Oprah Winfrey (Wikipedia Commons)
Recently, Her Highness Oprah Winfrey annexed Jenny McCarthy (FoI #4) into her Empire, amid howls of derision from those who love science, reason, modern medicine, and not contracting preventable infectious diseases. 

Jenny is not the only example of Oprah's poor record on medical issues, which includes Suzanne Somers and "bioidentical" hormone replacement therapy, Dr. Christine Nothrup (an alternative medicine advocate) and thyroid disease, and Dr. Mehmet Oz (also an alternative medicine advocate), who, in less well known plans, will get his own Oprah produced daily talk show this fall.

Oprah's nomination to The Festival of Idiots was essentially written by the folks at Skeptimedia in "Why Oprah (& Millions of Her Fans) Loves Jenny McCarthy".  To rehash their arguments would be repetitive and steal their thunder, but we will summarize for the lazy or overly trusting, or both.  Oprah, like the rest of us plebs, is susceptible to the sweet nectar of confirmation bias.  She enjoys surrounding herself with people who do not challenge her preconceived notions, like Mehmet Oz, Phil McGraw, Suzzane Somers, and Jenny McCarthy. 

But, The Festival admissions oligarchs realized that there is another possible explanation: Oprah Winfrey, Evil Genius.

If the nouveau riche aen't smart, why is Warren Buffet always being asked for his opinion?  Oprah is a multimedia mogul, gives away cars for fun, and controls the reading habits of 35% of American women 35-55 (all statistics fabricated, yet believable).  This is not the resume of a twit.

So, how does syndicating Jenny McCarthy fit into her plan and why is said plan evil? 

The Oprahic Empire is built around the talk show.  The talk show is built around human interest stories.  The best talk shows have the best human interest stories.  Ergo, as the Empire expands, the number of quality human interest stories will also need to expand.  Unfortunately, thanks to science-based medicine, quality human interest stories have been in decline.  Kids in the United States these days die with alarming infrequency. 

Using the bully pulpit of television to incite fear about vaccine safety (or will she?), Jenny McCarthy has the potential to encourage parents to avoid vaccinations creating plenty of talk show fodder in the form of innocent children suffering from preventable infectious diseases.  Is Oprah, like a good general (e.g., people who have not invaded Russia), making sure her supply lines are secure?
Take solace, TV audience, Oprah must have faith in your intelligence and believe that you will not all take McCarthy to heart.  If preventable infectious diseases become common again, the stories of tragic deaths of innocent children will no longer be quality human interest stories.  They will be common; and common does not get ratings.

Fortunately for Oprah, The Festival is a pragmatic entity that only cares about results.  Idiotic behavior, whether motivated by pure, honest, hard-working American idiocy or the manifestation of the machinations of an evil genius, is idiotic behavior.  And, that will get you a one way ticket to The Festival of Idiots.

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