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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them Hardcover – August 21, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Having previously dissected the factual inaccuracies of a single bellicose talk show host in Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, Al Franken takes his fight to a larger foe: President George W. Bush, the Bush Administration, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, and scores of other conservatives whom, he says, are playing loose with the facts. It's a lot of ground to cover, as evidenced by the 43 chapters in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, but the results are often entertaining and insightful. Franken occupies a unique place in the modern political dialogue as perhaps the media's only comedy writer and performer who is also a Harvard fellow as well as a liberal political commentator. This unique and vaguely lonely position lends a charming quixotic quality to adventures such as a tense encounter with the Fox News staff at the National Press Club, a challenge to fisticuffs with National Review Editor Rich Lowry, and an oddly sweet admissions visit to ultra-conservative Bob Jones University (with a young research assistant posing as his son when Franken's real-life son refuses to participate in the charade). Less useful are comic book dramatizations of "Supply Side Jesus" and a fictitious Vietnam War story featuring the numerous righties who, Franken intimates, improperly avoided service. And Franken's criticisms of conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity, O’Reilly, and columnist Coulter, while admirable in their attention to detail, fail to shed much new light on people who have built careers on broad arguments and relentless self-aggrandizement. But Franken is at his best, and most compellingly readable, when he backs off the wackiness and the personal grudges and writes about more personal matters such as the political circus surrounding the memorial service of the late Senator Paul Wellstone. But even on these more serious topics, Franken's wit is still present and, in fact, grows sharper. In a time when much political discourse is composed of rage and shouting, it's refreshing that Al Franken is able to shout in a witty manner. --John Moe

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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (August 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525947647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525947646
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,021 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,139 of 1,326 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I hate to admit it, but this book really illustrates the poor research and constant mistruths that come from my party. Coulter is a disgrace to not just the right but America and all it stands for. Hannity and Colmes should be re-named to the Sean Hannity Show because Alan Colmes simply is not as vociferous as his counterpart and it hurts the left. I'm Republican but more importantly I'm a proud American. I would prefer to hear fair and balanced because it is good for public discourse but it simply is not happening and never will. He who yells loudest is usually the one heard. I was really disheartened to learn the truths about Al Gore and Love Canal, the Internet and Love Story. Franken illustrates the truth about the lies that were told by the media that negatively affected Gore's run for the presidency. It is worth buying this book just to read about this alone. Some that read this review may question my loyalty to the GOP. At times I do myself. I simply wish that everyone would put the country first rather than their agenda. After completing the book I'm a little more than disillusioned with the lies in the media. We should stand for it no longer. This is an excellent book for everyone!
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892 of 1,050 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a conservative, I belong to the NRA, and I am quite certain that Al and I would disagree in our interpretations of the intent of the Second Amendment. And if we were to debate this topic, it might even turn into a heated discussion. But ultimately I can respect Mr. Frankin's right to his beliefs on gun control without labeling him a "commie" or a Socialist. And I feel quite certain that Mr. Frankin could respect my right to my beliefs on the right to keep and bear arms without accusing me of being a Nazi. Folks, in case anyone has forgotten, this is what America is supposed to be about.
As a conservative American, I do not want to be associated with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, or, for that matter, George W. Bush and his cronies. Since 9/11, these demagogues have spearheaded a national movement of lies, deceit, fear mongering, phony patriotism, and propaganda to rally unwitting Americans behind Bush's completely irresponsible and self-serving political agenda. And as Frankin so adeptly points out, these people will shamelessly resort to name calling, distortions, verbal abuse, and guilt (e.g., "If you don't agree with me you aren't a good American") to coerce Americans to step in line with their own ill-conceived agendas. People, what we are witnessing here isn't about conservatism, and it isn't about patriotism -- it's borderline Fascism.
What really scares me is that millions of "patriotic" Americans have put on their blinders and eagerly jumped on to this impending train wreck without giving the first moment's thought as to where it is leading this country.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on April 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I reread this book after looking at some of the reviews--some full of wit and eloquence and some that were full of something else, usually from those who hadn't read it.

There are three reasons I recommend getting this book:

It is an easy read from a satirist who speaks with convictions and strongly held liberal beliefs. With such a title, Franken has no choice but to scrupulously research his assertions and charges. And charges he makes against Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, Goldberg, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and you name it.

His and Team Franken's research proves these people have been distorting, dissembling, libeling and lying constantly. (I wonder if Goldberg added Franken to the title of his book after Franken eviscerated him and his assertions on the Phil Donahue Show.) Franken also appears to have the tactics of people like O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh down cold when they are caught lying. They will resort to charges against the accuser's patriotism or attempt to bully their way out of it.

Franken also debunks the myth of the media having a liberal bias. In comparisons between favorable and unfavorable reporting of Gore and Bush during the presidential campaign of 2000, Bush received far better treatment from the press. He provides numerous instances where the Republicans and the press distored stories which the press then printed without checking. He also notes how many times Bush lied and how the press let him skate. If you report lies often enough, according to Franken, people take them as facts. You might expect that from the public, but Franken contends that you deserve more from a free press whom he accuses of being lazy and unprofessional.
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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Jim Joseph on October 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The world needs Al Franken. In fact, we could use a few of them.
Comedian, Harvard Fellow and Liberal commentator Al Franken is a man who has the courage, wit, and smarts to not just stand up to the Conservative Right, but to do so intelligently, and with a sense of humor (something the right is wholly devoid of). In this book, he blows the lid off of the selective editing, obfuscation, and downright untruth often used by the Right Wing when it comes to advancing their political and social agenda. He uses factual reasoning and extensive bibliographical resources to illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Right...hardly ever is.
He reserves particular vitriol for Conservative media figureheads like Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Bernie Goldberg and Sean Hannity, punching holes in their inflated facades, and letting the air out of their needlessly overblown egoes. But it's not as though the Bush administration gets off light, either. He takes the Bush team to task on the economy, environment, foreign policy, and education. His chapter on pre-9/11 intelligence failings is seriously eye-opening, and worth the price of admission alone; as are his views on the Wellstone Memorial (or lack thereof), Fox News, and "liberal bias in the media."
Franken also dismisses the "with us or against us" domestic policy of the Bush administration, wherein voices of dissent are universally (and incorrectly) colored as being borne of anti-American sentiment, by drawing an apt analogy: Liberals don't hate America, Liberals love America just as much as conservatives do. It's just that Conservatives love America like a four-year-old loves her mommy: Totally, completely, and without question. Mommy is Wonder Woman. She is perfect, beautiful, and can do no wrong.
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