Days of Change

Day 1047 – The James Frey Moment

September 17, 2011

So how do Sarah Palin bashers feel about the infamous Joe McGuinniss book? If you’re the “writer” of Doonesbury, you’re filled to the brim with girlish glee. Plus, you get to be pulled from newspapers in another media storm. I’m pretty sure Gary Trudeau is more famous for not having his comic strip in newspapers than for having them in. If you’re in the kind of media that is actually read or seen by anyone, this book is a disaster.

The book is filled with half-truths and innuendos. Sources are anonymized in nearly every story. There is no political criticism, but tales of Palin as a horrible boss, a crappy mom and a druggy slut. The worst part for the people who hate Palin is what it has done to make their jobs difficult. There are jeers aplenty for the filthy muckraking, but it all comes back to how it will make Sarah Palin more sympathetic as a victim and provide ammunition for her examples of media bias. In other words, it makes their Palin-bashing more difficult.

Remember Oprah Winfrey, the women who got Obama elected then lost her audience? Well, besides that and her dubious overseas school, there was the James Frey scandal. Frey wrote “A Million Little Pieces,” which was extremely well-received as an autobiographical story of drug abuse and treatment. Oprah picked this for her TV book club and heaped praise on Frey.

Then it was revealed that Frey had made up significant (and usually the more interesting) parts of the book. Oprah dragged him back on and eviscerated him. He was a fraud and a liar who wrote a good work of fiction, but mostly he made Oprah look bad. That really was the biggest part of the scandal. Oprah sold it as self-help reality more than anyone else and she got burned.

The people going after McGuinniss could not care less about his character assassination of Sarah Palin. They care that he is ruining their attempts at character assassination. Their plan is to pick away at her public image by twisting events to smear her. Out and out lying isn’t wrong to them, it’s just counter-productive. Like with Oprah, the author’s deceit to readers is not the issue, the effect on their career goals is what put them on the warpath.

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