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Why Oprah’s Interview with Harry and Meghan Matters

From Tom Jones, writing for Poynter…

Why should we care? What’s the big deal? Don’t we have more important things to worry about than some soap opera half a world away?

That was the general feeling among many following Sunday night’s Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Millions of Americans tuned in and did care, but a quick glance of social media suggested that millions of others could not have cared less. They saw the interview as a complete waste of time — spoiled rich people complaining about other spoiled rich people.

Why should Americans care about the royal family when we have people still dying of COVID-19? Instead of talking about people of privilege, shouldn’t we be concentrating on those who desperately need financial help? Forget the queen, tell me when I’m going to be vaccinated!

First off, let’s get this out of the way: We are all capable of following more than one story at a time. Paying attention to the interview doesn’t mean we completely ignore everything else.

But, as far as the royal interview, certainly, going in, there was a bit of a gossipy feel to it, which made it feel as if we were giving importance to something that really wasn’t important. But as the interview played out, as our jaws dropped listening to the stunning revelations, and after we were able to digest and comprehend all that we heard, we quickly realized that the interview did matter. It was important. It wasn’t just fluff.

This wasn’t about how to curtsy or yelling at staff because a salad fork had spots. Or trying to figure out who made who cry.

This was about race. It was about the media’s coverage of race. It was about how a nation handles issues of race.

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