Oprah slaps down James Frey

I normally don't watch The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oh, I occasionally catch part of it when my wife watches it, as it's on at 7 PM on one station in our market, but I don't generally watch it. But I really wish I had seen this episode here, when Oprah slapped down dissembling "memoirist" James Frey for his making up a large part of his supposed memoir A Million Little Pieces and lambasting his publisher for not doing even the most rudimentary fact checking, all the while apologizing to her viewers for having been taken in.

As enjoyable as the spectacle might have been, I can see one consequence of this dustup that I don't look forward to seeing. Recently, Oprah picked Elie Wiesel's book about Auschwitz Night as her next Book Club selection. I can already see the Holocaust deniers chomping at the bit to take James Frey's exaggerations and made-up incidents being represented as nonfiction and use them to attack Elie Wiesel's book about Auschwitz. It's coming.

Just wait.


  1. Unfortunately there's already the precedent of the Binjamin Wilkomirski debacle a few years back.

  2. I'm afraid you're probably going to be right.

    I have my own personal take on Oprah these days anyway. I find her support of Frey and then her 180 to be nothing more than a case of business CYA. First she supported him to defend her book club status, then turned around and flamed him because of the backlash. Don't get me wrong, I think what Frey did was absolutely unethical, however, I find it difficult to believe her motives are all on high ground these days. She knew she'd get great ratings on this latest show, so she capitalized on it and she needed as I said to cover her butt for her initial, ludicrous support.

    I don't buy into her at all. She's an amazing businesswoman first and foremost and a GREAT talk show host, but people have made her into some strange morality icon.


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