Wednesday, January 18, 2006

AdAge Magazine Smacks at Oprah

Oprah gets smacked around a little by AdAge magazine (industry watch publication read by just about everyone in marketing/advertising) and I, for one, am glad to read it.
I mean, we've trusted Oprah for years to tell us the truth (I know, gullible me), especially during last year's launch of a campaign to nail child sex offenders. Why is she still defending James Frey? He lied. That is not helping addicts or victims. What about the people that he hurt?

AdAge editorial, worth reading.
QUOTE: Memo to those in the media who worship at the altar of Oprah: It is not OK for James Frey to have passed off his fictionalized life story as nonfiction just because a talk-show host says it is.

In all of the coverage of the controversy over the truthiness of “A Million Little Pieces,” perhaps the most disturbing element of all is how the media reacted to Oprah’s continued endorsement of the book -- treating it as somehow the last word, one that in effect excused the lies and ended the controversy. She was lauded for riding to the rescue of the publishing business, rather than called out for trying to minimize the damage to the businesses involved, including her huge and profitable empire -- one whose continued growth relies heavily on maintaining her power to move products as well as people.

What few have dared to suggest
Most of the coverage ignored the fact that Oprah has something at stake, as much actually as Frey and the book’s publisher: the credibility on which her brand is based. Few have dared to suggest her continued endorsement may have been driven by commercial considerations, not just altruistic motives.

The response by all interested parties to The Smoking Gun’s revelations about the book has been a carefully orchestrated marketing strategy that relies on an artful dodge. No one involved in this mess apologized or took accountability. Read the coverage and transcripts of the “Larry King Live” interview and Oprah’s statements; The core issues are never addressed head-on, just skirted. Yet it’s clear that many readers -- this one included -- feel betrayed."

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