Oprah Winfrey helped create our American fantasyland

“Any assessment of her possible presidential bid should consider the irrational, pseudoscientific free for all she helped create.”

From Slate’s adaption from Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, by Kurt Andersen:

Forty-eight hours ago, after watching Oprah Winfrey give a terrific, rousing feminist speech on an awards show, millions of Americans instantly, giddily decided that the ideal 2020 Democratic nominee had appeared. An extremely rich and famous and exciting star and impresario — but one who seems intelligent and wise and kind, the non–Bizarro World version of the sitting president.

Those millions have apparently lost track of what Oprah has been about for much of her career:

Despite the “magical thinking” reference, neither Williams nor other skeptics have seriously addressed the big qualm I have about the prospect of a President Winfrey: Perhaps more than any other single American, she is responsible for giving national platforms and legitimacy to all sorts of magical thinking, from pseudoscientific to purely mystical, fantasies about extraterrestrials, paranormal experience, satanic cults, and more. The various fantasies she has promoted on all her media platforms — her daily TV show with its 12 million devoted viewers, her magazine, her website, her cable channel — aren’t as dangerous as Donald Trump’s mainstreaming of false conspiracy theories, but for three decades she has had a major role in encouraging Americans to abandon reason and science in favor of the wishful and imaginary.