Oprah shreds Rielle Hunter's psycho-babble

Oprah Winfrey is more than a superstar TV host. She's also an excellent interviewer -- I mean, she's in a league with Katie Couric.

At least, that is felt like Thursday watching her skillfully slice and dice the contradictory psycho-babble and rationalizations from Rielle Hunter, mistress of disgraced one-time presidential candidate John Edward.


Hunter kept talking about her "commitment" to a "life of truth," and Winfrey kept patiently but doggedly calling her on it. Consistently reminding Hunter of her claims of being committed to "spirituality" and "truth," Winfrey point by point challenged her as to how she could  "make that OK" with the sleazy, deceitful, marriage-shredding behavior she was engaged in with Edwards. Did Winfrey "crack" Hunter in some way? No, of course not. That doesn't happen with someone as self-delusional and strange as Hunter. But Winfrey did show her for the liar, hypocrite and shameless fame chaser she is. And their TV conversation Thursday continued the public shaming of John Edwards. And that's a very good thing for all of us to see -- before we fall for the next smiling, self-anointed "peoples' candidate" with a $500 haircut.

At one point, when Winfrey was quizzing Hunter on why she went along with Edwards' denying the paternity of her child via the really big lie that an aide was the real father, Winfrey sarcastically addressed Hunter as "Miss Spirituality."


"So why did you, Miss Spirituality and 'Alignment with the Truth,' go along with that?" Winfrey asked.

"Because of my daughter," Hunter said. She said she feared that if she didn't go along with the paternity scam, Edwards would be forced to drop out of the presidential race and her daughter would grow up thinking she was to blame for John Edwards never being president of the United States.

And then, Hunter started crying.

Winfrey wasn't letting us, though, "Can you honestly say no part of you was thinking about you [when you went along with the lie]?"

"No...," Hunter said.

But Winfrey kept her talking -- did she ever keep her talking. Winfrey got her to talk about the sex tape that she and the man she calls "Johnny" made. The talk show host got her to talk about the photos she posed for in "GQ" magazine.

"I know, I'm going to sound like Dr. Phil here, but what were you thinking [with those photos], because you actually had to take your pants off."

Yes, Oprah. Yes, she actually had to take off her pants her. Thank you, for saying it like it is. If only other TV interviewers had such frankness and clarity. "Because you actually had to take off your pants" cuts straight through all te psycho-babble, New Age spirituality b.s., rationalizations and flat out crazy lies.

And then, Winfrey says, "so what did Johnny say about those photos." And there is a special twist on the way Winfrey says "Johnny." She is a subtle interview assassin, and I loved seeing her at the top of her game with Hunter.

For the record, Hunter claims that "Johnny" said, "Where are your pants?"

Winfrey's body language during the interview was also fascinating. When she wanted to ask something private or complicated, she would actually lean toward Hunter who was seated in a chair across from her. As much as Hunter talked about the "magnetic field" of "energy and lights" that Johnny gave off, I think Winfrey had Hunter in her own magnetic field of charismatic TV interviewer.

And I say, if you got it, Oprah, use it.

But there were other times when Winfrey's body language started telling how she might have really felt. At those moments, she would actually start leaning further and further back in her chair away from Hunter. This was particularly true as she listened to Hunter trying to justify tearing apart Edwards' relationship with his wife, Elizabeth.

"Do you still love him?"

"Oh yes,"

"Does he love you?'

"Yes, I believe he does."

"Has he ever told you?"

"... Yes."

Later, "Do you think you hurt Elizabeth Edwards?"

Hunter said she thinks "Elizabeth...Johnny...and every one in that family was hurt." But Winfrey wasn't having it -- and good for her.

"That was good, but you didn't answer my question ," Winfrey says, "Do you think you hurt Elizabeth Edwards."

"I don't know...," Hunter said, one of many times in the interview that she revealed her incredible capacity for self-delusion and refusal to accept moral responsibility for her life of continued dishonesty from the day she met Edwards.

Forget any moral judgments connected to her role in adultery, what matters to me is her willingness to lie and lie and lie even as her lies might have helped the teller of the biggest lies become the president of the United States.

Edwards was close enough to that title that it still scares the heck out of me. It scares the double heck out of me that the mainstream media performed so poorly that we needed the "National Enquirer" to save us and expose the lies. And Hunter was at the heart of all that duplicity -- and she has the nerve to talk about a "life of truth"

Miss "alignment with the truth," indeed. I'm glad Winfrey skillfully mocked such verbal jujitsu.

You don't need New Age terms like "Alignment with the Truth" if you really are honest and straightforward in your everyday life. And Winfrey showed us one crooked, screwed-up character Thursday.

And I'll just bet that Winfrey absolutely owned the first day of the May "sweeps" ratings war with Thursday's interview. And, again, good for her.

There are many reasons Winfrey owned daytime forever. One of the biggest: her superb skill as an interviewer.