From Black Voices — Oprah Winfrey is running a contest called “My Own Show Contest,” which helps Oprah-wannabes compete for a chance to have their own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The contest is a great promotional tool for the new network, built on the problematic use of the hopes and dreams of those who may not understand how the entertainment industry actually works.
Personally, I admit that I never believe these contests to be truly fair, since some of them are decided before they even begin. I am not saying that this is the case with Oprah, but it happens more often than you think. Oprah was recently accused of rigging her contest in favor of an African American teacher. Zach Anner, a disabled comedian, was a strong favorite in the contest until June 22, 2010, when the second place candidate, Dr. Phyllis, received over 300,000 votes in just one hour. Geekosystem reported that there were irregularities in her voting, since she was getting multiple votes for every one vote she actually received. Dr. Phyllis is also black, which makes the controversy that much more troubling for Oprah and her audience.
Apparently, there were some who investigated the vote button codes for Dr. Phyllis and Zach Anner, finding that the term “EID” was used. It was initially believed that “EID” stood for “Employee Identification.” But it later turned out that it stood for “Entity Identification.” So, the theory that Oprah’s employees were the ones driving the vote change was nixed pretty quickly.
Another reason that it doesn’t appear that Oprah cheated anyone is that the contest rules don’t automatically allow the winner to be the person with the highest number of votes. Actually, the top five finalists are evaluated by a panel of judges, who make the final decision.