Why is Chicago still hung up on Oprah?

Oprah Sun-Times

A few days ago, Oprah Winfrey announced she put her Harpo Studios up for sale. The facility, which hasn’t been used much since her talk show ended in 2011, could fetch over a million bucks in the real estate market.

On Thursday, the Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg slammed her for not being “Chicago” enough, or something.

Great article. If it were still 2011. Or even 2009.

Back then – when Oprah still called Chicago home, yours truly paid a “tribute” to Oprah for all she did here in Chicago.

Or to put it more accurately, what she didn’t do. Like hire more minorities to work in her production company. Or reach out to Chicago’s African-American community (even Judge Mathis and Steve Harvey, who have TV shows shot here, have done so.) Or even attend John H. Johnson’s funeral – the man who founded Ebony and Jet magazines right here in Chicago and was a pioneering African-American businessman in the media business, well before Oprah did.

While Steinberg was sort-of spot on with the article, it should have been enough. But no. He had to retweet it every hour. He had to appear on Windy City Live to talk about it. He had to engage in Twitter wars with tools to get his point across. It’s all about him, not Oprah with his Jay Mariotti-like prowlness.

So why Steinberg decided to write a hit piece on Oprah? Because it gets him press. It gets him appearances on talk shows. It has people calling up WGN Radio talking about it. As long as it his name that appears among Oprah’s. What he wrote Thursday was a complete, total rehash of an article I wrote four years ago.

While his opinion reflects Chicago media’s relationship with Oprah – quite frosty, in 2013 it’s sounding like a person who still bitterly complains about his/her ex and how he/she wronged him/her. It’s kind of pathetic.

Oprah Winfrey has moved on.

And so should Chicago.

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