Is The Drudge Report's claim that Oprah Winfey "banned" Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin from her show a planted fabrication, intended to divert attention from the McCain campaign's refusal to allow Palin do any interviews with anyone? [See Time Magazine's website.]
Launched with breathless unattributed Drudge quotes -- "One executive close to Winfrey is warning any Palin ban could ignite a dramatic backlash!" -- , the original Drudge story's tracks are quickly being covered over. The main link for it on The Drudge Report now takes you to other news outlets' coverage, but look closely. The stories to which Drudge links are quoting... Drudge.
Meanwhile, Winfrey's actual response is spun elsewhere to give the story new legs. Coverage like this from the Los Angeles Times website make it sound as though there's an Oprah ban targeting Palin instead of an across-the-board decision not to have any of the candidates appear during the election cycle.
Oprah Winfrey: "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."
Let's fact check. Has Senator Obama been on Oprah since he declared his candidacy ? Has Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden been on her show ? The answer to both questions is "no"; those facts lend credibility to Winfrey's response. Obama appeared on her program in January 2005 and again in October of 2006. He declared his candidacy in Febuary of 2007.
As a reporter, would I like to see Governor Palin on Oprah? Absolutely. I was once a 14 year old kid who spent the waning days of summer vacation before starting high school watching the 1968 political conventions on TV. In my first summer of cable TV, I enjoyed watching C-SPAN's live coverage of the congressional debate over the impact on farmers of Daylight Saving Time. Media criticism? I love it, but I have little patience for disingenuous "blame the media" games.
McCain Campaign Tells Fox News Palin Won't Do Interviews Until It Knows She'll Be Treated With "Deference"
Palin To Sit Down With ABC News' Charlie Gibson