Idol Chatter

oprahpicforic.jpgTwo big names in the news-talk-entertainment business sent two surprising and completely different signals over the last several days. Oprah Winfrey, perhaps the foremost advocate of opportunities for women, says she will not have Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her show. Bill O’Reilly, perhaps one of the foremost conservative voices on television, hosted Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama on his show on the very night that John McCain was to accept his party’s nomination.
What the heck is going on here?
Oprah Winfrey has never been shy about promoting agendas and people on her show. Eckhart Tolle’s book sales have skyrocketed since receiving Oprah’s endorsement. Oprah’s Book Club has produced fame and fortune for all those fortunate enough to receive her endorsement. Few can forget how the exposure on her show launched Dr. Phil’s career. She’s has been an empowerer of men and women alike. Yet why no love for the decidedly most important new female personality in America?

To be fair, here is her explanation, according to Entertainment Tonight:

“At the beginning of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates,” she said. “I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.”

Such is the dance that Oprah is playing these days. She is leveraging her icon status to support Barack Obama in his candidacy, while saying she’ll keep her TV show–he vehicle which launched her into her status–free from the campaign. I wonder if non-democrat women will notice.
Meanwhile, O’Reilly was confronted with a dilemma last week, when Obama–who had previously declined the standing invitation to be on his show–offered an interview on the very night that John McCain was to make his acceptance speech from the Republican National Convention.
At a time when Oprah is choosing a storyline which helps her achieve her political agenda, O’Reilly seemingly chose to work against his conservative personal agenda for the sake of either the service his show provides, or the show itself. Either way, it’s an interesting turn of events. O’Reilly seems to be the more “open” media leader in this case, while “Oprah” is the one more narrowly focused on her political agenda. Who’da thunk it?!

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