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Lies

And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

Al Franken - Author

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ISBN 9781101219447 | 448 pages | 27 Jul 2004 | Plume | 18 - AND UP
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Summary of Lies Summary of Lies Reviews for Lies An Excerpt from Lies
Al Franken, one of our “savviest satirists” (People), has been studying the rhetoric of the Right. He has listened to their cries of “slander,” “bias,” and even “treason.” He has examined the Bush administration’s policies of squandering our surplus, ravaging the environment, and alienating the rest of the world. He’s even watched Fox News. A lot.

And, in this fair and balanced report, Al bravely and candidly exposes them all for what they are: liars. Lying, lying liars. Al destroys the liberal media bias myth by doing what his targets seem incapable of: getting his facts straight. Using the Right’s own words against them, he takes on the pundits, the politicians, and the issues, in the most talked about book of the year.

Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always funny, Lies sticks it to the most right-wing administration in memory, and to the right-wing media hacks who do its bidding.

An excerpt from

LIES: And the Lying Liars Who Them--A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

by Al Franken

Introduction

God chose me to write this book.

Just the fact that you are reading this is proof not just of God’s existence, but also of His/Her/Its beneficence. That’s right. I am not certain of God’s precise gender. But I am certain that He/She/It chose me to write this book.

This isn’t hubris. I’m not saying this in an egotistical way. God didn’t choose me because I’m the greatest writer who ever lived. That was William Shakespeare, whose work I have a passing familiarity with. No. I just happened to be the right vessel at the right time. If something in this book makes you laugh, it was God’s joke. If something makes you think, it’s because God had a good point to make.

The reason I know God chose me is because God spoke to me personally.

God began our conversation by clearing something up. Some of George W. Bush’s friends say that Bush believes God called him to be president during these times of trial. But God told me that He/She/It had actually chosen Al Gore by making sure that Gore won the popular vote and, God thought, the electoral college. “THAT WORKED FOR EVERYONE ELSE,” God said.

“What about Tilden?” I asked, referring to the 1876 debacle.

“QUIET!” God snapped. God was angry.

God said that after 9/11, George W. Bush squandered a unique moment of national unity. That instead of rallying the country around a program of mutual purpose and sacrifice, Bush cynically used the tragedy to solidify his political power and pursue an agenda that panders to his base and serves the interests of his corporate backers.

God told me that Bush squandered a $4.6 trillion surplus and is plunging us into deficits as far as God can see. And that Bush squandered another surplus. The surplus of goodwill from the rest of the world that he had inherited from Bill Clinton.

And this was pissing God off.

He/She/It was right. But it sounded like a lot of work.

“Look, God, I’m flattered, but I think you got the wrong guy. The kind of book you’re talking about would require months of research.”

And God said, “LET THERE BE GOOGLE. AND LET THERE BE LEXISNEXIS.”

“Very funny, God. I use Google all the time.”

“YES, I KNOW,” God said. “FOR HOT ASIAN TEENS.”

“You must be thinking of my son, Joe.”

“AL? I'M OMNISCIENT.”

“Okay, okay.” I changed the subject. “It’s just that I can’t do this book myself.”

“LEAVE THAT TO ME,” God boomed.

And that’s when Harvard called.

***

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government asked me to serve as a fellow at its Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. After my varied and celebrated career in television, movies, publishing, and the lucrative world of corporate speaking, being a fellow at Harvard seemed, frankly, like a step down.

I couldn’t think of anything less appealing than molding the minds of tomorrow’s leaders, unless it was spending fireside evenings sipping sherry with great minds at the Faculty Club. Yawn.

To my surprise and delight, though, all Harvard wanted me to do was show up every once in a while and write something about something. That gave me an idea.

“Would it be okay if I wrote a scathingly partisan attack on the rightwing media and the Bush administration?”

“No problem,” Harvard said absentmindedly.

“Count me in,” I replied. “From now on call me ‘Professor Franken.’”

“No,” Harvard said, “you’re not a professor. But you can run a study group on the topic of your choosing.”

“Great,” I said. “I’ve got the perfect topic: Write My Son’s Harvard College Application Essay.”

“No,” they said. “Harvard students already know how to write successful Harvard applications, Al. We want you to teach them something new.”

Harvard was right where I wanted it. “How about if the topic is: How to Research My Book?”

“Sure,” Harvard said. “Most of our professors teach that course. Why, in the Biochemistry department, most of the graduate level courses are-”

Harvard was boring me. “I gotta run, Harvard. Thanks.”

***

I had my Nexis, I had my Google, I had my Harvard fellowship, and I had my fourteen research assistants. I sat down to write. Nothing.

So I got on my knees and prayed for guidance. “How, God, can I best do Your work through this book? Who, dear Lord, is the audience for a book like this? And what’s a good title?”

God answered, “YOU KNOW THOSE SHITTY BOOKS BY ANN COULTER AND BERNIE GOLDBERG?”

“The best-sellers that claim there’s a liberal bias in the media?” I asked.

“TOTAL BULLSHIT,” God said. “START BY ATTACKING THEM. HE'S CLEARLY A DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEE, AND SHE JUST LIES. BY THE WAY, THERE'S SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH HER.”

“That’s pretty obvious.”

“SO GO AFTER THEM, THE WHOLE LIBERAL BIAS MYTH, AND THEN GO AFTER THE RIGHT-WING MEDIA. ESPECIALLY FOX.”

“Okay, God, I’m writing this down.”

“THEN USE THEM AS A JUMPING-OFF POINT TO GO AFTER BUSH. YOU KNOW, BIG TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH, SURGING UNEMPLOYMENT, IGNORING EVERYONE BUT HIS CORPORATE BUDDIES, SCREWING THE ENVIRONMENT, PISSING OFF THE REST OF THE WORLD. THAT STUFF. AND THAT'S YOUR BOOK.”

“Got it. One last thing. Title.”

“HOW ABOUT BEARERS OF FALSE WITNESS AND THE FALSE WITNESS THAT THEY BEAR?”

“Hmm. I, uh, I’ll work with that.”

A Note from the Author  xi

Introduction xv

1 Hummus 1

2  Ann Coulter: Nutcase  5

3 You Know Who I Don't Like? Ann Coulter  17

4 Liberals Who Hate America   21

5 Loving America the Al Franken Way  24

6 I Bitch-Slap Bernie Goldberg 28

7 The 2000 Presidential Election: How It Disproved the Hypothetical Liberal Media Paradigm Matrix 37

8 Conclusion: A Lesson Learned 51

9 Five Get-Rich-Quick Tips the Wall Street  Fat Cats Don't Want You to Know 52

10 Chapter for American Book by Kharap Juta 56

11 I'm Funnier than Kharap Juta 57

12 The Chapter on Fox 58

13 Bill O'Reilly: Lying, Splotchy Bully 65

14 Hannity and Comes 83

15 The Blame-America's Ex-President-First Crowd 104

16 Operation Ignore 115

17 Our National Dialogue on Terrorism 123

18 Humor in Uniform 124

19 Who Created the Tone? 132

20 Did the tone Change? 142

21 Why Did Anyone Think It Would Change? 143 

22 I Grow Discouraged About the Tone 152

23 I'm Prudenized 165

24 Paul Gigot Is Unable to Defend an Incredibly Stupid Wall Street Journal Editorial 170

25 "This Was Not a Memorial to Paul Wellstone": A Case Study in Right-Wing Lies 177

26 I Attend the White House Correspondents Dinner and Annoy Karl Rove, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and the Entire Fox News Team  206

27 The Lying Years 217

28 Bush Can't Lose With Clinton's Military 220

29 Operation Chickenhawk: Episode One 226

30 Fun with Racism 252

31 I'm a Bad Liar 261

32 Thank God for Jerry Falwell 277

33 Abstinence Heroes 283

34 Abstinence Heroes II 287

35 "By Far the Vast Majority of My Tax Cuts Go to Those at the Bottom"  288

36 The Waitress and the Lawyer: A One-Act Play 304

37 The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus 313

38 I Challenge Rich Lowry to a Fight 324

39 Vast Lagoons of Pig Feces: The Bush Environmental Record 328

40 I Meet Former First Lady Barbara Bush and It Doesn't Go Well! 336

41 My Personal Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction 342

42 The No Child Left Behind Standardized Test 349

43 What is a Lie? 352

    Sources and Notes 355

   Meet TeamFranken 369

   Acknowledgments 373

   Endnotes 379

A typically unabashed blend of razor-witted denunciation and old-fashioned gumshoe detective work directed at right-wing crazies both in and out of government... [An] exquisitely irritating new book. (The Independent, London)

[A] heady mixture of scathing humor and righteous indignation. (The Onion)


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