"The truth doesn't have versions!" I wish I'd remembered that line a few days ago...
Michele sent me today.
I also wish I had seen the Oprah interview but I fell asleep before the rebroadcast. Thanks for the recap. This was the topic of conversation amongst my friends a few nights ago -- wonder what they'd say now.
Great post. I didn't see her show with James Frey, but I was very impressed with the reports I saw about how she handled it. As for her audience, I've honestly never noticed anything other than that there aren't a lot of men, but since most of her viewers are probably women, it would make sense that most of her studio audience is women wouldn't it? And that seems to be the case with most daytime talk show audiences - a high number of women and very few men. It would be interesting to see the statistics on something like that wouldn't it?
I watched the whole show. I am NOT much of an Oprah fan and I was completely appalled at her behavior on Larry King. Yes, she did redeem herself, but she acted so put upon, like Frey did something to her personally, and it wasn't personal, he duped everyone. She was meaner to him than she was to child rapists and murderers. She seemed to completely lack compassion. But I think that's because she was so embarassed by him.
Frey was a jerk for representing the book as a memoir. Had he said it was an autiobiographical novel, none of this would have been a big deal at all. I think his publisher is to blame for not fact checking, too.
Michele sent me.
I have to agree with Mar, Oprah acted like it was a personal assault that Frey wrote the book and didn't tell the truth. I am not a huge fan of Oprah. And Frey will reap what he sowed not from Oprah, but from the public who will stop buying his book.
I also have wondered about her audience...it has changed through the years. All we, the TV audience ever see is the coiffed, slender, designer dressed clones....I think if the ordinary folks are in attendance they are seated way out of camera view!
Great post Naomi!
I never liked Oprah, some people say, money cant change me. Money changed Oprah. She is merely a tool now. Michele sent me.
I'm not really an Oprah fan or hater...I'm basically indifferent toward her, but because of the sudden and marked nature of her reversal the cynic in me wonders if there is something else behind it.
BTW, can't email you so I'll post a quick update here...you visited my blog and said you'd like to see the section of the AIDS panel that the bad link pointed to...well a new link is up in a follow up post if you'd like to see it.
YES!! My sister and I were just discussing this!! What on earth is up with the "studio audience?" Do they have a dress code or what??? It's frightening. Excellent post...oh, and by the way....I just love you too. =)
Just wanted to add....I will not be buying Mr. Frey's book now. LOL
Michele sent your way this time! ;)
I was surprised about that book. I read it and it was VERY touching and powerful. I seriously could careless if it is a true story or not. Problem is ratings when down so I had to sell it on EBAY ASAP! LOL. I still got my moneys worth. I love your blog:)
Here from Michelle's.
I guess I'm one of the few people who don't watch Oprah. It's great that she gave a heartfelt apology!! Here via Michele.
i dont' watch Oprah or read the books she suggests..
I am not really an Oprah fan..
So i would have to start from the beginning......
but I did hear that she sorta hung him out to dry on the show...
Over from Michele's.....
OK, I've been meaning to write this exact post for a few weeks now! I've not read the book, but I read the whole Smoking Gun article and instantly became obsessed with the controversy. Here's a guy who has made MILLIONS by constantly lying to people. Amazing.
I saw Larry King and the Oprah show. I was DISGUSTED by her phone call to King. I wanted to see Frey GO DOWN. You can't lie like that to people!
Sadly, I'm kinda tempted to get the book just to see what everyone's talking about....
Michele sent me, but I'm adding you to my blogroll because I'm here ALL THE TIME! :-)
oh i remember that book Night it was probably one of the only bboks that i rreally liked in high school
so I'm naive here... but I always thought that I couldn't really believe, 100%, anything I read or heard. I'm not all that bothered by this whole thing. It was a book. It was about drug recovery and one person. True, False, whatever.
Margalit and Yellowrose---(and anyone else who doesn'y think 'this is personal'
Forgive me my dear dears,and anyone else who feels the same way... but Frey DID do something to Oprah in a very personal way!
