Oprah’s book club was so popular that when an author’s book was chosen to be a part of the “club”, it was like winning a lotto ticket. Book sales would go from the thousands to the millions–and it was no different with James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces, in which he recounted his harrowing experience as a drug addict. However, when the smoking gun website revealed that many parts of the book had been exaggerated or flat out fabricated, it was a black eye to Oprah and her book club, especially since she initially defended Frey, stating that “Although some of the facts have been questioned… that underlying message of the redemption of James Frey still resonates with me.” As the scandal continued though, Oprah changed her tune and invited him back on the show to confront him on the lies in the book. The interview was so contentious that Frey said he felt like he had been “ambushed” and 5 years later Oprah invited him back on her show to apologize.
This is an excellent example of an aggressive interview because Oprah wastes no time with niceties or softball questions–even at the beginning of the interview. The first question Oprah asks is if the smoking gun’s headline describing Frey as “The Man Who Conned Oprah” was true and it only got more combative as the interview went along. Unfortunately, the video of the interview couldn’t be found but the transcript of it is below.