Oprah, Switzerland, race and a hyped media controversy

We can always count on the press to blow things out of proportion and create controversy that doesn't exist, such as Oprah and Switzerland. Photo: A controversial hand bag Photo: m.iltalhehti.fi

CHARLOTTEAugust 13, 2013 – Instead of reporting on two British teenagers attacked by acid by Islamic radicals in Zanzibar, CNN focused upon a comment by Oprah Winfrey about a perceived racial incident in Switzerland while she shopped for a $38,000 handbag.

In Winfrey’s defense, despite her mammoth bank account and overly inflated ego, the event was a media creation which became typically blown out of proportion.

In Switzerland’s defense, chastising an entire country based upon a minor occurrence in an upscale shop is yet another example of distorted priorities. Rush Limbaugh, who is “99.7 percent right,” took the opportunity to blast both Winfrey and Switzerland.

Limbaugh criticized the tiny mountain nation using comparisons to the United States by making his standard spiel about America being the greatest country on the face of the earth, the land of opportunity and so on.

Both Limbaugh and Winfrey have manipulated the system to become mega-millionaires. For them everything worked out great, but what about the million of others, the majority, for which the pendulum swung the other way?

What Limbaugh cannot imagine, and will never have to confront, is the fact that if he was the average man-on-the-street at his age and needed a job, he couldn’t get one. In fact, he would be fortunate if anyone would even look at his resume much less grant him an interview. Not because of a weak economy, but because of age discrimination.

SEE RELATED: Oprah faces racism as Obama focuses on middle class

That’s a subject the media never discusses. People like Limbaurgh, Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump and others are not regarded as the senior segment of American society. They, themselves, are oblivious because they have so much money they are unable to relate to others their age who cannot find legitimate work.

No one ever heard a struggling middle class American say, “Oh well, it’s only money.”

Switzerland has no reason to apologize to Winfrey. Here are some facts for Mr. Limbaugh.

Switzerland is the oldest democracy in the world. It has been around three times longer than the United States.

Switzerland has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Almost the entire population is upper middle class.

The national transportation network in Switzerland is the best and most efficient in the world and puts America to shame.

Most Swiss citizens are multilingual. Many Americans struggle with English.

There is no question we live in a great nation. That is no reason, however, to demean other countries and pretend they cannot, or do not, make valid contributions a global society.

The truth about the Winfrey brouhaha, like so many controversies, probably lies somewhere in the middle. The Swiss clerk at the Trois Pommes boutique tells a different version than the media representation of events. Winfrey simply made a comment during an interview that was not intended to become a media racial event. Oprah’s account afterward was considerably milder than the media made it out to be.

Race seems to be a major topic these days, yet the liberal media was hardly incensed about three blacks beating up a white kid on a school bus. Further information said it was about drugs, not race. Counter that, however, with the knee-jerk reaction to George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin and the amount of publicity it received.

Where was the majority of the liberal media in reporting the race baiting comment by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about Barack Obama’s racial policies during a radio interview, “I hope, I hope…that it’s based on substance, not the fact that he’s an African American.”

Are we not light years beyond such silliness?

As one who has attempted to contact Oprah Winfrey and her organization no less than five times without a response, am I to assume that Winfrey did not get back to me because I am white?

There is more to concern ourselves than whether Oprah Winfrey can afford to purchase a $38,000 Tom Ford hand bag. Should we really care whether a mega-millionaire thinks she needs an overpriced bag to carry all of her other expensive stuff? As far as controversy goes, why isn’t PETA screaming because the bag was made from crocodile skin?

Oprah can afford it. She played the game and earned the money. Good for her. But are we really so out of touch with reality?

Perhaps a better use for that $38,000 would be to pay for some of the skin grafts for those teenage girls in London.

It’s time to get our priorities straight.

Contact Bob at Google+

About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events and the people and cultures around the globe. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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