Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

everybody loves oprah

FORTUNE - The Business of Being Oprah: She happily admits that she cannot read a balance sheet. She has no corporate role models. She's kissed Tom Cruise and more than one world leader, but she has never even met Jack Welch or Michael Dell. She's declined invitations from AT&T, Ralph Lauren, and Intel to sit on their corporate boards. "I just say, 'Guys, I don't know what I'd be doing on your board.' " And she's so wary of investing her own money in the stock market that she once hoarded $50 million in cash, calling it her personal "bag-lady fund."

Can I just say that that first item is terrifying? How on earth can you run a billion dollar empire and NOT know how? WHY would you do that? It's just asking for someone to rip you off. (Granted, they'd have to steal one hell of a lot of money before she'd even notice.) And granted that she doesn't know this stuff ... why would she advertise that lack? Seriously, it's a demonstration of an amazing trust in the world.

And how in HELL do you hoard $50 million in cash? Where do you put it? Wouldn't that many bills take up a lot of space?

Tell you what though ... six weeks of paid vacation in the first year for new employees? Wish I knew something that Oprah wanted to hire me for. It'd be worth signing one of those nondisclosure agreements for a job like that.

I hope she does quit after 2006, though. In fact, I hoped she wouldn't renew at all. She's bored with what she's doing and it shows. Her interviewing skills have gone to pot -- compare her shows now with the shows in her early years, and you can tell that she's simply stopped listening to her guests much of the time. Part of it is that after hearing these problems over and over, she simply seems to lack patience with these people, and who can blame her for that? And I suppose it doesn't make for bad television ... but it doesn't make her look good.

Posted by iain at 11:26 PM in category