Allright, which one of you duped Oprah??
Oprah Calls Defense of Author 'a Mistake'
TV Talk Host Says James Frey 'Betrayed Millions of People'
By EDWARD WYATT, The New York Times
CHICAGO (Jan. 26) - In an extraordinary reversal of her strident and angry defense of the author whose book she catapulted to the top of the best-seller list, Oprah Winfrey said today she believed that the author James Frey "betrayed millions of people" by making up elements of his life in his best-selling memoir, "A Million Little Pieces."
She added that she believed "I made a mistake" when she said that the truth of the book mattered less then its story of redemption.
In a live broadcast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" from her studios in Chicago in which she interviewed Mr. Frey, Ms. Winfrey apologized to her audience for her call to "Larry King Live" earlier this month defending the author. Today she berated Mr. Frey for duping her and her audience.
"I gave the impression that the truth does not matter," Ms. Winfrey said. "I made a mistake." To all of the viewers who called and wrote to her telling her she was wrong to allow Mr. Frey to maintain that his book reflected the "essential truth" of his life even though substantial details were falsified, Ms. Winfrey said, "You are right."
"I feel duped," she said. "I don't know what is true and I don't know what isn't," she said, before addressing Mr. Frey with the question, "Why did you lie?"
Ms. Winfrey chose "A Million Little Pieces" in September for her popular television book club, and it sold more than two million copies within the next three months, making it the fastest-selling pick ever for her book club.
But questions about the truth of Mr. Frey's memoir began to arise almost immediately, as they had since its publication in 2003. The memoir tells the harrowing story of Mr. Frey's arrival at a Minnesota rehabilitation center, which has since been identified as Hazelden, after years of alcohol and drug addiction.
In early January, The Smoking Gun, an investigative Web site, reported that Mr. Frey's claim to have spent nearly three months in jail was false. Actually, he spent only a few hours in jail.
On Thursday, Mr. Frey said of the Smoking Gun report, "Most of what they wrote is pretty accurate."
Mr. Frey said he had made up many of the details of his life and had created a bad-guy portrayal of himself as a "coping mechanism."
"I thought of myself as tougher than I was and badder than I was," Mr. Frey said.
Ms. Winfrey asked if he made up the material because it helped him cope or because he thought it would help sell books. Mr. Frey responded, "Probably both."
Ms. Winfrey was about 20 minutes into her show when ABC News interrupted the broadcast to televise President Bush's news conference. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is televised in Chicago in the morning but in the afternoon in most major television markets.