Kicked to the front. The few public figures who had the guts and brains to oppose the war before it happened deserve credit for it because at the time it truly did require bravery for a public figure. – Ian
I found this fascinating information on-line:
Oprah did more to try to prevent America from going to war than anyone else in mainstream media. As early as the Fall of 2001 she did a show called “Is War the Only Answer?” Unfortunately that shows sparked the worst and most vicious hate mail of her career. Then a few months later when she declined an invitation to go to Afghanistan with Bush, people were furious that she would defy a sitting president during a time of war. All of this made her extremely fearful to dissent and for a while her show was extremely careful not to be seen as unpatriotic and she even allowed pro-war voices to appear on her show. But in October 2002 a woman in her audience questioned the propaganda the media was feeding them. At first Oprah thought the woman was a bit nutty and dismissed her, but a few weeks later she decided the woman was right.
By November 2002, Oprah gathered enough courage to do a show challenging her audience to question their government’s foreign policy. The show was praised by anti-war activist Michael Moore and he was so impressed he begged Oprah to run for president. Then on February 6 & 7 2003, while the rest of the media was praising Collin Powell’s United Nation’s speech, Oprah told her audience that now more than ever was the time to speak out. It was a crucial time to speak out because public opinion had been against the war prior to Powell’s speech. Oprah showed clips from average people all over the world begging America not to go to war. She showed clips of Nelson Mandella & Pope John Paul II denouncing war. She interviewed the founder of Patriots for Peace. She hosted a debate between Thomas Friedman and anti-war activist Jessica Mathews who informed her audience that there were no links between Saddam and Al Quada & even Friedman conceded that Iraq was not a security threat to the U.S. And the end of the debate Oprah agreed with Mathews that the case for war had not been made. The show was so anti-war that it was allegedly taken off the air half way through in some markets.
Amazingly Oprah continued to air dissent right up until 2 days before the war began. On March 18, 2003 she invited anti-war Middle East professor Fawaz Gerges and spent an entire segment showing shocking antiwar clips from Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine followed by anti-war commentary from Moore.
Oprah did everything in her power short of career suicide to prevent a war. Donahue spoke out against war too, but he had a tiny audience on MSNBC. Oprah was the ONLY major media to join the anti-war movement and she deserves an enormous amount of credit for that. Not only is she a symbol of the American dream and the most philanthropic African-American of all time, but she was on the right side of history too.
More details in the links provided:
Viewer reactions to anti-war show she did on October 2001:
Viewer reactions to two-day anti-war show she did the day after Powell’s UN speech:
Viewer reaction to anti-war show she did in early March 2003:
Viewer reaction to anti-war show she did 40 hours before the war: