Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oprah versus Sarah

Oprah has decided to have Sarah Palin on her show, in spite of her refusal to do so during last year's election race. Fox News reports, that the former Alaskan governor will appear on the talkshow November 16, to promote her new book,"Going Rogue: An American Life."

The decision is one of the "hot topics" of the day, with many "news junkies" saying Palin should refuse to do the show since she was snubbed last year. Meanwhile, Oprah continues to be criticized by political conservatives for being so public about her support of President Obama, and her ignoring Palin when she was on the campaign trail. ( It should be noted that the president appeared on the show twice, but it was several years before his white house bid.)

To be honest, I'm surprised anyone cares about this story, and I was more suprised this morning, when so many had a comment. It's obvious to most, that Oprah's support gave a huge "fist bump" to the president, but I'm not convinced that she's the reason he won. (Frankly, I don't think he would have won, had the economy not crashed last October, as John McCain called for more of the same, in regards to saving the housing industry.)

As a former radio newsdirector and talk show host, my personal policy was to take an "all or nothing" approach in regards to having political guests on my program, especially during election cycles. I usually invited "all" candidates because I think the media functions to inform the public about the people and issues who shape their world. On that point, I can understand why the conservatives are saying that it's "too little to late," in regards to Palin's appearance, because Oprah was so publically supportive of the Obama campaign.

On the other hand, Palin has a book to sell, and may very well be back in the political arena in the future, so she is sure to offer a ratings boost which is a big plus for the advertisers who sponsor the show. Basically, the election is over and Palin has a core group of supporters who would love to see her on daytime television so Oprah booking her makes sense.

Perhaps the bigger issue lies in why so many of us are flooding the network blog sites and airwaves with comments about one guest on one talk show, and whether or not we think she should be there. It's ultimately Oprah's show and she can have any guest she wants to have. Meanwhile,there is still a war going on, a healthcare crisis, and VP Joe Biden (God forbid!) meeting with Polish leaders about our removing our missle defense system from that country. These are the issues that shape our lives, not Sarah Palin being on Oprah. Even so, we get all jazzed about a former media darling who is paving the way for another run for the white house. I guess we really would prefer to live in the "glow" of celebrity, instead of dealing with the harsh realities of our troubled world.

So, mark your calendars for Nov. 16, plan to call out sick from work that day, and enjoy Palin's moment in the spotlight, that is Oprah. The war will still be going on after the fact, and it doesn't appear our domestic problems will disappear anytime soon. Remember, if anyone challenges you by asking if you really care enough to be glued to your TV that day, you can always get in the spirit, and join the millions of other Americans who will likely be saying, "You Betcha."

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