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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right Hardcover – 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 3,027 customer reviews

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

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 Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Dutton / Penguin (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OFOIY0
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,027 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,962,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent in revealing the hypocrisy of the right, the laziness and pack mentality of mainstream journalism, and the lies of the Bush administration.
But to be fair, I have been searching for an intelligent response to the book from the right-wing media that can refute the facts presented by TeamFranken. (The one-star Amazon reviewers don't count because they obviously didn't even read the book... HULLLOOO??)
But I have found nothing substantial from web searches... Fox News, Washington Times, Weekly Standard, WSJ, and Rush Limbaugh are all silent. I did however find one book review from columnist Byron York of the National Review, but instead of rebutting the factual points, he just derides Al's humor and tone. Lame.
If that is the best that the right can come up with to debunk this book, then Franken's research must have been pretty solid, even if you never bothered to verify Franken's footnotes (which I did).
By the way, I think Borders and Barnes & Nobles both lean to the right too because at my local stores, they both put Al's book near the bottom of the Humor section while OReilly and Coulter are on the top of the Political Science section. What's up with that? Based on the books' content, the store manager should swap shelf positions.
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