” to mean two different things.

      For you an example of a “conservative businessman” is Rabbi Lapin, a man you hold in high esteem. For Donna Bazile, a conservative business man would be Mark Thompson of the New York Times who is involved in a class action suit where it is alleged that his hiring and promotion practices discriminates against older black women.

      Indeed several studies in the US show that there is racial and gender bias in hiring. For example, research by the National Bureau of Economic Research in a Boston study has shown that white job applicants receive 50% more callbacks for interviews than equally qualified African American applicants. The issue that Donna Bazile addresses is real, and has merit, however she was intellectually sloppy because she did not define well what she meant by “conservative”. She could have considered the possibility of a diverse audience.

      Many of us are equally guilty of not considering diversity in our audience. The man who works 60 hours per week on his feet in his grocery store, who wants less taxes may be labeled as conservative. However if you say to him that all abortion should be banned he may not agree. So in fact he is fiscally “conservative”, but socially “liberal”. And of course you also have the liberal who is supportive of government intervention in many business areas, who will get out his “shotgun” and arrange a wedding if his daughter gets pregnant by her high school sweetheart. So you have “liberals” who are morally conservative, yet fiscally liberal.

      As to what happens when a “conservative” reads a “liberal” magazine, I remind you of the following story:

      A man who was traveling came upon a farmer working in his field and asked him what the people in the next village were like. The farmer asked “What were the people like in the last village you visited?” The man responded “They were kind, friendly, generous, great people.” “You’ll find the people in the next village are the same,” said the farmer.

      Another man who was traveling to the same village came up to the same farmer somewhat later and asked him what the people in the next village were like. Again the farmer asked “What were the people like in the last village you visited?” The second man responded, “They were rude, unfriendly, dishonest people.” “You’ll find the people in the next village are the same,” said the farmer.

      In life we often create self-fulfilling prophecies. Those of us who read “O” and expect it to be biased, and unfair will likely find it so. Those of us who read your blog and expect it to be carefully reasoned and balanced will find it to be so. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between. As the apostle Paul said, “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, (Roman 3:23).

      I wish you a blessed week.

  16. Thank you, Susan, for a another great “musing”. But, I also read the comments you receive because the quality of respondents is so much higher than that of most blogs. In particular, Camille C. is an excellent example of a person who gives hope and pushes back the despair and anger propagated by the MSM. It’s good to know that the country isn’t really in such terrible shape as our media and politicians would have us believe.

    1. I agree, Jim. I rarely read comments on many sites because the degenerate to the lowest common denominator. I treasure the sites where the comments add to the discussion and I love my readers for doing so.

  17. Mrs. Lapin,

    After reading multiple sources of praise for Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes I decided to read a transcript of it before watching the video. A few articles even gave the speech the title of Presidential Candidate worthy. I did not enjoy the speech, it worried me. Speaking to “women who lived and live in a culture broken by brutally powerful men”, she says of those men, “Their time is up. Their time is up!” What made me so uncomfortable was hearing her voice lower into a tone of stern reprimand when addressing men and watching the men in the crowd stand up with applause. All of the jokes of Golden Globes were at the expense of men. I know that my generation (I am 26, of the millennial generation) widely accepts the views and movements of entertainment industry but I am not.

    Thank you for sharing a past musing with your readers.

    Blessings to you,
    Paige F.

    1. Thanks for your input, Paige. I look forward to reading the speech and I have a feeling I’ll agree with you. A number of Musings back I responded to a (I think it was CNN) piece that basically was encouraging counter-gender-discrimination. The bullied becoming the bullies is not progress. I hope you find (or mentor) a group of friends.

  18. Well said!! Being a Christian and politically conservative is akin to being branded with a scarlet “A”.

  19. Dear Susan,
    Please excuse me if I am some what off target again, but I was struck by the comments concerning bigotry.
    I grew up in Baltimore in an extremely bigoted family and culture. Blacks were N—–, Jews were K—-, Germans were Krouts, the Irish were Micks, etc, etc, etc,. We had vulger names for everybody.
    it wasn’t until I joined the Navy that I realized that many of the officers and non-comms of color were smarter and more fare than their white counterparts. by that I mean they would actually come to your side and teach you how to do a job rather than chew you out for doing wrong.
    Since then I have had great respect for people of all colors and creeds. As one minister said ” God only made one race. the human race”. There are good and bad in all of us. Including me.

  20. Good Morning Susan!

    I was a pre-teen when the Oprah show first hit television. So I barely remember life pre-Oprah. What I find disappointing, to say the least, is the apparent shift from her humble roots and conservative, though sometimes tragic, background.

    As a young black female growing up in the 80s Oprah provided a much needed living example that little black girls can grow up, overcome abuse, and have great success without playing a sport or taking off their clothes. A woman could actually be smart and hard working to attain great success!

    I remember she used to talk about growing up in the church and her family ‘s roots in Mississippi. At the time, I admired her for staying true to those roots.

    I admit I have no idea of the extreme pressures of Hollywood and those super rich and successful who stay in the public eye. However, my humble observation is at some point she lost her Christian roots along the way; whether purposely, out of some perceived necessity, or through the natural process of trying to navigate life she is not the same Oprah who used to freely acknowledged her christianity and belief in Jesus Christ. When that happened, I could no longer relate to the more “modern” Oprah brand. Eventually, finding very little I could relate to, I stopped Oprah media from flowing into my home.

    I am still thankful for the enlightenment and hope she gave a smart little black girl (me) growing up in a rough city and even rougher home environment, I wish her well on her life’s journey, and pray her global media success be used for purposes that please the God she used to greatly acknowledge.

