This charade should cause an outcry. It is orchestrated manipulation of serious news and an affront to a public that adored and admired him for his athletic feats and charitable use of his celebrity. We weren't very happy with baseball stars such as Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez when they, after years of denying or ducking the issue, admitted steroid use. But at least they came clean to reporters whose job it is to ask the things the public deserves to know. No hankies or couches. Just the cold truth.
Armstrong should be doing this in a big room filled with people with journalistic chops and the experience and inclination to use them. We have more than a handful of Pulitzer Prize winners in the L.A. Times newsroom willing and able. The New York Times and Washington Post could fill the room with capable reporters. CNN has plenty. The TV networks too.
Heck, put the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers in the front row and let him begin with his signature line: “Cut the crap.”
That's what Armstrong deserves. That's how he needed to face up to this if he really wanted to regain any measure of credibility. That's what a public that has watched his races, bought the products he has endorsed, contributed to his foundation and helped create his current incredible wealth, deserves here. Straight-up answers and honest elaboration. Details, not rationalizations. Facts, not taped-and-edited TV talk-show schmaltz.
If you are going to ‘fess up, don't make a Hollywood show out of it. This is making a sham out of shame.
Sadly, this Oprah episode will get a huge audience. We are a society of celebrity gawkers. We need less “Access Hollywood” and more PBS and NPR, but that's not happening. It would be nice, on this one, if we could avoid slipping further into the abyss.
Lance Armstrong owes us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And he owes it to us from somewhere other than the Oprah show, in which they cue the tears and hankies before they cut to commercial.