Wow. Oprah taking a stand for literary integrity? Who'da thunk it?
In a stunning switch from dismissive to disgusted, Oprah Winfrey took on one of her chosen authors, James Frey, accusing him on live television of lying about A Million Little Pieces and letting down the many fans of his memoir of addiction and recovery.
"I feel duped," she said Thursday on her syndicated talk show. "But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers." Frey, who found himself booed in the same Chicago studio where he had been embraced not long ago, acknowledged that he had lied.
But don't get too excited. Oprah still understands on which side her bread is buttered (emphasis added):
Winfrey's words also were harsher than her actions. She did not revoke her endorsement, which would have been publishing's version of the death penalty. Only once before has she turned, relatively mildly, on a book club pick: In 2001, she withdrew her invitation for Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, to appear on her show after the novelist expressed ambivalence over her endorsement.
So ... finding out a book is a pack of lies isn't enough to yank its endorsement, but being dissed by an author is enough to cancel his appearance on her show. Good old Oprah. It's still all about her, isn't it?