A meeting of liberal minds: Oprah Winfrey for US President, Jover Laurio for “Filipino of the Year”

This is not to say US Queen of Talk Oprah Winfrey is anything like “Filipino of the Year” Jover Laurio. Oprah is a pillar of the planet’s mightiest showbiz industry (amongst its most powerful people, by some accounts) who worked her way to the top the hard way. Laurio, on the other hand, is an artefact of the Philippines’ renowned culture of mediocrity that was propped up by a corporate news media industry allied with an all-too-familiar mediocre Opposition that is desperate for a “hero” to rally around.

The similarity lies in how both women were recently awarded distinction by an established news media community — Oprah given a Cecil B. DeMille award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in this year’s Golden Globe Awards and Laurio given a front-page “Filipino of the Year” feature spread by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippines’ largest newspaper in terms of print circulation.

Oprah gave a fiery speech during the awards night that drew collateral from the plight of African Americans and from that latest feminist trending buzz surrounding the institutionalised abuse of rising starlets by Big Bad Hairy Hollywood Movie Moguls. Laurio for her part, since her outing from anonymity (and subsequent elevation into cult status), has fashioned herself into the Philippine blogosphere’s Resibo Queen — a supposed champion in the battle versus “fake news” armed only with screenshots (her “resibos”) that she uses to substantiate the sources of the “fact checks” she “reports” on her Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB).

The similarities would end there if not for the curious way both have become the choice “heroes” of liberals in their respective countries. Video clips of Oprah’s speech have since gone viral over social media and have fuelled a groundswell of emotionalism seemingly on the back of despair over the presidency of Donald Trump emanating from America’s coastal cities. Such is this emotionalism that calls for Oprah to run for US President have already started and has, even more bizarrely, earned widespread endorsement from a who’s-who of voices from the American brains trust.

Considering that Oprah has not explicitly exhibited nor expressed much of a consistent political position over her long career as an entertainer (aside, perhaps, for a reported strong endorsement of the invasion of Iraq and a predisposition to “imperial feminism” among other questionable advocacies) it is worth noting how such a movement (since dubbed “Oprah 2020”) was quick to reach such a resounding pitch on the basis of just the few minutes Oprah spent on the podium.

One needs to remember, however, that Oprah trades — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars — on subjects that elicit strong emotional responses, and an ability to keep an ear on the ground and zero in on such subjects is the core skill that is likely at the root of her success in the entertainment industry. However, with such power comes the inevitable ability to influence events that have more far-reaching consequences than merely giving out good “vibes” to an audience. A 2007 report by the Observer offers insight — albeit in hindsight — into just how much Oprah may have influenced public sentiment surrounding what, at the time, was just talk of a military invasion of Iraq.

In the fall of 2002, during the run up to the war in Iraq, Oprah Winfrey devoted a portion of one of her shows to answering a pressing international question. Do the Iraqi people want America to liberate them from Saddam Hussein?

Ms. Winfrey posed the question to Entifadh Qanbar, a spokesperson for the Iraqi National Congress—an erstwhile group of Iraqi exiles led by Ahmed Chalabi that, at the time, was busy lobbying the American government to overthrow Saddam Hussein. “Absolutely,” responded Mr. Qanbar.

Later, Ms. Winfrey called on an audience member. “I hope this doesn’t offend you,” said the young woman. “I just don’t know what to believe with the media and…” Ms. Winfrey cut her off. “We’re not trying to show you propaganda,” Ms. Winfrey explained. “We’re just showing you what is.”

That episode in Oprah’s show was presumably the subject of a censure issued by the Swedish government back in 2003 for war mongering. Sweden, at the time, was strongly opposed to a US invasion of Iraq which, it asserted, lacked a UN mandate.

“Different views were expressed, but all longer remarks gave voice to the opinion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States and should be the target of attack,” Sweden’s Broadcasting Commission said.

Unfortunately for Filipinos (and, perhaps, for Americans as well), no such strong media watchdog exists to keep media organisations and personalities in check. Fortunately, Oprah’s influence over people who matter utterly dwarfs that of Laurio’s. For that matter, anyone who has read Laurio’s “blogs” on PAB can attest to how thin on intellectual content her contribution to the discourse is. It also remains debatable whether her being featured in that now-infamous Inquirer spread is a reliable indicator of the actual influence she exerts on public sentiment. Most observers, in fact, believe that it is the other way around — that her influence is more a product of strong “assistance” from a media industry controlled by oligarchs allied with the current Philippine Opposition (who are confused liberals, at best).

