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  1. #1
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    A Million Little Pieces

    This is an interesting controversy. For those of you who haven't heard, the best-selling autobiographical book "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey has been the subject of an investigation by www.thesmokinggun.com. It is alleged that the book would be more suited to the fiction section than non-fiction.

    Publishers Random House have offered a refund to those who purchased the book directly from them, as long as they provide the original receipt. On one hand this is a nice gesture from them, given that no fraud has yet been proven. On the other hand, it's a fairly empty gesture since very few people buy directly from the publisher and even fewer will still have the receipt. IMO it seems more like a calculated publicity move which will cost very little.

    It does raise the issue of who is liable. Can the publisher be blamed for the author's (alleged) fraud? In any case it does seem that publishers would do well to demand a little more proof before publishing such material. I don't think the burden of providing this proof should fall on the publishers - I think the author should shoulder most of the responsibility.

    As an aside, it will be interesting to see what Oprah Winfrey has to say about it all (it was her endorsement which catapulted the book into the best-seller list). She is understandably quiet at the moment but I don't think she can avoid comment for too long.

    James Frey is scheduled to appear on "Larry King Live" (CNN) on Wednesday Jan 11th, 9 pm ET. You can also see James Frey's (very limited) response at www.bigjimindustries.com
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Re: A Million Little Pieces

    Oprah has defended James Frey. According to this CNN story she says "To me, it seems to be much ado about nothing".

    I'm afraid I disagree. James Frey has now acknowledged that important facts in his book have effectively been fabricated, but justifies this in various ways. Not good enough, say I, for two reasons:

    (1) It's lies presented as truth. There was never any suggestion that these "embellishments" were anything other than an accurate account until they were exposed by The Smoking Gun. Face it Mr Frey, you've been caught lying.

    (2) The book is about redemption and becoming an honest person. Seems Mr Frey hasn't quite got there yet, so he's probably not the best person to be preaching to others about it.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Oprah Changes her Mind

    I don't know how she didn't see it coming, but Oprah has been blasted for defending James Frey. Angry emails and other messages flooded Harpo over the last week.

    Belatedly but decisively, Oprah has confronted Mr Frey and let him know the real score. I haven't yet seen the episode but I intend watching it when it screens here.

    Well done Oprah. We all need to take a stand against dishonesty and make it very clear that it's unacceptable.

    CNN story:
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/book....ap/index.html
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

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