She put all of her MAJOR OPRAH POWER Behind this man and his supposed TRUTHFUL-Memoir- Book...including, and in my view MOST important..she put all her feelings and her beliefs behind this man Frey and his book...and she Was BETRAYED by him....SHE WAS BETRAYED BY HIM.(Hello???)
SHE THOUGHT THIS MEMOIR WAS THE TRUTH! And she based her PERSONAL endorsement (which is her Book Club) on those facts and feelings.
So...HE BETRAYED HER. THAT is personal....
That all the so-called Fact Checkers did NOT catch all the lies this man wrote says a whole lot about what all this stuff is really about.
That's the reason 'Soap Opera' is CALLED "Soap Opera"....
It is always about 'selling soap'.
I'd like to believe...BECAUSE Oprah has made a fortune on her authenticness, that she doesn't need to make another Million or Five Million or even TEN MILLION, ever...That what she does; What she endorses.....Her Book Club (which is HER)...comes from her heart! And THAT'S why she takes this so personally.
She believed James Frey's story. She endorsed it. And now, it turns out that a great many of the facts of this "Book" are out and out lies.
I don't care one way or the other about Oprah..EXCEPT...This woman has acheived something in this racist country, that NO OTHER WOMAN (Black Or White)...has ever achieved.
I say GOOD FOR HER...
She has only done "Good".
This woman has only used her celebrity for GOOD, weather you are a fan of hers or not.
I'll stop now.
Look at the facts, please. Put yourself in her place, please....(if you can)
This is "personal"....
Wow, we blogged about the same thing! I do agree with you on lots of points. I just think Oprah isn't the Queen of Truth that she wants us to think she is.
I'm totally with you on the audience thing. They always look so well dressed--like they're here desired demographic or something.
As a journalist, truth is a very simple concept to me. I find Colbert's spin on it to be amusing - and I think he's a gifted comedian - but at the end of the day, this stretching of what truth is is fundamentally bad for us. This is because it dilutes our collective integrity, and forces us to question the veracity of everything - and even then, to doubt the responses when received because they are only going to be recanted later on.
Frey lied. He got caught. If I did anything like that, I'd be fired and blackballed from my profession. I guess the rules are different for ex-druggie celeb-so-called-writers.
My route will be somewhat different.
Naomi, here's what I want you to do: copy and paste your whole post into a comment on Oprah's web-site. I would love to see what she says about the audience looking so great all the time. Maybe they have another section for uglies and men, that we don't get to see on camera....LOL.
So sorry, but the book and that particular Oprah show has not been sold or aired in our part of the world yet. So i can't really comment on this topic for now :-)
The only thing I know abou this controversy is what I have seen online. I have not regularly watched Oprah for years now. In fact I don't even think it is on every day anymore.
I love that quote from Somethings Got to Give.
Michele sent me tonight.
i've been out of the loop so really am unfamiliar with this story. i don't watch oprah, in fact, i watch very little tv. this is certainly a story i'm going to get more info on though.
i love elie wiesel though. i had to read Night in high school. great work, tremendously sad.
i don't know what to think. there is always some degree of truth & fiction to everyone's life. i'm sure that in every single biography written, there are parts that many cannot completely remember and some that they tended to guild to much.
i do squarely blame the publishing house (which i have heard is affiliated with Oprah) for not fact checking the novel to begin with. isn't it standard protocol to do this when deciding whether or not to publish something as fact or fiction?
someone dropped the ball.
while i blame frey for pushing his book as fact, he was doing what every other author does.
tries to sell his story. be it true or not.
sorry for the ramble. lol!! btw, here from michele's! :)
happy weekend naomi! :)
Once again, a great post. I've often found myself defending Oprah. I think she's an amazing woman. And she is actually one of my role models! And I love the fact that she can admit when she's wrong! I would have been so sad to think she hadn't done this in this particular instance.