Nonetheless, the common denominator here is in the way sound bites have become routine bases for kicking off entire advocacies and, in Oprah’s recent case, entire presidential campaigns. In the case of Laurio, work that both lacks substance and, by most measures of content production, lacks quality has managed to capture the support of an entire political bloc and attract the endorsement of an impressive array of otherwise well-educated “thought leaders”. There is remarkable irony in the latter, considering that Laurio was named amongst a distinguished set of “Filipinos of the Year” by the Inquirer on the basis of her being the Philippines’ Joan of Arc in the “fight” against the modern “scourge” of “fake news” gripping society. For those who missed it, that irony needs to be spelt out: What made Laurio popular and what earned her the support she enjoys today is the very thing that fuels the spread of “fake news”: potent emotional appeal of the essentially insubstantial.

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18 Comments on “A meeting of liberal minds: Oprah Winfrey for US President, Jover Laurio for “Filipino of the Year””

  1. I’m a foreigner and try to follow the laughable politic news here.. but this Laurio character is nothing but a mindless troll. Looking at PAB there is nothing beyond tagalog ramblings combined with doctored images to stir emotions from the reader. She is nothing more than a circus clown, and an entertainment circus is the MO of the LP, as they conduct their real show in behind the curtains.

    1. Well, to her credit, she speaks in a language the uneducated (or sloppy thinkers) can readily-understand: sound bites and lots of pictures. Anything longer or more complex than that (or in a language other than palengkespeak) is regarded as “nosebleed” by Filipinos.

  2. I dont think Oprah is cut out for the job to become president. After Ronald Reagan (a B-actor at best) and Arnold Schwarzenegger, America should never vote for a celebrity again. In a 1999 interview with Donald Trump he told Larry King that Oprah would be a good vice-president, next to him as president.

    1. Indeed, Donald Trump is, himself, a celebrity-turned-president and the same forces that drove people to vote for him are not too different from those that now fuel “Oprah 2020”.

      1. First and FOREMOST, Trump is a Billionaire BUSINESSMAN turned Politician…’The Apprentice’ series were more time killers for him (as well as publicity seeking excercises) than anything else. Politics is a business were people’s fates are allegedly decided. BUT, in the 21st Century (and probably many before it) people’s fates are already sealed. You are either a member of the exclusive club of Oligarchs, OR NOT…………Woe to those who are not……
        and for shits and giggles, If OPRAH thinks she will change the fate of anyone, SHE WILL NOT! The people who run things, as they did with Obammy & Trump, will impress upon her early on in her Presidency: that she will march to their tune or get driven through Dallas in an unprotected limosuine……..YOU CAN BET ON IT !!!

      2. It’s more complicated than that, Oprah’s brand image is powerful, but there is also the factor of the middle class and rural folks in the US being disillusioned with Hollywood’s hypocrisy and double think, unless she can deliver a message that entices them, economically and domestic policies that are sound, she’s gonna have to rely mostly of her star power, which is powerful but won’t be enough. even with most of the media supporting her. Truth be told, no longer a fan of Democrats when they are hypocrites and their policies cost more than the country is able to produce. There’s also the issue of old establishment Democrats who aren’t so sure about Oprah 2020. And lastly, no matter how much you see in the news that the Democrats are united, they aren’t, there’s several factions trying to fight for control, and they are pretty radical in their approach in governance.

        1. NO, its NOT ! IT IS SIMPLE, the people that run the USA will TELL OPRAH WHAT TO DO, and if she doesn’t do it, she will be assassinated. The last President that tried anything the Oligarchs did not like was John Kennedy…and he had his head blown off his shoulders in BROAD DAY-LIGHT in front of thousands of people. The crime was then blamed on a ‘LONE GUNMAN’ who was then assassinated in the DALLAS,TEXAS POLICE HEAD-QUARTERS in front of hundreds of people and on LIVE television.Completely scripted and impossible to not be! SO, if you think its complicated, you are either very dumb or very young and VERY naive ! BELIEVE IT, it is VERY SIMPLE !!!

      3. Well, this is, after all, supposedly the age of the “social media influencer” as the “experts” say, although being a “social media influencer” is just being a commoditized version of a conventional TV personality.

        The toruble is, many people today believe personal brands and star power easily translate to political power and administrative chops. They confuse mere influence with real power and an ability to execute (the latter, often in a literal sense).

  3. Despite the fact that Oprah is a Black Woman, lost of people listen to her, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE…their are PLENTY of people that will not vote for her for that EXACT reason.The fact that she is ‘RUNNING’ for the Office is proof of how politics has degenerated to Identity Politics in the USA. With the Citizens United ruling by the US SC she is ready to get herself elected by pouring her Billions of USDollars into the contest. Despite the fact that The Woman has NO Credentials to qualify her as competent to run the Federal Executive branch of the World’s only true Super-Power, yet there is!
    Bad/Good JOKE MATERIAL? SURELY, a tragedy for White Males, most likely….and BAD NEWS IN GENERAL……
    Oh how low the mighty have fallen ,eh? ?

