The Armstrong Interview - Was it all we had hoped for?
Step one towards redemption is complete. What's step two?
We’ve had the weekend to sit back and marinate in the juices of the Oprah Winfrey / Lance Armstrong interview. As you know the now discredited cyclist sat down with Oprah and in the first minutes admitted to using a list of doping products: EPO, HGH, testosterone, cortisone, and blood transfusions. While most people already knew this, to see and hear those words come out of Armstrong’s mouth was still shocking. He was a man that had not hesitated to take someone to court or ruin their life if they suggested he was anything but clean.
While Armstrong answered the question of what he had taken to cheat his way to seven Tour de France victories there continued to be many unanswered questions. The hospital room doping confession that was heard in front of several witnesses including Frankie and Betsy Andreu was never confirmed. Winfrey showed that she was a good choice for Armstrong as she didn’t push him on this subject like a true journalist would have done.
The Texan also wouldn’t answer who administered the drugs or where he got them - details that Tyler Hamilton shared in gory detail with his book, “The Secret Race.”
So why did Armstrong leave a lot of unanswered questions? The perjury lawsuit threat has expired and even if it hadn’t there are not many federal prosecutors who would want to take on a case that most people in the United States really don’t care about. What would the “win” be for the prosecuting attorney? “I’m the guy who put the symbol of hope for many in the cancer community in jail.”
Look at comments in many stories involving Armstrong and there are still quite a few supporters. Not believers in what he does - those people are gone forever - but there are still supporters who think he’s symbolizing the fight against cancer. Trust me, at the next Ride for the Roses event in Austin, Texas there will still be a huge gathering.
Was the Oprah interview on the OWN network a success? It depends on who you talk to.
For Oprah Winfrey her namesake network channel has been in a ratings free fall with constant shifts in programing. How many of us either knew Oprah and her OWN channel or knew what channel it was on? Originally Oprah trumpeted that OWN was going to only broadcast uplifting, inspirational programing. Instead OWN now airs reality shows like, “Shocking Family Secrets,” “Trouble Next Door,” and the occasional story about women in prison. You gotta give the people want they want.
For Oprah the Armstrong interview was a checkmark in the win column. It was reported that 3.2 million people watched the first part of the two-part interview and when the viewer numbers were added for the encore showing later that evening it was a total of 4.3 million people. This was the highest rated weekday show for OWN. But to put that in perspective Oprah’s interview with Whitney Houston was greater, and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” which also aired that night had its