Wednesday, May. 25, 2011

Oprah and Iraq

Although Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama's presidential campaign drew widespread media attention, the Queen of Talk had dipped her toe into political waters before. In several episodes beginning in November 2002 and airing through the spring of 2003, Oprah explored the negative implications of potential U.S. action against Saddam Hussein's Iraq at a time when the drumbeat for war was growing louder. Indeed, Winfrey tried to play off the news, scheduling a two-day special, "The World Speaks Out on Iraq," for the day after Secretary of State Colin Powell's crucial speech before the U.N. in February 2003. Though the episodes drew praise from antiwar advocates, some government officials grumbled that Winfrey was an unwelcome gadfly. There was speculation that the Bush Administration intentionally scheduled a press conference with the President and Powell during Winfrey's broadcast so they could preempt her antiwar message.