A few years ago, I got to be in the audience of one of her shows when she was in NYC. (Fergie was the guest that day.) They didn't screen the audience in any way. I can't expain what they might be doing now, but I can't imagine that they would screen the audience. It has been a few years, though, and she was on a remote shoot. Who knows! Maybe Michele does 'cause she sent me over tonight! (Have a great weekend!)
I don't agree with what Frey did, but good for him for having the courage to go back on the show and let Oprah confront him!
here from Michele's today!
I didn't see the show, but I'd heard that she hasn't retracted her book club endorsement of the book...true? I'd never really noticed that about her audience. I'll be looking for that now. Here via Michele today!
Hello! Here via Michele's! And it is always a pleasure to come back! LOL!
For a good many years, I was a Oprah worshipper. While I still like her and what she does, I have that same feeling with her audience. All are well groomed Stepford Wives.
For over a year, a group of friends and myself tried to get tickets to her show. Without any luck. That is probably started cutting my Oprah apron strings. If I can't even go to see her in person, she ain't worth watching!
Sorry, dear, but I have never watched this show (continental barriers, lol) and haven't heard about this issue...but Michele sent me this morning to say hello, my pleasure.
I do love Oprah, and I was also disapointed by her comments on Larry King, especially considering the incrediblr influence she has on the public. I, too, feel that she redeemed herself on this particular broadcast. It all comes down to being human. So simplistic, yet so sadly crippling sometimes, isn't it? And for her - so public.
Thank you for all of your encouragement on my blog, I really appreciate your perspective and your comments. BTW, have you arranged a meeting for me and Pierce yet? ;)
Seems we're always on this thing late at night - boy, do we know how to party!! :)
Have a great night!!
Didn't see (or hear) either so I can't comment truthfully, however, I can say this: Oprah has done for this man's publicity what no one else can.
I really want to read his book now...now that I know the ending. It's like hearing, "I see dead people." a thousand times and figuring out for yourself that Bruce Willis is dead. She publicized the shit out of his book.
I really hope she owns stock.
regardless of what people say, i have always been an oprah fan and felt really bad when the whole hulabaloo came out. i really felt she had been "used" since she had lent credibility to frey. it was also good for her to apologize in public in that way. i've always said that if more people were like oprah, we would have a lot less unhappy people the world over.
today I was sent by the other michele
hi naomi! am back via michele this time. i tend to agree with your observation about the oprah audience lately. much too good-looking to be true...:)
I think she did a lot to repair the damage caused by this writer. However heartfelt her apology was I have reservations about some things. Her producers, the people who are supposed to research these things for her. There is information circling now that the Oprah Show was informed prior to the original show that details given as fact were in fact not true. They chose to ignore this and went on with it anyway. She appears to be the type of person who would "micromanage" her show that affects her image so much, so I can't help wondering how "duped" she actually was.
Here from Michele...didn't want you to be skipped. You popped up between my post and the one above.
I can't deal with talk shows anymore of any variety. Although it's kinda neat to see the world get into an uproar about a book. It goes to show that some people in the country can read.
Here via Michele's. Thanks for popping by my place earlier.
hey nayba! Thanks for dropping by again. I like your photo of Oprah's audience with Chris Farley in it. heh heh. oh man, i wish i woulda seen that SNL episode.
Hi again, Naomi, Michele sent me back this time!
The one thing I fully believe about all of this froofrou about Frey (hey! I made that up!) is that he's going to have no trouble affording rehab if he needs it again. People must be buying this book in HORDES. I know the first thing I did when I heard about the whole mess was to go and look up prices for it!
Michele sent me today! Very meaty blog, I'll be checking back again!
I watched the show and she truly ripped Mr. Frey a new arse. What I need to think about is your comments on the audience. Now that you have made me aware, I, too wonder about the beautiful people. Came by way of Michele. I will be back.
Great post Naomi! I have always liked Ophrah and I think she's basically a good person. I do not watch her very much as I don't watch TV much anymore. She does so many good things and even though she's rich she seems like the kind of person you could sit down and just talk to!
I have only read about this on the internet. I'm glad she confronted him face to face!
