Newsweek's Crazy Oprah Report has Axe to Grind

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The headline in Newsweek's June 8th cover story about Oprah Winfrey, says "CRAZY TALK" in the biggest font imaginable. The photo above has a different meaning for a story about busy women executives than one where the text claims the programs are "wacky."

A crazed-looking Oprah Winfrey appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine’s June 8 issue. The headline in the print version was “Crazy Talk: Oprah, Wacky Cures & You.”

The headline of the online version still taunts with hysterical exclamation marks :  “Live Your Best Life Ever! Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!”

Newsweek‘s criticism of Oprah Winfrey’s poor choices in programming was buttressed by a series of photographs of the talk show host looking wacky.  See for yourself. This arty use of photo illustrations –that catch Oprah in awkward moments and expressions, disembodied out of time and space with the absence of captions –unfairly suggests documentation of her literal wackiness with photojournalism.

The report, dripping with sarcasm and ridicule and containing these unflattering photos, reads more like a mean-spirited rant than journalism.

It turns out that there was method to this mean-spirited madness. In fact, the authors of the Newsweek story (a disclosure buried deep in the article) are competitors of Dr. Christiane Northrup, “a Dartmouth-educated ob-gyn” and regular Oprah guest on whom they vent much of their ire. They write: “Oprah says she reads Northrup’s menopause book ‘just like it’s the Bible. It’s the book next to my bed. I read the Bible. I read that book.’ (Disclosure: NEWSWEEK correspondent Pat Wingert, who worked on this article, and contributor Barbara Kantrowitz are coauthors of a book on menopause.)”

Newsweek doesn’t need to mock and scorn its subjects to make its factual points–especially when its hatchet job reveals its own axe to grind .

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Newsweek’s Crazy Oprah Report has Axe to Grind

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