Sarah Palin Revealed -- Part 1

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 Hollywood starlets visit her set. I don’t know whether or not Sarah Palin would make a good candidate for anything, quite frankly; but as someone who’s been on the receiving end of media bias, I have never questioned Palin’s intelligence based upon her performance during an interview. When my first book (about the importance of the traditional family) was published, my first introduction to the insidiousness of media bias was when Glamour magazine told its readers not to read my book. From there it was a steady stream of vitriol. CNN ambushed me in what was supposed to be a straight, friendly interview and instead brought on the program the CEO of Working Mother magazine to try and make me look like a fool – which I would have welcomed (not the fool part, but the debate) had I had the same heads-up the CEO did. Instead, anchor Carol Lin told me right before we went on the air that my book “stirred up all the women at CNN.”

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

4 Responses to “Sarah Palin Revealed -- Part 1”:

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Do you really think Oprah is so naive as to believe Couric didn't have an agenda? I really have to disagree. Oprah threw her support behind Obama in every way she could and pretended not to. I think she knew exactly what was going on with Couric and knows now that Palin is a threat to the liberal left so she's still playing the game.
    If you want to see Palin in a real interview situation where she's neither pandered to nor set up, watch her with O'Reilly:

  2. You know what? I really do think Oprah is that naive. I do. I think that's what the liberal bubble is all about: not even seeing bias for what it is. Read Bernard Goldberg's book Bias and see what you think. Of course I could be wrong, but I do believe Oprah honestly doesn't think Couric had an agenda that day.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would not even call it naive, I would call it ignorance. A liberal-elitist-ignorance. I agree with Suzanne that she really does not belive that Couric had an agenda. But it is because she agrees with Couric's political views and the liberal elite (of which Oprah is a part) will never believe that there is a bias.

  4. Terro says:

    I think this is an example of "cognitive dissonance." True blue liberals are incapable of rationally dealing with conservative beliefs...and in turn, conservatives are often truly shocked at the interpretations given their words.

    Years ago i ran for city council in a small and politically split community in Washington state. Naturally I ran because I believed change was necessary; I was taken aback when the local media described me not by my platform, but as someone who spoke with "an angry voice." This was simply disposing of policy discussion via an ad hominem attack. Sarah Palin was crucified in similar fashion in the national media. I'm also not sure I'd support her for a presidential run in 2012, but I hope she will persevere and force the media to treat her seriously with respect.