Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

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Press: HighBridge Audio; Unabridged edition (September 22, 2003)
ISBN:9781565117976
Author Name:Franken, Al
Language:English

Content

For the first time since his bestselling RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT, Franken trains his subversive wit directly on the contemporary political scene. 
Now, the "master of political humor" (Washington Post) destroys the myth of liberal bias in the media and exposes how the Right shamelessly tries to deceive the rest of us.
No one is spared as Al uses the Right's own words against them: not Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, the entire Fox network nor the Bush administration.
This is the book Al Franken fans have been waiting for (and his foes have been dreading).

From Publishers Weekly

This witty, scrupulously researched and expertly delivered audio production accomplishes what few nonfiction audio books manage to do-it realizes the full potential of the format. 
Even those who have already read Franken's book should take the time to listen to this superb audio adaptation, which is enhanced by Franken's impeccable sense of comic timing, eerily precise impersonations and inclusion of source materials.
In the most compelling section, for example, Franken juxtaposes two revealing clips to illustrate his view that the late Senator Paul Wellstone's memorial was "cynically distorted for partisan political advantage" not by the Democrats, but by the Republicans.
The first clip is from Rush Limbaugh's radio show, where he proclaims in a heavy, lugubrious voice, "The Democrats wrenched Wellstone's soul right out of the grave, assumed it for themselves and then used it for their own blatant, selfish political ambitions....
Show me where the grief was!" Franken follows this with an excerpt from the memorial-which will bring tears to the eyes of any listener, partisan or non-in which David McLaughlin pays tribute to his younger brother, Will, who was Wellstone's driver, bodyguard, adviser and "the one who kept Paul going." By turns sad, funny and serious (but always satirical), this audio book has all the entertainment value of fiction (and even a one-act play called The Waitress and The Lawyer based on one of President Bush's radio addresses), but the issues Franken raises will stay with listeners long after their laughter has died down.Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It's one thing to read about right-wing lies from the likes of journalist Eric Alterman and Joe Conason but quite another to hear the inconsistencies and twisted rhetoric filtered through the satiric brain of Al Franken. 
True, much of the material covered in all these books is the same--or, as Franken puts it in his acknowledgments, "Eric Alterman, thanks for writing a book on bias I could just put jokes to." But it's Franken's take on it that is so delicious.
Unlike his more serious fellow writers, he does not feel compelled toward civility or decorum.
Hence his chapter title: "Ann Coulter: Nutcase," or the next chapter: "You Know Who I Don't Like? Ann Coulter." And although personal attacks abound--"Bill O'Reilly: Lying, Splotchy Bully"--there's plenty of real talk about really serious stuff.
Only Franken makes it funny.
For instance, he deftly proves, with help from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, how Al Gore was steamrollered by the "liberal" press in the 2000 election; reveals the lies made by the Right about the Paul Wellstone memorial; and explains about as clearly as anyone how the Bush tax cuts work and whom they benefit.
Even the chapters that don't quite work--Franken trying to get a fake son into Bob Jones University--evoke a few smiles.
Expect big word of mouth on this one, which was rushed into print early to capitalize on the quickly rejected suit filed by Fox News against the book's title and cover design.
Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This book is laugh-out-loud funny."—The Washington Post   "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right rings with the moral clarity of an angel’s trumpet... 
Although Franken is a self-proclaimed liberal, his work differs in that it presents well-substantiated arguments and damning examples of false accusations that conservatives have effectively used against Democrats...
sharp analysis and humor."—Associated Press "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

Review

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. 
(The Washington Post) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right rings with the moral clarity of an angel’s trumpet...
Although Franken is a self-proclaimed liberal, his work differs in that it presents well-substantiated arguments and damning examples of false accusations that conservatives have effectively used against Democrats...
sharp analysis and humor.
(Associated Press) 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)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Coming soon...

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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.”

