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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

W.W.O.D.: What Would Oprah Do?

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        Our troops remain in Iraq.


       The U-S and it's key ally in the region, Turkey, are at odds.


       The Turks and Kurds are on the cusp of war.


       Pakistan has the bomb, and an unsettled political future.


       So what's everyone worried about?  


       Ellen DeGeneres' dog.


       I'm not going to go on a long screed about it here--everyone knows the backround by now, whether they wanted to or not.       After days of internal deliberation and way too much time spent Googling this story on the web, I've come to the conclusion that, in the wide world of talk show mavens, Ellen is no Oprah Winfrey.


        Could you imagine the Big O using her show as a weapon against someone to get her way?      Or, worse yet, turning her publicist on someone she was in battle with, threateing to bring down the media's wrath unless the star got her way (The New York Post goes into great detail about this part of the drama).      The p-r threat came before Ellen committed the cardinal sin of using her syndicated talk show to officially open the publicity spigot--her tearful plea apparently inspiring some of her fans to call the dog agency in question with death threats.   


        All this, because of a dog.


       I'm a dog lover and former canine owner.    I respect the bonds between pets and those who love them.     


       I'm also a big fan of rules.


       The rule, as dictated by the adoption agency DeGeneres and her partner dealt with, said that an animal who wasn't a good fit had to be brought to the shelter, no questions asked.      DeGeneres' partner signed the paperwork, so ignorance is no excuse.    


       I'm also a big believer in the rule that says you don't use your media platform for personal gain--there's sharing your life on the air, which I and others of my ilk have done for years, and then there's abusing the privelege.       Having your p-r person phoning in threats to those who've offended "the star" is the proverbial cherry on the ethically questionable cake.


       Ellen may be a lovable host, a dancing fool, a comediane who's career story is one for the ages.       Her decision to not just "come out" but to do it as part of her ABC sitcom made TV history.      She's made some pretty inspired and even what some could call dangerous professional decisions in living her life out in front of the whole country.       Going public with Iggy and coming off as a star who sees herself as being above the rules, as a performer who can browbeat "little people" via p-r threats is unbecoming someone who has earned so much public goodwill.         


      Oprah and Ellen are miles apart in the ratings--Oprah remains the queen of daytime and is still the most powerful woman in America (at least among those without an elective office or a spouse who's a former President).       Oprah uses her massive clout for good--although she's heading into new and uncharted waters with her public support of Barack Obama.        Still, I can't remember a single instance where Winfrey used her daytime pulpit to get her own way, to impose her will on someone who didn't give her what she wanted (her public disembowling of "A Million Little Pieces," author James Frey was about as close as she came to using the camera to exact vengence).


       It might be time for Ellen to add something to her ensemble--top off those tennis shoes with a bracelet that says "W-W-O-D"?      

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