Monday, August 11, 2008

Oprah joins Dr. Phil for his 1000th show

Today (Aug. 11), Dr. Phil broadcast his 1000th show. It appeared to be a repeat. For much of the show, Oprah Winfrey joined him on the large stage with the blue background. Chairs were brought in and they crossed their legs. Oprah said that they were the only two major daily shows whose hosts “own themselves.” That comment sounded like a monument to personal sovereignty.

Oprah thanked Dr. Phil for accompanying her to Texas in 1998 when the Texas cattlemen sued her for libel for suggesting a connection between Texas cattle and mad cow disease, on a 1996 show. The plaintiffs lost that suit, and, as Oprah repeated today, “Free speech rocks.” CNN and US News still have the story of the verdict, here. The case is thought to have set a reassuring precedent.

In the second half of the show, Dr. Phil recapped some of the people he has “helped,” including Brandon, who now has a steady job and works 55 hours a week. They made mention of “Man Camp” and probably the “Dr. Phil House” where a guest’s “privacy” will be invaded.

Dr. Phil has recently asked for viewers who have been defamed on the Internet to submit stories and apply to be on the show. This would include students or perhaps teachers who have been disciplined in school systems because of their social networking site pages.

Most of Dr. Phil’s “guests” exhibit rather extreme behaviors, and rather gross failures to keep marital promises or other kinds of obviously wrong acts. To my knowledge, Dr. Phil has not gone into some of the more subtle “moral” problems that we face yet that are beyond our control with choice, such as eldercare. I wish he would. I sent him an email about this late last year.

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