Oprah 2020 buzz has been building ever since she gave an inspirational speech at the Golden Globes, but it turns out the billionaire media mogul is not interested in running for president. In a new interview with InStyle, Oprah Winfrey broke the hearts of political pundits like CNN's Chris Cillizza (and a sizable chunk of the American public) when she shot down rumors of a potential presidential campaign:
I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it. Gayle—who knows me as well as I know myself practically—has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, “When’s Oprah going to run?” So Gayle sends me these things, and then she’ll go, “I know, I know, I know! It wouldn’t be good for you—it would be good for everyone else.” I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.
Thank you, Oprah, for having a reasonable response to the madness that has unfolded over the past couple weeks. Thank you, Oprah, for quashing what was shaping up to be 2018's most annoying news story.
The Oprah 2020 news cycle was next-level annoying in that it was managed to be excruciatingly trivial, excessively emotional, and based around nothing other than wild speculation. I have no right complain about any of it, however, because I participated in the deluge of think pieces about the prospect of a President Winfrey. (I fell into the Oprah-is-good-but-shouldn't-run camp, as opposed to the Oprah-is-bad and Oprah-should-be-president camps.)
So why did I throw my Oprah hot take into the content abyss? I'll give it to you straight because I respect you: When my editor asked me to write about the prospect of President Oprah, every bone in my body was telling me no. I was already rolling my eyes at the amount of a coverage one good speech by a celebrity received, but I did so for two reasons:
- My job requires me to write a blog post about politics once every day or two, and I knew an explanation of why Oprah should not be president would be easy to bust out and relatively painless to write.
- As Marcus, one of the many dissatisfied readers of my Noprah 2020 blog, told me in an email, "On the piece on ophra was..... The worst ever. Then i realized you must had written that for the clicks." Very intuitive, Marcus! My literal job is to write articles about politics that people click on. So yes, I wrote it for the clicks.
And clicks it received! "I Can't Believe I Have to Explain Why Oprah Shouldn't Be President" was indeed an extremely popular, which makes me sad in that there are so many other articles I've penned for VICE that I'm actually proud of but received significantly less attention. I wrote my anti-Oprah 2020 screed because I am a woman of the people, and I knew the people craved Oprah content.
(A defensive note from Eve's editor: Sometimes when a story becomes extremely prominent in the news you are obligated to cover it in some fashion even if you think it's probably silly and even if your piece is all about how silly the story is. Remember when people were ignoring Donald Trump's presidential announcement as a sideshow and treating his campaign as a joke?)
The problem is, not only did I contribute to a news cycle I hated the concept of, but now I had to deal with an influx of aggressive emails, nasty Instagram comments, and rude tweets because I argued that a person with no experience in public service maybe shouldn't be president. I still stand by my take, but I don't care enough about the theoretical Oprah 2020 campaign nearly as much as the people hating on me did. Maybe I should've just let them have their little fantasy, I thought.
The longer I work as a politics writer, the more I realize that I don't need to have an opinion on 99 percent of things people want me to have an opinion on. But I also realize that part of the job is to write about things that people want to read about—and sad to say a lot of you wanted to read about Oprah's entirely fictitious presidential prospects. I pray for the day you all stop clicking on content like my Oprah take, but until that time comes, my takes will remain just as hot as they are trivial.
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