Oprah Winfrey doesn't want to interview Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, even though her audience of mostly women, 25-54, would seemingly eat up such an meeting.
But, hey -- she's Oprah. And due to her very public endorsement of Barack Obama, she's had a very public moratorium on interviewing any political candidates during this election period.
Would a Palin interview help ratings? Oh, yeah. But Oprah's coming from the place of someone who doesn't really need ratings, or more advertising money. All this is not to say that she won't interview Palin after the election.
We know journalists also have opinions and political preferences. We get that from watching the likes of those people on Fox News and MSNBC. Still, whatever they believe -- the good ones, the bad ones, even the mediocre ones -- they all want the best interviews, even if they disagree with the person's viewpoint.
Palin supporters view this as perhaps a sexist decision by Oprah, surely a political one. One thing you can't say about her in this regard: It is not a business decision. Ratings have been down on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" somewhat. But that has been true for most of syndication for some time.
Would viewers rally for Oprah her should she change her mind? Yes.
This isn't the way journalists -- or those very vocal political opinion-aters -- on the likes of MSNBC and Fox News view the world, no matter leaning left or right. They don't shy away from much, with both softball and hardball inquiries.
The question isn't really whether Oprah is a journalist. The question is whether TV viewers feel Oprah is obligated to interview Palin because of the institution she is -- and not just with women.