Oprah’s loyal fans, or at least some of them, are in an uproar over her alleged refusal to have Palin on her show (new season begins on September 15th). A recent Drudge Report report prompted this statement from the media mogul:
“The item in today’s Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. 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. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.” – Oprah Winfrey, September 5, 2008
A quick view of the Oprah Show message board (to read more you have to log in, which means you have to be a registered member, which I’m not, not that there’s anything wrong with that) reveals a string of disappointed and outright angry responses to O’s statement:
From the viewer with the “All People Are Included in Jesus” avatar:
“You mean the subject hasn’t even come up? You mean that some of the staff don’t want her on? BTW When you campaign for a person you ARE using your show politically because The Oprah show is why you have the clout to campaign. That being said… Obama ’08”
From an irked viewer:
“I disassociate myself with anything Oprah from now on. You truly irked me when you threw Obama to the media forefront for your own personal gain and to suffocate us with your political position. It comes across as your nauseating love for the man started just because he’s black.”
From a conservative, independent viewer:
“Oprah, are you serious? This statement is a slap in the face of all women, especially conservative and independent. You’re better than that.”
Yes, it’s a bit of a hard sell to say that you refuse to use your show as a platform for any candidate after helping launch Obama into presidential primary success. But, why so much anger, really?
Then it hit me: many of Oprah’s viewers are willing to tolerate Oprah’s blackness now and again. She can drop into a country twang, talk about how “black don’t crack,” or have a charming Illinois senator who might run for president on her show, sometimes.
But, much like those conservatives who don’t want to “kick the gays,” Oprah’s legion of white, conservative women viewers don’t like it when her difference is forced upon them – they don’t want to be suffocated by it.
For these viewers, Palin on Oprah would make up for all the times they let her be black, even though it makes them feel like outsiders.
Palin on Oprah would prove to these viewers that Oprah sees herself as a woman first.
Palin on Oprah would prove that, in the end, she’s really one of them.