Media Pine for Reality TV Star Billionaire of Their Own


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"Now back to the question we've been asking."

That's a good news hook. So many possibilities. Will Senate Democrats shut down the government again over illegal immigration? Is Iran backing down because Trump is threatening to end sanctions relief? Will the stock market hit another record high?

No, the question for NBC News is, "Will she or won't she?"

The breaking news that Oprah said three weeks before the Golden Globes she would not run for office is the perfect opportunity to spend a nightly news segment hyping the exact opposite. It's not like there was anything else to talk about.

But there's a Twitter hashtag, Kristen Welker informs us, that's been "trending for days."

"After a frenzy of speculation in recent weeks, we're finally hearing again from Oprah Winfrey herself on whether she may run for president," Lester Holt said Thursday evening. "NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker with more now on what Oprah had to say."

In case you hadn't heard, Oprah says running for office is not in her "DNA." But NBC won't let that stop them.

"Calls for an Oprah candidacy have only grown louder," Welker said, referring of course to her friends in the media. "Hashtag #Oprah2020 trending for days. The president himself weighing in."

And of course you can't hype #Oprah2020 without mentioning the very illuminating and important CNN poll that says Trump will "convincingly" lose the election two years from now.

"A recent poll shows the president trailing Oprah 51-42 percent," Welker said. "A TV titan who many Democrats believe could be a strong challenger to take on the former reality TV president, but publicly Oprah has been clear. She's not interested."

I'm old enough to remember when a billionaire "TV titan" running for president was considered a joke—of course, if that billionaire was considering running as a Republican.

The media certainly didn't hype the idea of a Trump candidacy. They scoffed. Take what our friend Chris Cillizza had to say, only four months before Trump rode down that escalator.

"Donald Trump might be serious about running for president. He's still irrelevant," he declared.

"So, let's assume—gulp—that Trump is serious this time around," Cillizza continued. "Heck, while we're at it, let's assume he actually runs. IT. DOESN'T. MATTER."

"I can't emphasize that strongly enough." Of course his reasons were more useless polls and, namely, because Seth Meyers "absolutely destroyed" Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner. He made jokes about Trump's hair.

"The real question is not whether Trump will run or not. The real question is why any of us even care," Cillizza concluded.

Great question! If it's applied to Oprah. Trump actually had issues he was talking about running on—tax reform, the debt, trade—long before he ever threw his hat into the ring.

I don't know what Oprah thinks about any substantive issue, though she is pretty solid on taxes. But that won't stop the media from fawning over a reality TV star billionaire of their own, simply because she would have a "D" after her name.

"So will Oprah keep the door closed? At least not for now," Welker said, with a glimmer of hope in the media's eye.