  4. Seeing as the Democrats are pushing out “White People” for their sins, I’m sure Oprah will have a message that will unite people, especially since there are accusations of her being a pimp for Hollywood scumbags, but don’t let celebrity entrepreneur philanthropist image blind you, most Leftists seems to vote for stupid reasons, like “First Female Black President” instead of sound policies, same reasons they gave when trying to convince people to vote for that warmongering imbecile Hillary Clinton who along with that idiot Obama managed to destroy Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt with their stupendous blunder of toppling regimes and hoping the people who replace them are gonna make Democracy happen, it didn’t, managed to pretty much destabilize the Middle East even further than Bush, did the Democrats and their supporters make make them have take responsibility for essentially creating the Middle East refugee crisis, millions of death, trillions of property destruction, the creation and emboldening of ISIS and ect? no, Obama and Hillary managed to become hip politicians who get interviewed in late night shows and supported by Hollywood, ignore the fact that Obama was terrible in all of his domestic policies debt went from 8 trillion to 20 trillion dollars,.

    Now how does this tie in with the Liberals here? they craft their public image both here and abroad, if they can manage to make that hypocritical Leila De Lima into a martyr for justice and democracy, trying to get support for our VP who is the female version of Noynoy who always seem to smile, Jover there can be the next Senator there, she’ll have to start small, maybe follow Maria Ressa’s lead. With almost support from celebrities to media personalities, you can make an idiot into anything he/she isn’t.

    1. To be fair, that virulent sense of righteousness exists on both sides — the Conservatives with their religious sense of moral ascendancy, and the Liberals with their politically-corrected sense of ethical ascendancy. Give military and cultural power to either and you get imperialism either way.

      1. Seeing as the most damage seems to come from the Democrats who are all but abandoned their principles to be the party of skin color, social welfare, even an unholy mix of communism, not saying those Neocons are also not bad, but when Democrats and their nation building that destroyed Libya and Syria and affected the citizens of those countries and OFWs, and their media and people who supported do not take them to task or take responsibility, that says to me they are morally ascendant regardless of the consequences of their actions, like how they allowed their puppet Noynoy who managed to antagonize China while he can safely practice his Daang Matuwid/Benevolent Corruption here while playing moral crusader with their condemnation of “EJKs”, the same people who did not condemn Obama’s oversea blunders have the gall to criticise Duterte. The hypocrisy and their playing of identity politics without an ounce of principle is what turned me off and showed me that everyone, absolutely everyone has an agenda, the Conservatives are more honest about it while the Liberals play Babel by making everyone regardless of merit just because of their culture or race, be an indoctrinated Liberal as them, that will be a useful idiot that continues to support them like a King and his slaves.

  5. Oprah Winfrey, is almost the same of the in mold, as Jover Laurio. Both received awards, for doing nothing. Oprah , may had given impassioned speech, during the golden Globe Award. However, it means nothing to the American electorate. It may mean much to the Liberal Hypocrite of the Hollywood personalities. They have found a Liberal minded savior, to run as their President.

    Hollywood use the, “Cult of Personalities”, to fuel its entertainment business. Otherwise, no one would go, to buy tickets, and see their Hollywood actors.

    Giving an impassioned speech, and being a lifetime talk show personality; do not qualify anybody to be a successful President. The Office of the U.S. Presidency is full, of problems, both national and international problems. There are rogue regimes there in the international arena. There are bad people everywhere, trying to create : mayhem , murder and genocide, in the name of political, religious and other causes.

    Anyway, Oprah Winfrey’s Television Network, almost went bankrupt in her management. She had to hire another, CEO of her TV network, to prevent it from bankruptcy.

    Oprah did not go to a good college in her college days. She is nothing but a mediocre student.
    She ran for a beauty queen contest, but was unsuccessful. Her only success, was being a talk show queen.

    Jover Laurio, is nothing, but the : Joke of the Year . Awards are nothing than “tinsel” decorations. Results in your works, that give improvement to humanity, are the things that make a difference !

  6. Oprah is really bad for America. She ma be black but that doesn’t mean she’s intelligent or fitting to be a politician.

    PS: my account on Twitter @therento is gone. Thanks to Twitter for their selective justice. 😀

  7. The average liberal spends six years of his or her life waiting for red lights to turn green. six years wasted, waiting for permission to move on.

  8. If Oprah Winfrey will become the next POTUS, then USA will become a sh*thole just like Haiti & Africa. Mr. Trump won’t like that kind of scenario. #LOL! 😀

  9. “What made Laurio popular and what earned her the support she enjoys today is the very thing that fuels the spread of “fake news”: potent emotional appeal of the essentially insubstantial.” Hence, she is not worthy of being compared, even negatively, alongside any woman. She is a leper.

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