From AudioFile

Doctrinaire right-wingers may hate and even avoid this examination of contemporary political conservatism, but they shouldn't. 
There's something important to learn here--not so much about antiliberal perfidy, as the author intends, but about the tricks used in political discourse by liars of all persuasions.
In addition to large dollops of sarcasm and irony, Franken uses thorough research and common sense to uncover spin, half-truths, and downright fibs that TV, politicians, and the press feed us every day.
If you've seen him on the tube, you know his sound, which either you like or you don't.
Unlike other comics who read their own books (for example, Whoopi Goldberg and George Carlin), Franken has not stiffened up at the microphone.
In fact, his energy and spontaneity don't flag anywhere in the 10-hour recording.
Occasional readings by actor friends are a welcome addition to the printed text.
Y.R.
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     Nothing really worth the time to read. For instance, O'Reilly made the mistake of calling a Polk award a Peabody award.
  •     Despite Franken's wit and the comedy of the Fox News lawsuit, this is a serious book. It makes clear that the political right could not have achieved its present power without resorting to systematic and shameless lying. It also makes an implicit criticism of the mainline media. The technique of the right that Franken describes is to plant a completely false story and allow the newspapers and television news programs that are supposedly neutral but have been excessively credulous to pass them on as fact. Thus it happens that even I, who am opposed to the Bush administration, believed, for example, that Clintonites trashed executive offices before leaving them and that the Wellstone memorial degenerated into a tasteless political event. Both stories were fabrications solemnly passed on by mainstream media. Moreover, Franken demonstrates that the lies of the right cover up policies that are destructive of the general welfare, the economy, the environment, and even of national security. On the last issue, supposedly Bush's strong suit, he shows how the administration failed to act on warnings from the Clinton administration about al Qaeda and the need for an Office of Homeland Security until 9/11. The terrible truth is that 9/11 might have been preventable by a more intelligent administration. This is not a faultless book. Franken's fantasy in which he imagines how the chickenhawks of this administration might have behaved if they had actually served in the Vietnam war is entertaining but not really a contribution to his message. Still, with its humor and with the great help that it got from Fox News, this book will reach millions who will not read more solemn works that make many of the same points.
  •     franken tells it exactly how it is .. i respect the kat. keep bringing the truth to the masses.
  •     This book is more timely than ever, as we face the ultimate result of Al Franken's revelations in our current political climate. Worthy reading.
  •     Team Franken - a unique approach in research and documentation shores up credibility. Al's humor surpassed by none. I will read again and continue to recommend.
  •     A great book from Al Franken. A must read for Republicans.
  •     Totally re-affirmed my distrust of republicans and the right. Sad though.
  •     I love how reviewers who give this book one star spout about Franken's supposed "lies" when, in fact, Franken provides meticulous documentation throughout this compilation of the Right's manipulation of the media & mainstream America. DUH! READ THE BOOK!!A team of Harvard scholars researched all this stuff, and Franken does a wonderful job combining tons of stats, quotes, facts & eye-witness accounts into a comprehesive (and comprehendable) book. Also, it's fun to read. Al's a funny guy, you know, if you can follow wit and irony and stuff.But if you're one of the bazillions of unfortunate Americans blinded by conservative propaganda... you're probably fuming by now as you read this, and will fume all the more if you choose to read this book. Why, your little brain will probably begin to self-destruct when you start reading evidence of how you've been lied to & manipulated by leaders you've been too "patriotic" to question. There, there. Turn on the Fox News Channel, I'm sure you'll start to feel better soon.Moving on... Al sums up the conservative/liberal divide wonderfully in the beginning of his book: conservatives love America the way a 4 year old loves her mommy. Everything mommy does/says is good, and anyone who says anything bad about mommy is bad. Whereas, a liberal's love of country is more like grown-up love, which means "actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow...It's why we liberals want America to do the right thing."<applause applause>As a citizen who's more than concerned (more like, appalled) at the recent actions of our country's leaders, I appreciate Franken's honest, thoughtful, and thorough exploration of how the Right has been on a ramgage for Big Business and special interest groups, all the while waving the flag of patriotism and viciously attacking anyone who opposes -- or even questions -- their tactics.Finally, this book made me feel funny. I was genuinely laughing, while ingesting some seriously disturbing facts. I was angry, yet grateful to have the Right's lies, shady politics, and deliberate public confusions described in black & white (& REFERENCED!) I was gaseous, as well, but that probably had less to do with the book than with the burrito I was eating as I read it.Overall, big kudos to Al Franken.
  •     A hoot and a half. Made me proud that I bailed from the Republican Party years ago. Unfortunately not before I voted for George W., twice!! Oh well, live and learn.
  •     It's high time for Senator Al Franken to update this great book "Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them"!
  •     As a lifelong fan of the first years of Saturday Night Live, I generally feel obliged to check out any work by those connected with the show.
  •     Read it. Zany, visceral, hilarious, weird as it may be, the book drives home a concrete and valid reality: Americans are being misled by con-artists, political spinsters, and sloppy well-intentioned "journalists" who tacitly or overtly accept untrue information, and then feed it to casual news watchers.Franken is a comedian, but through the hilarity (and a few flop jokes) is a most serious premise. And it is not so much a polemic rant as his adversaries will claim. In fact, Franken rips his right-wing enemies a new one with the help of a crack team of Harvard research geeks. He employs scholarship and journalistic integrity to discredit a variety of right-wing frauds, including the President.His "TeamFranken" documents how mainstream media allows right wing fringe press to blow its horn loud enough to be recognized, even when (or especially when) the facts are bogus. This is a central theme of the book. It is an old trick to get a falsity published in headlines, knowing no one reads the retraction (if one is published). Hence, liars abound.Lies sounds rather extreme off the bat, and Franken's willingness to describe persons in a profane manner (the way we really do it) might take a humorless person or a republican aback. But TeamFranken, in fact a machine of credible research, pours a solid foundation for Franken's accusations - a stage for him to cut loose. And why use sugar?Franken is almost shocking in his exploits. He describes not only his charges against his foes, but his interaction with them. Franken confronts the people he discredits (if they will see him). In doing so he is delightfully obnoxious and courageous. His loud, crude bragging is intentional. He is Al Franken, and that has been part of his act forever ("And I'm Al Franken"). His tactic is honest, and it is one that other scholarly media critics cannot access. He sees that news has become the business of entertainment, and that often the truth is compromised for professional-wrestling-style debates that evoke memories of Morton Downey Jr. He counters. He uses his celebrity status and his comic talents to mix entertainment with brutal reality. He sees the necessity. But, unlike many "news" outlets, his facts are real and his intentions are on the table.Perhaps the most profound element in this book is Franken's corny idealism. It is not corny, but we have been trained to see it that way, haven't we? By contrast, the deserving targets of TeamFranken seem incredulous when they are exposed. Dirty tricks are just part of the game, Al! Everybody's doing it, right?Wrong. Bill O'Reilly and company will need MLA manuals (in addition to cortisone) from here out.
  •     I've read the book several times, and I consider it a classic. What I'm having a problem wrapping my head around is that there are a total of four 1-star reviews here on Amazon,...

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