Oprah on a mission

Dispensing a gospel of health and happiness

The entertainment business is not usually thought of as a missionary enterprise, but talk-show host and media queen Oprah Winfrey is a woman on a mission. It says so right in her magazine’s table of contents: “This month’s mission . . .” The mission themes of the month in O, the Oprah magazine, are not exactly part of orthodox Christianity (“Fun,” “Couples,” “Freedom,” “Strength”), but Oprah does refer to God a lot (as in her April column: “I used to ask God to help me master a new virtue every year”).

At the center of Oprah’s mission, of course, is her daily TV talk show, which entered its 17th season this fall. Amid its hodgepodge of topics—female war correspondents, the decorating challenged, moms who are mean to their kids, crime victims who forgive their assailants, and, oh yes, the quest to lose weight—Oprah stresses a message: Make yourself happy.


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