I used to have a lot of respect for Oprah. I used to think she was this extraordinary person with lofty ideals. Today, her image is a bit tarnished. Now I know she’s as motivated by the almighty dollar as much as the next person. It’s disappointing.

In an extraordinary reversal of her strident 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 readers” 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 than its story of redemption.

[…]

“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 absolutely right.”

Well, yeah, people complained. They emailed her, they wrote articles about her, they objected to being lied to. They objected to her defense of the liar. So now she has to reverse course. Her empire won’t collapse because of this. Hell, it wouldn’t have collapsed even if she’d continued to defend him.

I’d have been more impressed if she’d have confronted him on Larry King. Now, it smacks of backpeddaling. Damn, another icon ruined. I’ll just file her away with Santa and the Easter Bunny….. (And yes, I know I should have known better.)