JAMES FREY LIAR, OPRAH BUYER, DOUBLEDAY HIGHER, PUBLIC DIRE
I don't know if you've been keeping up with all the noise and emotion around James Frey, author of "A Million Little Pieces" and victim of The Smoking Gun's truth and sleuth reporting, but this has turned into an amusing drama.
Frey writes this "nonfiction" book, gets on Oprah, she cries and loves it, her October 26, 2005 show propels Frey's book to the top of The New York Times bestseller list, it sells almost 2 million copies because of Oprah, Frey gets rich, Doubleday's revenue increases, and the world is a happier place.
Then The Smoking Gun (bless them:) reveals its investigative story on January 8, 2006, "A Million Little Lies," exposing James Frey for the liar, lunatic, and loser that he is.
What does Oprah do? She tried to keep the shine on her honor by defending James Frey by calling in on his interview with Larry King (who throws softballs once again. why is he considered such a great interviewer? maybe i missed his early years, but he doesn't ask the hard questions or the right questions.). She did the expected response of an executive of a company, but not the right thing. When more information came out and the heat rose, then she got Frey on her show for a public tongue lashing. A bit late, but the right move by Oprah to save face and the credibility of her book club.
My question is what is Frey and Doubleday going to do? The right thing in my opinion is to return most, if not all, of the money from the book sales to the people that bought it. Or take the profits and donate it to an institute that helps cure pathologic liars or recovering losers. Anyway, here are some more articles and commentary on this story:
"Oprah exacts her pound of flesh" by LA Times' Tim Rutten.
"Did Nan Talese Lie To Oprah?" by Slate's Timothy Noah.
"Questions for Others in Frey Scandal" by The NY Times' Edward Wyatt.
"One more reason to love Oprah" by Freakonomics Blog's Steven D. Levitt.
FoxTrot by Bill Amend