Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM
Folks, let me make this perfectly clear: Lance Armstrong confessing that he’s a doper is about as newsworthy as Jodie Foster admitting that she’s gay.
But I know enough about the television news business to know that getting the first confessional interview with this disgraced cyclist was probably even more coveted than getting the first confessional interview with disgraced financier Bernie Madoff.
The problem is that this covetousness had nothing to do with the potential newsworthiness of the interview. Instead it had everything to do with the prospect of drawing eyeballs to the TV screen, which is really no different from twits like Donald Trump publishing obnoxious/offensive tweets just to draw attention to themselves.
Incidentally, I feel obliged to clarify here that I don’t blame attention whores like Trump, no-name politicians and Twitter trolls for playing this game to continue reviving their 15 minutes of fame. I blame erstwhile responsible people in the mainstream media for airing their contrived remarks just to garner ratings – knowing full well that they are providing nothing more than proverbial train wrecks for people to gawk at.
Which brings me back to Oprah’s “big get.” Because, frankly, the only thing newsworthy about this story is that it was Oprah who got Lance for her OWN netherworld network (airing tomorrow night). After all, given the pervasive gloating in media about how she was floundering in relative obscurity and irrelevance, one could be forgiven for thinking that she had lost all of her clout.
Especially since it’s an open secret that every big name in the business (like Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Charlie Rose, Katie Kouric, Matt Lauer, et al) was prowling for Lance to boost their ratings the way Taylor Swift prowls for boyfriends to write new songs. (I hear Bradley Cooper shot Taylor down flat at Sunday’s Golden Globes. Another reason he deserved to be People’s “Sexist Man Alive” long before Jake Gyllenhaal – who fell for her game hook, line and sinker.)
Anyway, here’s is all I have to say about Lance’s confession:
It pains me to concede today that the evidence is indeed overwhelming that Lance fueled his way to cycling glory on a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs that makes those he took to treat his cancer seem like mere aspirin…
The real tragedy here is not Lance falling from grace, but the disillusionment this is bound to cause among the millions of cancer survivors who derived life-sustaining inspiration from his ‘LIVESTRONG’ life story. That his life story is turning out to be a phenomenal fraud is devastating enough for me. I can only imagine the impact it’s having, and will have, on them.
(“Lance Armstrong: falling from grace,” The iPINIONS Journal, May 24, 2011)
That was almost two years ago folks. Therefore, it’s the understatement of the century to say that his confession is much too little much too late. Still, reports are that, like Madoff, he’s refusing to name those (doctors and cycling officials) who helped him perpetrate his fraud.
And, as for his role as a Pied Piper in the fight against cancer mitigating his guilt and shame:
I now believe that no amount of good Armstrong has done through his LIVESTRONG foundation is sufficient mitigation to spare him from criminal prosecution. For, far from being a scapegoat, he was the boss of what USADA described as ‘the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen…’
I appreciate of course that there are many who believe not only that no prosecution is warranted but that Armstrong’s reputation as the poster boy for cancer survivors remains undiminished. I submit, however, that such people are no different from the poor-misguided fools who would still hail Bernie Madoff as a financial genius and would still give him their money to ‘invest.’
(“Armstrong Exposed as Doper Don,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 12, 2012)
NOTE: You’ve probably noticed all kinds of people coming out of the woodwork with tales about how Lance bullied them into going along with his doping program. But unless they are one of the few people (like Greg LeMond) who are on record calling him a pathological liar and diabolical cheat … before his fall from grace, they should just shut up!