    Thank you Susan for another thought provoking musing. I wish you and Rabbi Lapin a very happy and blessed new year!

    1. Wishing you a wonderful year too, Camille. I agree that Oprah is a wonderful role model on many fronts. II haven’t followed her doings that past few years and what you say about moving away from religion is interesting.

  21. Dear Susan:
    Thank you so much for both today’s post and the copy of your letter to O magazine. I wish it was printed, but ……oh well. I actually would have been shocked if it was. Anyway, I am a Christian woman and wanted to tell you and your dear husband how much I truly appreciate you; and the positions you both take on matters very important God and to our country’s welfare and peace.
    Thank you and Lord Bless you,

  22. You are “right on”. Thank you for reposting the former Musing. You are very wise and present truth in your writings. Keep on writing and sharing your thoughts!!!

    1. Judi, I think that the two Obama administration terms were disastrous for America and bad for the world. However, I still refer to him as President Obama and think that is the correct thing to do.

  23. You are one thoughtful and articulate lady. Many more should speak out concerning the thoughtless pulling of ‘the race card’ without observation, reflection or consideration. I am told that the famed black scientist George Washington Carver in the early 20th century spoke words to the effect that he was satisfied with the progress that the Negro (sic) had made in integrating into society and being recognized as persons. He also said that his only fear for the future was that self-seeking demagogues would seek to make themselves relevant and make a living off of keeping the past alive. How? By turning the knife in the wound and inflaming the old hatreds, thereby reigniting the discontent and anger of what today we call ‘African-Americans.’ Rather than add fuel to the flames, we should seek to extinguish them. Especially today there is much less ‘racism’ by whatever definition, than many suppose.

  24. As a black conservative Christian woman I’m in total agreement. Oprah’s influence on American culture has been very destructive. I have never read a copy of O magazine but I’ve expressed my views openly whenever the occasion has arisen. Because the family is the backbone of our society it is necessary to speak against those things that dismantle it. We need more people to intelligently engage in these conversations and hopefully more voices especially out of the black community. Thank you Susan. 🌸🌸🌸

  25. Well said and it’s too bad O magazine didn’t publish your comments. Of course, even with what you said a liberal magazine like O will never self examine, admit any bias or commit to change. How unfortunate.

    1. Tim, I admire Oprah for much that she did and does. She overcame difficult life circumstances and has put her money where her mouth is by establishing charitable programs – some that worked and some that didn’t. I like that she used her own money rather than agitating for government money. As I wrote, the magazine (which admittedly I haven’t read in years) had some excellent articles and was not always overtly liberal. I do think, however, that when you are in certain fields it is very hard to break out of the bubble.

    2. I agree. One of the most fascinating segments on Clark Howard is “Clark Stinks”. People get to disagree with him, and he answers grievances gently. I wish more programs did this.

  26. Thank you, Susan. I watched Oprah for a little while. I enjoyed the uplifting messages, until she had an intelligent woman who addressed specific feminine health issues. The guest was on for a half hour, but Oprah couldn’t pull her mind out of the gutter long enough for a sincere one-minute conversation. After that, I noticed other “not quite right” segments and realized, like you, I was choosing a path I didn’t want. Never watched or listened to her again.

  27. I completely read and carefully studied your letter to O magazine. You are not only eloquent in your writing style, you are also quite discerning in your thinking–which probably preserves your personal world view. That’s all I will say for now. Thanks

  28. It seems so hypocritical of those who claim to be open-minded to be open to everything but conservative/ traditional values and those who believe in them. Thanks for sharing your story Susan.

  29. Susan,

    OK, I admit it. I am a fan.

    I think your thoughts always reflect good reasoning.

    Sometimes it seems as though the world has gone crazy and there’s no one left with any moral compass.

    So, it truly encourages me to know you’re there.



  30. Oprah had a talk show a few years ago and now she is considered presidential material by the left. Who will her running mate be, Ellen?

    1. In all fairness, it is only because President Trump was elected that she can be considered presidential.

      1. Just a reminder that President Trump was successful in more industries than having a popular reality show.

        1. Hannah, I believe that Oprah has been successful in more as well. She has built an empire beyond her show and she has also built, and was actively involved in, a school in Africa.

  31. WOW! What a great letter. You expressed my sentiments exactly. I am tired of the way the liberals constantly portray traditional values and the people holding them. They have a right to their opinions and we do, too. By the way I do have a college degree but there are many ways to be “educated.” Education allows one to realize how much knowledge there is and how little any one person knows. It should make you humble not arrogant.

  32. Susan – well written and to the point. I am a conservative and proud of it. Where’s my “CLM” (Conservative Lives Matter) t-shirt?

    1. Dear Susan,

      In an interview on Fox news, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, gave a personal anecdote when asked about the “Black Lives Matter” movement: “I have one friend in particular who’s been stopped in the last 18 months eight to nine different times. Never got a ticket for being stopped — just stopped. If that happened to me, after eight or nine times, I’d be wondering what’s going on here. I’d be upset about it. So would anybody else.”.

      Your reader Frank asks, “Where’s my “CLM” (Conservative Lives Matter) t-shirt?”
      Perhaps “Conservative Lives Matter” t-shirts should be given out when conservatives are also being stopped 9 times in 18 months by the police for no other reason than for being “conservative”.

      Kindest regards

      1. I don’t see a contradiction between the two stories. The conservative might have been not hired by Google and eight other companies. The exact same thing doesn’t have to happen for there to be a reason to look beneath the surface.

  33. Bless you! Bless you! Bless you! O Magazine should not only have printed your letter, they should have made an article out of it after doing some unbiased research! Count me in as your biggest “Christian Fan”! 😘❤️❤️❤️

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