A Swiss sales assistant caught in the middle of Oprah Winfrey’s media racial firestorm claims that she’s tired of being bullied and lied about by the powerful billionaire and cable network owner. Speaking anonymously, the sales clerk Oprah has publicly accused of racism for not showing her a $38,000 handbag told a Sunday newspaper, “It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag.”
This directly contradicts an anecdote Oprah relayed to Entertainment Tonight in which she told America that the clerk’s response to her request to see the handbag was, “No, it’s too expensive.”
The racially-charged headlines and media frenzy that followed were many, and mostly unskeptical.
Eventually the shop owner and the entire of country of Switzerland would apologize to Oprah. The shop owner, however, has always claimed that the incident was a major misunderstanding that had nothing to do with race.
For its part, the American media never showed the moral courage to express any skepticism towards one of the most wealthy and powerful people in the world. The story was just too good, I guess, and Oprah just too much of a sacred cow — a close friend of Barack Obama’s, black, leftist, an actress, and a woman.
But did the media even wonder for a moment how a potentially exaggerated, racially-charged anecdote of this kind might help to sell Oprah’s upcoming film, “The Butler?” It was, after all, during the publicity blitz for “The Butler” that Oprah first told the story.
Did no one in media wonder if such an anecdote mixed with the promotion of a film based on a racial theme might be a little too neat?
Also, let us not forget that Oprah is already guilty of jumping with both feet into the George Zimmerman trial. Though every shred of evidence points to the fact that Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race, that didn’t stop Oprah from pretending it did. Of course, the media (and Obama) were also all aboard for that race hoax.
The media would like to pretend that their noble job is to help the afflicted and to afflict the powerful. Well, what we have here now is a powerless shop girl claiming that she doesn’t “know why someone as great as [Oprah] must cannibalize me on TV” — when in reality Ms. Winfrey had all kinds of reasons.
The clerk could be lying, no doubt. But in a sane media world, this story would really be heating up right about now.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC