Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them: A Fair and Balanced Look at The Right by Al Franken (Dutton), 377 pages, $37.50 cloth. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
When the Fox network stupidly decided to try to stop the publication of Al Franken's book Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them, an underground-classic-to-be was turned into a best-seller . Fox argued that it owned the motto "fair and balanced" and that readers would be stupid enough to think the book was connected to Fox. The judge basically told Fox to grow a sense of humour, said it was strange that a communications outfit would try to censor Franken and threw out the case.
Smart decision, because this is a very funny, good book.
Franken, employing more than a dozen Harvard student researchers, systematically deconstructs the network of conservative pundits and politicos, laying bare the lies they've been telling while yanking America rightward.
He begins by taking the scalpel to ever-present, ever-sneering Anne Coulter, the lawyer turned Republican attack dog. Coulter lies about ordinary things like the date of birth on her driver's licence. But she also lies about bigger things. For instance, trying to show how the liberal media establishment looks down on ordinary race-car-loving America, she claimed the New York Times hadn't put the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt on the front page the day after his crash. (It did.)
Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal's editorial page are all deliciously dissected by Franken's razor wit and logic.
This is a much funnier and more serious book than Michael Moore's Stupid White Men. Franken calls for a more critical analysis of the "facts" and stats that are tossed out by the right-wing media machine to justify bad policies and denigrate their opponents.
No wonder Fox tried to kill the book. In the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, "The truth? You can't handle the truth."
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