Opinion Brief

Oprah vs. Zach Anner?

The nascent Oprah Winfrey Network is accused of rigging a contest in order to thwart the TV dreams of a wheelchair-bound young man. Really?

Charming wheelchair-bound Zach Anner was the easy frontrunner in Oprah Winfrey's "Your OWN Show" contest — a web-based vote-off designed to find "the next big TV star" — until last Tuesday, when a sudden surge in votes for fellow contestant Phyllis Tucker-Wicks temporarily pushed him out first place. Anner fans — which include musician John Mayer and the shady internet provocateurs at 4chan — immediately cried foul, with some web-savvy bloggers offering purported evidence that someone at OWN rigged the vote. Is there any reason to believe them? Something was undeniably weird with the voting, says Amanda Fox in Helium. And while it's too soon to "make accusations that this all happened because Oprah demanded it," that's "still possible." Er, not really, says Julie Ryan Evans at The Stir. The idea that Oprah "hate[s] the handicapped" is pretty absurd. Sounds "like a technical glitch to me... or some good viral PR by Dr. Phyllis." See Zach Anner's video below:

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