Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta


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The Oprah-mo: Never Forget

Oprah has apparently decided that her coming out as a liberal Democrat has negatively affected her audience size—and more importantly, diminished the warm and fuzzy of OWN (her fledgling television channel). reported that the billionaire will not publicly support Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign.

It turned out that a chunk of her audience didn’t care for her leap into politics in hosting a rally for Obama in 2008. According to Popeater:

An October 2008 Gallup poll before the rallies but after Oprah’s public endorsement of Obama found that Oprah’s favorable ratings had fallen from 74 to 66 percent while her unfavorable ratings jumped from 17 to 26 percent. Then came news that Oprah’s TV ratings showed that her daytime audience, which was nearly 9 million at its height in 2004-05, had fallen to 7.3 million.

That’s apparently causing fresh problems, as Popeater reports:

“For 2012, much has changed for Oprah. She now has own cable channel called OWN that has been struggling to find an audience — she isn’t going to do anything to alienate them,” a TV insider tells me.

BET, however, in its short online report, wanted to totally, completely assure its online readers that this lack of visible support would in no way be a real lack of support, saying “Winfrey is still a huge fan of the president” and “Oprah still has admiration for Obama.”

They conclude:

But, as generous as Winfrey has been to her staff, talk-show audiences and charities over the years, it’s probably safe to assume that Obama will still have Oprah’s financial support in his 2012 reelection bid.

So even though it is well known that Oprah supports Obama, and as BET says, undoubtedly privately and financially supports him, she simply hopes her viewers are stupid enough to forget that and be wowed by giveaways.

But Oprah’s endorsement of Obama was not her only foray into partisan politics. Let us not forget that just last year, on September 21, Oprah publicly encouraged her fans to attend Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Insanity—an open mockery of the Glenn Beck Restore Honor rally held just weeks earlier.

Celebrities don’t get to jump in and out of the political arena whenever it seems fun or frivolous to them. If you are going to take a stand, set your standard atop the Alamo, fine. Just know that it will cost you part of your audience. And later, you don’t get to act like it never happened, if it becomes inconvenient to your bottom line.

There was once talk of the Oprah Mo, the momentum her endorsement gave to Obama. Never forget the Oprah-mo.


Two-Tweet Twinterview #1: @jayrosen_nyu on Jon Stewart Rally

This week, the Prudence Paine Papers kicks off a new series: the Twinterview. We’ll be talking with news makers and news reporters. The four-question interviews will be short and sweet—complete in just two tweets.

Our first (accidental) interview was with Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU and director of its Studio 20 program. His personal website is

On October 23, Rosen tweeted about Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and a request that had been made of him:

Weirdly, a powerful op-ed editor asked me to do a piece begging Jon Stewart to call off his rally as a mistake. I said no.

That peaked my interest. I tweeted him back:


He replied:

Why, @PruPaine? Do you mean: Why would such an editor ask me to write a piece asksing Stewart to call it off? Or why did I say no? Or…

Exactly! Yes. And thus the “4 questions in 140 characters/4 answers in 140 characters” Twitter interview (Twinterview) was born.

Here we go:

Twinterview #1 Questions: @JayRosen_NYU

Four Questions for @JayRosen_NYU

Twinterview #1 Answers: @JayRosen_NYU

Four Answers from @JayRosen_NYU

We will find out today whether it was contrarianism or wise advice.

Thanks to Professor Rosen for participating in this Q & A.