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

Al Franken
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,860 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 26 2003
Al Franken, "one of our savviest satirists" (People), takes on the issues, the politicians, and the pundits in one of the most anticipated books of the year.

For the first time since his own classic Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations, Al Franken trains his subversive wit directly on the contemporary political scene. Now, the "master of political humor" (Washington Times) 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 the Bush administration and their rhetorical hypocrisy. Not Ann Coulter and her specious screeds. Not the new generation of talk-radio hosts, and not Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, and the entire Fox network. This is the book Al Franken fans have been waiting for (and his foes have been dreading). Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always funny, Lies is sure to become the most talked about book of political humor in 2003 and beyond.

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From Amazon

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Asking whether there is a liberal or conservative bias to the mainstream media is a little like asking whether al Qaeda uses too much oil in their hummus. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A work to inspire debate July 10 2004
The best thing one could wish for about this book - and I'm sure Al Franken will agree with this - is that it inspire debate. And, with 2,847 reviews here and counting, I think it's clear that "Lies..." has done the job.
I've been a fan of Al Franken's brand of humor since his first appearances on SNL with partner Tom Davis (by the way, whatever happened to Tom Davis?), the 'Al Franken Decade' and then - after a hiatus - his return to the show which included, among other things, some dead-on impersonations of politicians like Paul Simon ("It's the bow tie, right?") and Pat Robertson. It's clear Franken has a political jones that won't go away.
Regardless of your political stripe, you've got to give Franken credit for the work that went into this book: marshalling a team of 14 over a two-year period, this is no hack, slap-and-paste effort. Definiitely worth checking out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Franken Hits Them Where it Should Hurt Sept. 14 2003
This is a deliciously funny, and factually documented, puncturing of all the big right wing gas bags who dominate cable TV and, unfortunately, our politics in these debased times. Sure, Al is often shrill and sometimes profane but he backs up his outraged views with facts unlike the bull spouted by Coulter, O'Reilly, Hannity and their ilk. And, he does it entertainingly, though I'm sure it will go over the heads of a lot of the wing nuts he's aiming at. A real eye-opener for those who don't know what the fuss is about, too. Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's about the lies Sept. 5 2003
Every true American patriot should read Al Franken's most recent book. Honest, informed debate is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. "Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them" opens the window to allow the fresh air of truth into public discussion. The book is not about conservative versus liberal. It is primarily about absolutes: lies and truths. A conservative like John McCain would find Franken's book to be a welcome bit of honesty given the current media climate. Many Americans have been misled to think that broadcast journalism is some hodgepodge of entertainment, opinions, selective man-on-the-street interviews, and slivers of facts delivered by videogenic models with the personalities of malicious frat boys. Mr. Franken's book dissects the "lie machine" and it is about time. Fortunately, the sales indicate it's not too late for truth reclamation. I do regret that Mr. Franken did not include the chapter he was working on about how chummy the Bushes are with the bin Ladens. One more thing - it's very, very funny. I am quite grateful that Mr. Franken did not follow in the footsteps of his fellow Lampoon alums, content to change nothing in the world, collecting checks to write unproduced scripts.
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3.0 out of 5 stars No lies, but plenty self-serving Sept. 2 2003
Al Franken is a funny man, as he has proven in a couple of decades of writing for "Saturday Night Live." And because some of the same right-wing celebrities raise as many hackles on him as they do on me, I wanted very much to like Franken's new book.
But Franken's "Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right".. is as repetitive and unwieldly as its title. The book, in fact, gained some undue publicity because of that title. Fox News recently tried to sue Franken for using the words "fair and balanced," claiming that they had copyrighted those words as a trademark for their news broadcast. Franken, almost literally, laughed the case out of court.
However, that's one of the few genuine laughs the book earns. Franken tries hard--a bit too hard, at times--to humorously point out many of the distortions made by notable conservatives to support their beliefs. Franken doesn't pick on insignificant targets, either--his grouping of "The Right" includes Rush Limbaugh, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly (on whom he spends an inordinate amount of time), and the current President and Vice-President, among many others.
Based on the many inconsistencies documented here, Franken could have presented them straightforwardly and had quite a case. But there are two big problems with Franken's style. First, his intended humor is writ very large, as evidenced in the book's title. It isn't enough for Franken to present a point comedically--he has to repeat it and beat it to death, like a combination of Dennis Miller and Mel Brooks.
The second problem is that Franken appears to have as self-serving of an agenda as the people he tries to satirize.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read Aug. 26 2003
By Dataviz
Too few people would read a book that did nothing but expose some of the shamelessly dishonest liars in the right-wing media and the current administration. But a lot of people are going to read this one because it is funny, too. The book does nothing major, just takes the time to examine statements, compare them to facts, and demonstrate falsehoods in the author's relentlessly amusing fashion. My appreciation to Al Franken and I wish we had more like him.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious July 13 2004
By A Customer
A hilarious look at the right wing neo-conservatives in America. Blunt and well cited.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Has an Opinion Sept. 3 2003
Al Franken uses his first amendment right in his book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." If you're use to the usual political drivel which spews from Franken, funny, insightful drivel that is, you will surely appreciate his thoughts on current world topics and those who have created them.
Ultimately, this book is typical of the genre and not ground-breaking in any way. Fans will sheepishly agree on Franken's revelations of the "truth." Meanwhile, rightys will argue against the pretentious foundation of his statements. As a bonus, he manages to keep Stuart Smalley references to a tolerable 28 pages - just kidding, Al.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty funny
I'd probably have liked it more if I had watched fox news...everday from 1998 through 2004, otherwise a funny read.
Published on Dec 20 2011 by darski
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Very Good! Fun! Also look to ArtisanPacificPublishing Website for more Political Humour. Beaver Tales and a Canada Goosing George and Condi: The Last Decayed
Published on May 19 2010 by Reign Chelsin
5.0 out of 5 stars The best America has to offer
Love this guy-love his book. Loved him on SNL and actually got his autograph once! Okay, I'm a moderate, so get on that "sides" issue, but this is one great book. Read more
Published on May 24 2006 by D. McIntosh
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire and Irony in top form, thanks Al
I bought this book because it was cheap (mark-down bin cheap) and boy howdy I am not disappointed. Al Franken's masterful use of comedy to slice through political double-speak and... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2006 by Travis Benson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Just finished the book. Read it all in 2 days, great reading
Published on Aug. 26 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars For those who want to know the truth
This book gives a fun look at the lies spread by politicians, the media, and political analysts. It should be read by anyone on the fence about the upcoming election. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Wine Snob
4.0 out of 5 stars Clone All Franken!
"Lies" is laugh-out-loud funny, and it is well-informed and informative, as well. Its foundation is a love of America and a desire to better the human condition and live... Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by Danusha V. Goska
5.0 out of 5 stars Conservatives are from Mars, Liberals are from Venus
Good gosh golly that Al Franken makes me so angry! I could just bust thinking about him!
The liberals have tarnished the reputations of the Fox News Channel, which fine... Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Steve Thulen
1.0 out of 5 stars Team Franken?
When I found out that "Team Franken" consisted of 14 Harvard undergrads who were charged with fact checking and debating, I knew what was coming. I wasn't wrong. Read more
Published on July 15 2004
Comedian Al Franken wrote a book called "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them". It was about the Fox News Channel, which is a fair, balanced news organization that... Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Steven Travers
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