You'd think that James Frey would feel like he was off the hook ever since it was revealed that Margaret Seltzer made up her memoir about growing up a foster child in the hood. But, alas, poor Frey, he's getting fried all over again, as most news outlets writing about the scandale du jour have name-dropped him, if not run unflattering photos of his unhappy, Oprah-shamed mug. Turns out, people are still very, very angry about that whole thing. But Margaret Seltzer and those around her are absorbing plenty of anger and blame, since girlfriend couldn't even claim that only 420 of 432 of her pages contained falsehoods, as Frey did. (Pretty much all of it was fake, including probably the foundation Gawker found that was started by Seltzer to "elevate the community.") "In the post–James Frey world, we all are more careful," Riverhead editor Sarah McGrath, who has been the focus of much of the ire, told the Times. Although apparently not careful enough! "Despite editing the book in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding James Frey…Ms. McGrath said she did not independently check parts of Ms. Seltzer’s story or perform any kind of background check. She said she relied on Ms. Seltzer to tell the truth." She should have known: As Seltzer herself told her: "Trust no one."
“I don’t know how they do business, but I would think that protocol would have them doing fact-checking,” Cindi Hoffman, Seltzer's sister, who ratted her out to the Times, told the paper, of the publisher. Well, Cindi, maybe it's your fault. "Margaret Jones was turned in by her sister," a blogger at the L.A. Times wrote. "Something was clearly awry in her utter identification with the gang members she wrote about. Something was broken, somewhere. Wait, so maybe it was the mother's fault? Or what about the Times? What's their culpability? Colin McEnroe at the Hartford Courant has suggested that public editor Clark Hoyt sniff around and see why they got so overexcited. "Mr. Hoyt, one thing I would like you to look into is how many times Mr. McGrath slouched into this or that office around the building and suggested that a little more than usual could be done for this book by one of Sarah's authors," he wrote. We're not really buying that the doddering ex–Book Review editor put ideas in the minds of "House & Home" freelancers, but who cares! Someone must burn! And one commenter on the L.A.Times website thinks they know who: "How much double checking is done in the editorial quarters of Fox News ? And, to take it a step further, how much double checking is done in Washington DC? We are still at war in Iraq thanks to the American people buying into a not-so-well fabricated lie." That's right, people. This trail of deception goes all the way to the White House.