Today, Armstrong sits down with Oprah Winfrey to do an interview that will air Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on OWN. Expect to see plenty of sneak peaks prior to the actual program.
Apparently, The Sunday Times doesn’t have much faith that Oprah will ask the hard-hitting questions. The London-based paper took out a 2/3s page ad Sunday in the Chicago Tribune. The headline read: “An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey.”
The letter was from David Walsh, who has spent 13 years investigating Armstrong. The ad has 10 questions that Walsh would like Oprah to ask Armstrong. Among the questions:
After returning from cancer, how did you justify putting banned drugs in your body?
Did you have any sympathy for those rivals determined to race clean?
Do you admit that your friend Dr. Michele Ferrari fully supported your team’s doping?
Was the failure to understand Floyd Landis the key to your downfall?
Did you sue The Sunday Times to shut us up?
Ah yes, the ad includes this PS: “The Sunday Times is seeking to recover about $1.5 m it claims he got by fraud. He used Britain’s draconian libel laws against us.”
Clearly, Walsh and The Times want their money back, and even more, an apology from Armstrong. As for the ad appearing in the Chicago Tribune, well, Oprah and her crew are based in Chicago. Perhaps they viewed it as the quickest way to get her attention.
I don’t think Walsh and The Times have great confidence Oprah will do a strong interview. Neither does the Tribune’s Phil Hersh. The ad ran below his column on Armstrong.
When sprinter Marion Jones did her Winfrey confessional about doping, the longtime talk show host acted as credulous as a star-struck fan. Winfrey took at face value Jones’ statements about thinking she was only using flaxseed oil and insisting she had doped only for a short period around the 2000 Sydney Olympics, even after the federal judge who had sentenced Jones to prison said he had doubts about the extent of her revelations.
Indeed, Armstrong is looking for a soft landing couch here. It would have been much different if he was interviewed by someone like Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes.
Maybe Oprah will surprise us. If nothing else, all she has to do is use the Times’ questions.