Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why I Don't Feel Sorry For Oprah

In 2002, after feeling snubbed by author Jonathan Franzen (who stated he was uncomfortable with the "corporate endorsement" of his book), Oprah Winfrey childishly declared "It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share." She then stopped regularly featuring relatively new fiction releases in her Oprah Book Club. She didn't want to admit it, but she was embarrassed by the perceived snub from Franzen.

For a while, there were no Oprah picks, and then she alighted on a "novel" concept and began featuring classics. This didn't go over well with the public, so she switched gears and decided to focus on "serious" works, like memoirs.

Once again, reading Oprah picks became hip. That is, until it was revealed that the author just might be a bit of a Fibber McGee.

Oprah - for whatever reason: embarrassment, pride, you name it - decided to stand by Frey. Sure, she might have sounded a little disappointed to the listener, but she stood by her choice... and Frey's embellishment.

Unlike the Franzen snub that resulted in a complete overhaul of the Oprah Book Club, which was just accepted without question, the Frey support incensed viewers and fans. The evidence was clear: Frey lied. After a deluge of letters, emails and calls, Oprah could ignore it no more. She decided to interview Frey herself.

"Alternately fighting back tears and displaying vivid anger," Oprah supposedly lit into Frey, obviously more upset about her reputation and gullible acceptance of the book's story than Frey's untruthfulness.

All I can say is, STOP CRYING, Oprah. This never would've happened if you had stuck to fiction in the first place.

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