Oprah Winfrey and awful interviewing

Last night, while doing work, I had Oprah’s 2009 interview with Whitney Houston on as background noise. This is it, in case you’re curious …

The 45-minute chat drove me crazy for 8,000 different reasons. No. 1 on the list, however, is the utter bypassing of a wonderous opportunity. Oprah had a truly fascinating, truly riveting, truly (to be polite) unstable woman sitting before her … and she whiffed. Big time. She asked puff questions diguised as good questions, and never followed up with important details. For example, Whitney discusses how she and Bobby Brown used tons upon tons of drugs after their daughter was born. Then … nothing. Like, for example, “So how did you parent?” or “Didn’t you feel incredibly guilty?” or “So, it sounds like you placed getting high above caring for your child. Is that fair?” She never asked about Houston’s fading voice; about why would a singer smoke two or three packs a day, every day.

Worst of all, Oprah basically guided Whitney into saying what she wanted her to say. Oprah explained to Whitney how surely she (Whitney), never liked dressing up all fancy. Whitney agreed—while being dressed up all fancy.

Arg! Not sure what this irks me, three years later, but it does.

OK, back to work.

PS: Please, GOP, make Rick Santorum your nominee. Pleeeaaasssseee …

5 thoughts on “Oprah Winfrey and awful interviewing”

  1. Whitney and Oprah were friends, right?

    There’s your answer.

    Oprah isn’t a journalist any more than Dave Letterman or Jay Leno are. Houston was there to go on TV, look good, talk “honestly” about her past problems with a few semi-shocking anecdotes (“Rich people abuse drugs? You’re kidding me!”) and sell some records/let the public know that she isn’t dead.

    It’s that simple. Oprah’s show was about getting famous people into the homes of housewives who can’t stay up past 10:00 pm.

  2. Good call on the crappy follow up questions. In Oprahs defense, how often is the mega star interviewer, good friends with the mega star interviewee? It seemed to be more of a televised girl talk segment and not a 20/20 or 60 minutes style interview.

    What bothered me the most, Oprah is always out front on stopping abuse against women. She asked her did he hit you? she said no, then she said one time he did hit me, then she talked about getting pushed up against the wall, then she posted the 2003 notes of Bobby’s charges of beating Whitney. Then Whitney started talking about his jealous ways after the body guard. Oprah either needed to be a better friend by calling her out on Bobby’s physical abuse, or a better interviewer. I’m willing to put money on it, Bobby was beating her from day one. She was suffering from one of the most horrible cases of battered woman syndrome most have ever seen. I need to watch part 2, to see if Oprah redeemed herself.

  3. I totally agree! How about this. Whitney talked about using drugs to escape the pain in her life. Oprah never asked “What about your life was causing you such pain?” Whitney talked about reading her bible while high. I would have loved to have her answer the question “How did you reconcile your faith in Christ with your heavy drug use?” Total wasted opportunity.

  4. You’re not the only one!

    Oprah is a self-sycophant! She had a scientist on once and I could tell she had just started a course introduction to counselling.
    She kept repeating what the scientist said as if to show she had been listening (which counsellors are taught) when really she was just interrupting because she did it so often. He kept getting frustrated and basically didn’t get to say anything about the point of his being on the show because half his talking time was taken up by her talking.
    She is a nuisance and poor at her job. I don’t understand how she become so popular!

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