I ahve no idea about all the controvesy, since it hasn;t made any impact over here at all. Not sure if the shows been aired or not, we do get Oprah daily (I think), but I don't watch it, having no time to watch TV of any kind duri ngt he day.
And I think that may be part of the answer to your audience question. How do they recruit the audience? If it is local fans, who pay for a ticket, then they will mostly be reasonably wealthy, middling aged women. Even if the tickets are free, unless expences are paid, there will a large section of the community who can't go, and evehn with expences paid, there are plenty of people who either can't get the time off, or don't watch it in the first place.
It takes a lot of money & effort to get a representative audience. I doubt the producers of Oprah bother for a daily show which sells out even if they dont put in any time, money or effort.
I couldn't watch the whole show, but the part that I did see was great. I can't believe that he went on and admitted everything the way he did. And she DID ask some tough questions. I thought it was very good handling of a sticky situation.
And about her audience? I couldn't agree more. Oprah is for rich, thin, pretty people who want to feel good about themselves.
Michele sent me back to see if you wanna go to a taping of the Oprah show with me?!
I think in the UK we are lucky enough not to suffer from Oprah. Michele sent me.
As I've told people, I could write (with a co-author's help!) a book like that and it would all be true, put my husband's story in and well, ooo boy, not sure you'd want to know. Scary stuff.
That Frye guy is a weasely little wimp, and you could tell by the way he was stammering and stuttering, he was lying. And Oprah probably made him a millionaire.
I heard that the publisher is offering people their money back, but I wonder if that comes out of his pocket? So what if it was a good book, it should have been called "fiction".
As for Oprah, I think she tried to make it right. I don't watch her show every day, but I think she's pretty cool.
And I HAVE noticed that, it's disturbing, the demographic of her audience.
I was very upset when Oprah backed that liar up. I don't see her as invincible, but I do see her as exposing truths. So for her to take part in covering one up, was disappointing. I was so happy & relieved that she laid that guy out. Mostly though, I was glad she apologized so humbly & sincerely.
As for her audience, I don't know. It seems all audiences are like that. Well, except for Jerry Springer. I know if I went to her show, I'd wear my best, put on makeup & do my hair nicely. So, it may be a lot of women all dolled up, who normally aren't.
I must say though, I think there is a good racial mix in her audience. At least from what I can tell, but I don't watch the show everyday.
Michele sent me back, I promise I'm not stalking you...
I saw the Oprah show with Frey and I was glad that she called him (and the publishing house) onto the carpet. I was pleased that she apologized for being quick to back Frey up via the Larry King call.
I've noticed that Oprah's audience is a bit watered down to almost a single demographic over the years. I'm sure that has a lot to do with public relations and marketing strategies. I have an ambiguous respect for Oprah these days. She has brought more attention to causes that have so desperately needed it. She has, indeed, put her money where her mouth is and done so much good for so many people. Yet, over the years, Oprah has changed. I don't know if her status has gone to her head a little bit or what, but I get uncomfortable when I see the way that she behaves on her show toward some guests. She is rude, almost emotionless at times, and often presents herself as the expert on everything. While I'm sure that Oprah IS very well versed on many subjects. She definitely does her homework, but when you have an expert on your show to provide information and you consistently interrupt them and talk more about the subject than you allow the expert to, that is just rude and inconsiderate. Why doesn't she just save herself and the expert time and money by just doing the show with herself billed as THE expert. I think she has put up a slightly "haughty" attitude as a means to protect herself from the critics and from overzealous fans. On one hand, I cannot blame her for that. On the other, I wish she were a bit more like the "old" Oprah. I remember when she was like an attentive student with her expert guests. Now she is like the student who doesn't think she really needs to be in the class because she already knows it all.
God bless her for the good she does, but I am just not a very big fan of her show anymore.
OH, and Michele sent me :)
Truthfully, I don't care much for Oprah~the last couple of times I bothered to watch it she just seemed to have this whole holier-than-thou attitude with her guests, and kept talking over them even after she asked a question. Didn't give them a chance to answer.
