All in all, Oprah conducted a fair interview with Sarah Palin – and certainly helped to sell Palin’s book. Oprah may be liberal, but she's fair. I truly believe she wants to understand people when she talks to them, regardless of their political persuasion. There was one part, however, that struck me: when she asked Palin, “So you really believe Katie Couric had an agenda…a political agenda?"
Oprah doesn't realize that she revealed her ignorance here. Not only is the question itself akin to asking, "So you really think lemons are yellow?", it was the way Oprah asked it – as though the idea of such a thing borders on stupidity, or is just an attempt to explain Palin’s poor performance during the Palin/Couric interview. I could tell Palin wanted to open her eyes wide and say something to the effect of, “You’re kidding, right?” Naturally, she couldn’t do this as a guest. Instead she politely suggested this might be the case.
The truth is, no matter how friendly an interview might be, the interviewer always has the advantage over the person being interviewed. While Oprah was honest, respectful, and certainly not “out to get” Palin the way Couric and Gibson were (and clearly doesn’t believe her contemporaries are capable of such behavior), her ignorance about the existence of media bias demonstrates a bias in and of itself.
Here’s what Oprah and most Americans don’t know because they’ve never personally been on the receiving end of media bias: When you’re a liberal Democrat and in the limelight – whether you’re an actress, a politician, a talk show host, an author, or just receiving your five minutes of fame – being interviewed by the mainstream media is like having coffee with a friend. It’s enjoyable, fun, and easy. When you’re conservative and being interviewed by the mainstream media, it’s an awful experience. There’s nothing fun, enjoyable, or easy about it. It’s like going into the den with a pack of wolves and you have to be ready with the perfect quip for every charge that’s hurled your way throughout the entire interview. That’s a whole different scenario, one I’m certain few Democrats could handle if the shoe were on the other foot.
Perhaps Sarah Palin doesn’t think well on her feet – or perhaps we just don’t know because we’ve never watched Palin in a true conversational exchange, the way we have whenever Oprah has
Most Americans have no clue what goes on in the media behind the scenes – so they should reserve their judgment about Sarah Palin. If Palin were exactly the way she is – warts and all -- but were a Democrat, her 2008 media campaign would have been like one giant cocktail party. She would have been hailed as the ideal feminist specimen: strong, ambitious, and with a husband at home to boot! Instead she was thrown off guard at every possible moment. And the reality is, when people are trying to trip you up at every moment, most people are going to trip up.
I suspect Sarah Palin once thought as I did: I knew the media wouldn’t be on my side, but I couldn’t have imagined the extent to which they’d go. Once you realize the caliber of the people you’re dealing with, something happens inside you. You’re ready to fight back. In fact, you welcome the chance.
TOMORROW: Sarah Palin Revealed -- Part 2