- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Nobles: Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, for suffering the fine legal minds of “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Soon-to-be-confirmed Judge Alito has just finished what could be characterized as the most empty Senate nomination hearings in recent memory. The 15-year appellate court veteran, who has spent his entire legal career as a public servant, would have been excused had he merely dismissed Senate Democrats’ “questions” with a chuckle — that is, when senators on the Judiciary Committee even let him talk.

Delaware’s Sen. Joseph Biden took 13 minutes to clear his throat, during which he expounded on such necessary details as his dislike for Princeton University and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s choice of eyewear. Sen. Ted Kennedy, meanwhile, brandished quotes in a magazine Judge Alito never wrote for, from an article Judge Alito had never read, by an author Judge Alito never met, because it was somehow connected to a group Judge Alito doesn’t remember joining. The article itself has since been described by one of the magazine’s former editors as a parody. Good work, Kennedy staffers.

For getting through all this with his sanity intact, Judge Alito is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: James Frey, for peddling a fictionalized autobiography and making millions off it.

New York Times Bestseller for 15 weeks, No. 2 best-selling book in the United States in 2005, Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club selection — this is just a taste of the honors that have been bestowed on Mr. Frey’s 2003 autobiography, “A Million Little Pieces.” The book chronicles Mr. Frey’s painful descent into addiction, crime and despair. By all accounts, it is a gripping read, made even the more so by Mr. Frey’s contention that “it’s all true.”

If only. In an effort to retrieve one of Mr. Frey’s mug shots from his purported 14 or so arrests, TheSmokingGun.com, which usually reports on celebrity scandals, found discrepancies and holes in the author’s version of events. When the site’s reporters contacted Mr. Frey to find some answers, the author admitted that he “embellished in the book for obvious dramatic reasons.”

Curious, TheSmokingGun.com went to work. After a six-week investigation, the site concluded that “police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book.” One section details a run-in with Ohio police after the author was supposedly high on crack and resisting arrest, which led to several months in prison. TheSmokingGun.com did find evidence that Mr. Frey was arrested that night, but, contrary to the author’s claims, he was not disorderly, was not reported high — merely drunk — and spent only hours in police headquarters. In another section, Mr. Frey tells how he was questioned in connection to a 1986 train crash that killed two Michigan high school students. Didn’t happen either, according to TheSmokingGun.com.

Like the author’s accolades, this is just a taste of the case against Mr. Frey, who refuses to let reporters review evidence for his outlandish tales. Miss Winfrey, who had the author on her show in October, is planning a follow-up interview. Has she read TheSmokingGun.com’s exhaustive report?

For being exposed as a fraud, Mr. Frey is the Knave of the week.

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