But that's just me. :)
As far as the Frey brouhaha, I think MEMOIRS are subjective, and embellishments are to be expected of any writer.
Again, just my opinion.
It's like when they make a movie from a book (watching Pelican Brief today brought this to mind)~changing characters from white to black or male to female, or vice versa....adding or deleting whole sub-plots and other characters~~it happens. It seems like much ado about nothing to me.
I LOVE coming in behind you at the M&G, because your posts are always so fabulously interesting!
Michele sent me today!
HA! I agree with your post. And your comment. I had to kind of laugh, though, when I caught a little play on words. You said "That's the reason 'Soap Opera' is CALLED "Soap Opera"..."
Yes, stuff like that is a Soap Opera, not a Soap Oprah.
I've watched the Oprah show since she first went national way back in the 80's. While I don't always watch her "celebrity" shows, I do respect her for the way she faces situations head on. She did it again with this and rightly so.
thanks for stopping by my place. i LOVE your blog and i certainly agree that the M&G is awesome!
i'll certainly be back again!
When my kids were babies and I worked different hours so I was home while Oprah aired, I was a devoted fan of her show. (We didn't own a working VCR for a few years.) That was 16-18 yrs ago. I agree whole-heartedly with your comments about Oprah in this comment thread about what she has done for many causes and issues.
I respect her completely for her work in abuse, racismn, education, reading, and more. I have not seen her show in years except once in a blue moon or for the occassional re-run because taping it isn't possible. So, I have no idea if the demographics of her audiences has changed. You and others observed that it has. That doesn't sit well with me. However, I'm so glad you reitterated your point that Oprah was betrayed. That is a violation, plain and clear.
Back to you post, Night is an extraordinary book that I read as a teen. I've read every one of his books and own them. I wish I could meet Elie Wiesel for reasons that transcend the novel. More people need to know the extraordinary work/bravery of his in regard to the Holocaust and bringing war criminals to justice. I'm chilled writing this. That show I AM going to tape.
I confess to being an Oprah fan, and recall back in the fall when Oprah announced James Frey’s book “A Million Little Pieces” as her book club choice. (I didn’t buy or read it incidentally) The announcement itself was quite the production, with cameras aimed at James’ mum sitting in the studio audience. She was totally unaware as to why she was there, or what was about to happen. The woman screamed with joy, pride and delight as she realised her son was being recognised.
When I heard the news and scandal - the truth behind the book, it wasn’t James Frey - the ex-addict I felt sorry for. It wasn’t Oprah Winfrey - who has millions of dollars and a month from now we will be asking “James who?” - this little event will have ZERO effect on her life, show or ratings. It’s his mum - who is sitting home, hearing this news, watching her son’s name being dragged through the news headlines. I hope she has friends and neighbours who will look out for her, give her a hug and let her know that everything will be ok.
I appreciate getting a longer version of what this whole fray is about.
I have to disagree with the idea that Oprah did this to clear things up. Oprah did this to CYA. Actually to cover her a**. She has recently really begun to get on my nerves. Mostly because of her stance on child predators and then having (in the same week) a bunch of guys on (Jay Leno et al) talking about porn and extolling its virtues. Either you're against it or not. You cannot straddle that wall for very long.
It was by trying to straddle that wall that she got herself into trouble pushing this book. She compromised a few values and thought it would be okay to push this book. I know 14 year old girls reading it and feeling very much a part of this guys life. They look at him as a hero. Ugh! Why oh why with all that is written that is good would she jump on the bandwagon of a drug abuser? Reformed or not!
eeeek! Rant off now. Sorry to run away with this. But it is such a hot button for me.
I still hate oprah! from micheles
Great post. I caught bits and pieces of this story, and your post has just filled in all the blanks for me.
I don't get to watch Oprah much, but the last time I saw it I did notice the beautiful people took up most of the seat in her audience.
A friend taped the Brokeback Mountain episode for me, and I'll have to pay attention to everything.
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