“Should I be worried?” Oprah Winfrey asked coyly at the end of her interview with Sarah Palin, alluding to rumors that the former Alaska governor might be interested in doing a talkshow.
Winfrey was being polite, but she can rest easy.
There was nothing particularly surprising about the hour. Winfrey was gracious to a fault, and she’s terrific at helping her guests sell a product — in this case, two of them: Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue: An American Life,” and Palin herself.
The only flashes came from Palin, who in addition to being inarticulate — at least, in the context of politics or, yes, a TV talkshow — also contradicted herself in talking about “the critics,” “haters” and the double standard toward women, then engaging in many of the same excesses.
Palin, for example, kept insisting that she’d been held to a different standard in TV interviews, and that CBS’ Katie Couric was consciously looking to discredit her. Then Palin petulantly referred to Couric as “the perky one,” about as dismissive a term as could be applied to an anchorwoman.
So what does that make Charles Gibson, who also exposed Palin’s lack of preparedness on ABC? The Viagra-y one?
Palin also states that she had no idea the Couric interview would be a “seminal defining moment” for her role in the campaign, as Winfrey rightly characterized it, but then talked at length about how she knew the interview was going badly and that even she wouldn’t be impressed with her based on what she saw. Well which is it?
Winfrey didn’t press her on these matters — that’s not what she does, unless you get her to peddle a bogus memoir — but she carefully led Palin through the highlights of her book, giving Palin plenty of rope. For all that, she still had trouble tying a knot.
Winfrey also seems to understand what’s unique about celebrity, saying that Palin could never again be an ordinary citizen. By contrast, Palin lauded Oprah for what she’s accomplished despite being a “normal American woman.”
Oprah is a lot of things, but I’m not sure “normal” is the first adjective I’d apply to her — unless I was looking to “go rogue.”