So Oprah Winfrey feels duped by author James Frey, writer of the so called memoir, A Million Little Pieces. "But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers." she added yesterday as she ripped her previously favoured author a new one.
Oprah's surprising about face came only a week after she phoned in her support for the beleaguered author on "The Larry King Show". Ever since the story was broken a couple of weeks ago that James Frey's "memoir" of a life of crime and drug addiction was more fact than fiction, Oprah had stood by her man.
She was the one who catapulted him to fame in the first place. When she gave A Million Little Pieces her sticker of approval by making it a selection of the Oprah Book Club it was guaranteed massive best seller status. Frey himself was given the full Oprah treatment; cried over, praised and built up into some kind of one-man model of redemption. If he can come back from the edge of destruction, than anybody can.
So what caused Oprah to do such a full about face? The only thing that could make her change her mind: bad publicity for Oprah. All last week, she and her people had been receiving emails from disgruntled fans asking her how she could continue to support somebody who was such an obvious liar. Her fans, her ratings, and maybe her advertisers had spoken…James Frey had to be dropped like a hot potato.
He had committed the most unspeakable of crimes; he was making Oprah look bad. In fact, she was looking like an idiot for endorsing, supporting, and making a hero out of some guy who lived in a fantasy world of what a hard case he had been.
Last week, she was claiming that emotional truth mattered more than facts; this week. she was saying that she had left the impression that truth wasn't important and blamed people who supported the book for clouding her judgment with all the emails they sent her. I wonder how many people who read and supportedA Million Little Pieces continued to do so only because she herself had initially endorsed it and continued to do so publicly until yesterday?
Poor Oprah, a victim of her own success at huckstering; she had convinced so many people of the veracity of this book that they wrote in to tell her how much they believed in it, and her. With all those endorsements based on her endorsement ringing in her ears, how could she tell the difference between right from wrong?