What does Oprah represent? Fake science, hucksters and greed

Have we learned nothing?

One speech at the Golden Globes — admittedly a barn-burner — and here comes the drumbeat for a billionaire celebrity with no governing experience to run for president.

“I’m on the bus with Oprah,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

“I want her to run for president,” said Meryl Streep.

“She’s running,” tweeted former “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. “A new day is on the way.”

Even a major network endorsed her. “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” read a tweet on NBC’s verified account (since deleted).

Oprah, who until Sunday night insisted she would never run for president — “I will never run for public office,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in October — is apparently having second thoughts.

“It’s up to the people,’” her partner, Stedman Graham, told the LA Times. “She would absolutely do it.”

She should absolutely not.

Yes, Winfrey is a singular presence in the culture. She is entirely self-made and a decades-long mover in television, film, publishing and philanthropy. As of 2017, she was one of only two women on Forbes’s Black Female Billionaires list. There is much to admire.

But none of this makes her fit to be leader of the free world. And just because the precedent has been set with Donald Trump — to horrible effect — doesn’t mean the Democrats should run a charismatic celebrity with zero credentials. Not Tom Hanks, not The Rock, not Oprah Winfrey.

If this sobering year has taught us anything, it’s that experience, intellect and stability, while hardly electrifying, should matter. A run for the White House should never again resemble a reality show. If the Democrats want to run as the adults in the room, they should lose their starstruck notions of President Oprah — who, through decades of public life, has revealed a startling level of gullibility and greed.

A run for the White House should never again resemble a reality show.

On her eponymous daytime talk show — which ran from 1986 to 2011 — Winfrey routinely endorsed fake science and spiritual hucksters. She cast herself as America’s foremost secular deity and seems to still believe it. Logic and reason don’t guide Oprah Winfrey; feelings and money do.

In 2006, Winfrey endorsed one of the most anti-intellectual products of the decade: a book and video called “The Secret,” which promises that anyone can have anything they want as long as they visualize it. Conversely, if tragedy or poverty befall you, it’s your fault. “The Secret” went on to sell 20 million copies internationally.

“I’m thrilled for the success of ‘The Secret,’ ” Winfrey told Larry King in 2007. “I think that the message needs to go further . . . it is very true that the way you think creates reality for yourself.”

That same year, a woman named Kim Tinkham appeared on Winfrey’s show. She had been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer but had seen the episode touting “The Secret,” and decided to forgo chemo in favor of positive thinking. While Winfrey encouraged her to consider Western medicine as well, Tinkham declined.

She died in 2010.

Winfrey also gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy, the former Playboy Playmate-turned-vocal anti-vaxxer. In her 2007 appearance, McCarthy claimed that her then-toddler son’s autism was caused by a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination — a wholly unproved and unscientific assertion, one Winfrey largely ceded to her guest.

“My science is named Evan, and he’s at home,” McCarthy said. “That’s my science.”

That’s actually the opposite of science — it’s an anecdotal assumption — but Winfrey left that statement unchallenged, making McCarthy a regular guest and signing her to a talk show deal.

Other Oprah-backed grifters include Dr. Phil, who has been accused of exploiting his vulnerable guests and abusing his workplace staff, all under the guise of being America’s folksy shrink; Dr. Oz, accused by colleagues at Columbia University of promoting “quack treatments” and called before the Senate to explain same; Suzanne Somers, a ’70s sitcom star-turned-bioidentical hormone huckster; and no shortage of New Age gurus, most notably Eckhart Tolle, who has made millions preaching the vague comforts of “The Power of Now.”

Yet for all Winfrey’s spiritual searching, at her core she’s deeply materialistic. “Oprah’s Favorite Things” began as a holiday segment on her show — one noted for her audience erupting in hysteria over their gifts.

Her list lives on in her magazine, and the woman with a so-called common touch more closely resembles a recession-deaf, Gwyneth-style elite here. Her 2015 list included a three-piece set of cheese knives for $425 and a $120 box of 23-karat gold-leafed chocolates. The total value added up to $12,700.52.

Oprah, it turns out, is as relatable as Trump. Her greed is limitless. As recently as 2014, Winfrey headlined a tour called “The Life You Want Weekend,” charging up to $999 for a VIP upgrade.

As of today, Forbes estimates her net worth at $2.8 billion.

“Thank you for your money,” Winfrey told a crowd in Michigan upon departing. “I know how hard you all work.”

Winfrey’s materialism extends to her Leadership Academy for Girls, which she founded in South Africa over the government’s concerns that the facility was too lavish, too elite and neglectful of the country’s largely poor children. (Only 152 girls were admitted.) She spent $40 million building a school that includes a beauty salon, yoga studio, 200-thread-count sheets and expansive closets, even though the girls were so poor, they owned very few clothes.

Winfrey didn’t care. “These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty,” she proclaimed, “and beauty does inspire.”

Within months of its 2007 opening, Winfrey’s school was embroiled in a child abuse scandal, with at least 15 girls claiming they were victimized. In 2011, the dead body of a newborn was found on school grounds, delivered by a 17-year-old student.

For all her good intentions, it seems she threw millions of dollars at a deep, seemingly intractable problem and walked away.

“I’ve always believed in the girls,” Winfrey told CNN in 2012. “I’ve known that no matter what we’re going through, the girls were worth it.”

If she runs as a Democrat in 2020, Winfrey will be called to answer one of her most controversial statements, a rare one that brushes up against public policy and social stigma: why she hasn’t invested in educating America’s neediest.

“I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going,” she told Newsweek in 2007. “The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

What happens when Oprah explains that statement to the Dems’ most impactful bloc: black voters?