Oprah still loves discussing info, ideas

Feb. 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she decided to start her OWN network instead of retiring because she wants to continue sharing ideas and information.

Winfrey made the comments Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

Asked on the show why she started up the OWN network instead of taking a "victory lap" after "The Oprah Winfrey Show" wraps up its 25-year run this year, Winfrey replied, "Because I love the platform."

"As you know, there's nothing like it for sharing ideas, for sharing information," she said. "And I think that the landscape is not so good out there for a lot of television. So I wanted to be able to continue with the plan to be able to be a force for good in the world and be able to say meaningful things."

Talking about what separates her syndicated chat show from others, Winfrey recalled making a decision in the 1990s about the kind of show she wanted to have after she interviewed skinheads from the Ku Klux Klan.

"There was a moment during a commercial break where one of them said, 'Get her,'" Winfrey remembered. "And I made a decision that I was not going to use the platform for anything that I thought would not bring a little piece of light into people's lives.

"And I realized that while I think I'm interviewing the skinheads and I'm showing how egregious they can be and all that, that really I'm giving them a voice. And so I made a decision that when I'm going to use this platform, I'm going to use it to give a voice for that which I think can be helpful to people. So that was -- that made all the difference. At the time, a lot of my affiliates were like, well, don't tell people you're going to take the high road."

Winfrey admitted one of her gifts is her ability to put herself in her viewers' places.

"As much stuff as I've been able to acquire, materialistically, I'm not defined by it," she said. "And I still hold myself as the surrogate viewer. I, even better than my producers, and I say I have the best team, I, even better than them, I can put myself in the place of the viewer."

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