read: 31 October 2003
Al Franken in on a par with Thomas Frank for writing hard-hitting political critique that is not completely painful to read. This book which outlines the lies told by popular right-wing media pundits and not-as-popular right wing government officials is researched within an inch of its life. Or at least I think it is. Franken spends a lot of time discussing how he hates liars and how he has done the research on topic that windbags like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity talk out their ass about. I think he’s right and I agree with his analysis, but I find myself wondering how much I’d agree with his research if I didn’t already agree with his conclusions.
In any case, it’s good to see intelligent well-respected Democrats standing up for what they believe in and taking the Right to task for a lot of their egregious lying, playing with the truth and misrepresentation about things that actually happened. Franken discusses a wide range of issues ranging from teen abstinence programs [they don’t work, conservatives say they do], Paul Wellstone’s memorial [the right says it was staged, Franken knows it wasn’t] and Ann Coulter [she says she tells the truth, Franken points out where she lies throughout her book]. Many times the subjects of Franken’s analysis will refute his claims that they are liars and he goes after these claims as well. The man is merciless and gives no quarter when pursuing the truth. This makes for an interesting spectator sport when he is skewering Fox’s Billl O’Reilly, but it’s really uncomfortable when he discusses the huige amount of money Dick Cheney’s Halliburton has made with questionable contracts with the federal government. I spent a lot of time thinking “But hey, isn’t that ILLEGAL?”
At the same time Franken does a pretty good job of not absolving himself of all culpability. He mentions that his kids go to private schools, he attends showy press and government functions and he spoke at a ClearChannel pro-war rally before he changed his mind about the war. He admits when jokes of his don’t go over well and definitely tries to play the reasonable man and not some practical joker who just does this sort of thing for fun. This works well because his main point is “hey, anyone with a Lexis-Nexis account can discover the truth about these people!” Also, did I mention he’s just really funny?
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