On Today today?

I may – may – be on Today this morning. They came to my house last night to record the interview but I suspect the segment may get bumped by the bridge disaster (my last network appearances were bumped by the execution of Saddam Hussein and the death of Anna Nicole Smith…. I am the news fairy; if you want a big story to break, just interview and preempt me). The topic on Today: Nan Talese saying that Oprah Winfrey shangaiied James Frey into his public flogging and blasting her “sanctimoniousness.” They needed someone who dared to criticize Oprah and found me. I remind them that it was Oprah who sleazed up daytime TV — in a straight line leading to Jerry Springer — before she recanted and declared herself the queen of all good.

: LATER: Sure enough, I got bumped.

  • Jimmy

    I am so sick of reading about how Nan Talese and James Frey feel they were wronged. Talese screwed by not checking her facts and now she’s blaming Oprah. Her excuse: well, Frey’s a former addict so it should be a given that some of what he says is a lie! What BS! If there’s anyone being sanctimonious here, it poor, pathetic Nan Talese. If I’d been the person in charge over at Random House I would have fired her ass. It’s not Oprah’s fault Random House will now have to pay millions of dollars in damges for Talese’s shoddy work, it’s Talese’s. That should be the story; not Oprah’s sleazy daytime past.

  • Oprah started off as local television news reporter. She should have known to check her facts, or at least have some staff flunkies check them, on this or any story. Sure Talese bears much of the blame, but there’s plenty more to spread around for Oprah and the millins of idiots who bought into her bs sanctamonious “How dare you lie to ME James Frey” act. If people were smarter, Oprah’s ratings would have plumpted lower than Bush’s and she would have been consigned to a closed chapter in daytime tv history.

  • Bob

    Jeff, isn’t “Oprah who sleazed up daytime TV” old news? It doesn’t seem like this story has any new ground being forged.

  • Jeff, I don’t particularly like to be in the position of defending Jerry Springer, but for about a century the news business has been denying that there are downscale people with downscale tastes, and they deserve their own version of news, too. This audience first surfaced when the steam engine enabled the low-cost Penny Press in the early 1800’s and they reached their peak during the days of Yellow Journalism before the NY Times and others defeated them and made news a respectable-public-only business, snottily claiming they were printing “All the news that was FIT to print.” Since then, the hoi polloi have been finding other outlets like newspaper tabloids, supermarket tabloids, magazines like People and Entertainment Weekly (sorry Jeff, but true), and finally daytime TV. What’s wrong with a little bit of free market democracy? (Steve Boriss, The Future of News)

  • hmm, i’ve always pinpointed the top of the daytime TV sleaze slide as the moment Phil Donahue built a ring in his studio and wrestled GLOW (gorgeous ladies of wrestling) girls. i was young, but old enough to remember that something wasn’t right and things would never be the same again.

  • I remember Donahue’s slide from integrity as well. What ever happened to Dick Cavett? Oh well…at least we have Charlie Rose….