From the Chicago NBC affiliate:
Sarah Palin is eyeing a talk show, according to audience members who witnessed the former VP candidate’s interview with Oprah today.
Oprah asked Palin directly whether she wanted to get into the talk show business. Palin demurred and, according to audience members interviewed outside the studio, suggested she was considering the move. Palin did not give a direct yes or no answer.
In addition, at least one audience member noticed tension between Oprah and Palin.
Oprah ” kept on her and on her,” said Lauren Espie of Oprah’s inquiries into Palin’s plans to host a talk show. But Palin “bluntly never responded.”
(Put aside questions of how one can “bluntly never respond” for a moment.)
It’s Sarah’s life, but I hope she doesn’t opt for this avenue. I’m sure the allure of a daily audience, interesting guests, and lucrative paychecks is hard to resist, but I’m not quite sure it moves the ball in the right direction for conservatism as a whole.
If she did pursue a career behind a microphone, she would be the third Republican candidate from 2008 to jump into the talk show business behind Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. (There were reports of Rudy Giuliani hosting a radio show after the 2008 campaign, but it never went beyond talks.)
There’s a role for everybody in this world, but we’re at a moment where conservatism needs its best players reaching out to audiences beyond the friendly confines of the talk radio world or Fox News. Yes, Fox News has the largest audience of any cable news network – 2.7 million in prime time, while MSNBC’s second place is only 962,000. But the cable news audience is only a small portion of the audience as a whole; the nightly news audience recently measured from 6.3 million (Brian Williams) to 4.6 million (Katie Couric). Fox News is a treasure, but there’s a large audience beyond it that much more rarely encounters conservative ideas or perspectives.
Former congressman John Kasich is a case where the figures are moving in the right direction – from a Fox News weekend show to a strong challenge to an incumbent Democratic governor. (And perhaps we’ll see Lou Dobbs looking at some non-broadcasting options.) But if you think hosting a talk radio or television program is, in and of itself, an art form, and that governing is a different skill set, then perhaps it’s not healthy for conservatism’s biggest names and brightest stars to be steadily drifting from one field to the next.