“Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:
A Fair and Balanced Look At The Right”
by Al Franken
The humor in this book really was laugh-out-loud funny. The truth in this book was turn-my-stomach sickening. There were even a few parts that were tears-in-my-eyes sad.
This book came out in 2003. I really wish I would have read it then. I still may not have read it now, if not for the recommendation of a family member. The thing is, in 2003, I may not yet have been at a place in my journey where I was ready for this. Maybe. Maybe not.
Long before I read this book, I began to realize that many on the “left” hold their beliefs, not due to a lack of morality, as we’ve been led to believe, but actually because of their morality. Because of their Christian faith. That was pointed out by one of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey. He mentioned that as he was relating his experiences with President and Hillary Clinton. It was truly one of those scales-falling-from-my-eyes moments. Reading “Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” was another.
The language contained in the pages of Mr. Franken’s book can be very raw, and is, just a few times, downright vulgar. Some of the most vulgar parts, however, are quotes from people like Bill O’Reilly.
But far more vulgar than any language could ever be, are the actions, lies, and abominations committed by those exposed in this book.
Some of the people discussed are, well, just plain stupid. But much worse, most are not. They are, instead, calculating and intentional as they lie, manipulate, distort, and smear.
This book is extremely well researched, and has detailed footnotes, endnotes, and internet links, so you can verify all the facts for yourself. Al Franken commissioned 14 Harvard students to do in-depth research so he could “do something my targets seem incapable of doing – get my facts straight.”
Ann Coulter “whose lies are painstakingly crafted to serve her radical political agenda.”
Bill O’Reilly who “seems to lie for two reasons. One, to polish his own apple”, and two, “to attack anyone who’s critical of him.”
Of George W. Bush: “The media thought he was kind of stupid. He isn’t. He’s just shamelessly dishonest.”
And there’s Hannity and Colmes, Bernie Goldberg, and many more lying liars.
The first 13 chapters really held me. Somewhere after that, it went a little dry for me. That only lasted for a couple or so chapters, and then it was back on track.
Chapter 24 is a great exposé on the “Wall Street Journal” and it’s hack journalism.
Chapter 25 was truly sad. It chronicles how the right-wing media hijacked the pain and anguish of a family who lost a loved one. They not only used the event as a political tool, they then blamed those suffering loss of the very political hijacking they themselves were doing. Truly, some of the most despicable human behavior I have ever read about.
OK. Even a great book may not be perfect. Chapter 29 was, for me at least, a waste of time. It is a fictional story called “Operation Chickenhawk.” It does, in many places, make fun of the disgustingly vulgar piece of fiction that Bill O’Reilly wrote, “Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Murder and Television.”
Still, I found it unnecessary and distracting. Personally, I advise you to skip that chapter all together. Later in the book there’s another bit of fiction in the form of a one-act play. It didn’t do much for me, but it was far better than “Operation Chickenhawk.” Still, there are well over 40 other chapters that you shouldn’t miss.
In the chapter called “I’m A Bad Liar,” Al and friend set out to perpetrate an elaborate ruse on Bob Jones University. I heads full force in the direction you would expect from a book like this, but then, it takes a surprising turn; one that gave me even more respect for Mr. Franken.
That’s followed by a chapter about Jerry Falwell.
OK, I know. Falwell is funny enough without any help. Well, maybe more scary than funny.
Chapter 33 discussed Abstinence education. There are some very interesting statistics that every parent should read.
There’s a chapter called “The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus.” The entire chapter is a “comic strip” of sorts. It contrasts some of the quasi-Christian right-wing teachings with the actual gospel of Christ. This chapter can actually be read, or rather watched online. You can see this narrated version on YouTube at:
“Our air, water, and wildlife are under attack.”
Ok. What did you first think when you read that line? Ranting of some left-wing wacko extremist? Chapter 39 will do wonders to change your mind. Many of us know we’re killing ourselves and our planet, but here are real-world examples of how bad it really is, and which political party is doing all it can to make sure no one stops it.
There is information in this book about the war against terrorism. Stories about 9/11. Stories about advance information our government willfully ignored that could possibly have prevented that tragedy. There’s documentation of, again, willful deception and lies to get the American people onboard for a war based largely on information about weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist.
Should you read this book?
* If you believe for one second that right-wing politicians are more moral than the left, you need to read this book.
* If you don’t realize that the right has used your Christianity and your faith as a tool to manipulate and control you, you need to read this book.
* If you’re one of those who, despite what you say, believe deep down that “Republican” and “Christian” are the same thing,
you need to read this book.
* If you are even close to being able to handle the truth, you need to read this book.
There is an updated version in paperback, which has “More Lies and New Lying Liars!” If you get a chance, get that copy. If it’s not available, the original is still a good choice. If you consider yourself a Christian, and your vote (if you vote) is based on moral choices of the candidates, you, especially, should read this book. Ignorance may be the reason we do some things in our lives. I know it’s been my reason many times. But, in the end, ignorance really isn’t an excuse.
There are some major, very serious, issues discussed in these pages. So serious, that without the humor, would be much harder to take. While this book is indeed serious, it’s also very, very funny.
In the end, Mr. Franken believes “We have to fight back. But we can’t fight like they do. They fight with lies. We can’t do that. We have to fight them with the truth.”
This book may open your eyes to what some of that truth really is.