Al Franken´s ”Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them”

It is easy to understand how much fun Al Franken must have had while writing this book. At the same time it is obvious that the streak of frustration which runs through his entire text comes out of despair over how political power in the U.S. has been kidnapped and how the media world has been taken over by the stupid and the imbecile.

The liars in Franken´s book are thus circling in the political and journalistic spheres. That is where ideology is being produced and spread, and if the former can get a grip on the latter parts of democracy will become only make-believe.

However, sometimes those with power seem less than smart. Fox News sued Al Franken for using the subtitle “A fair and balanced look at the right” for this book, thus implicating that he had infringed on the news channel´s motto “Fair and balanced”. Here the joke would develop on many levels. Number one, it is funny that Fox News, the conservative channel of propaganda, owned by one of the major media moguls, Rupert Murdoch, provocatively calls its programming fair and balanced. Number two, it seems a little odd that one should be able to copyright a slogan in order to block other people´s means of expression. Number three, it is funny because Fox News did not realize that Franken´s satire would profit enormously from being sued.

The Fox legal team did its best to stop the book and also argued that Fox employee Bill O´Reilly´s face on the cover could contribute to a public misunderstanding that the TV channel somehow was behind the book. The judge in the New York court stared down the nearest Fox lawyer: “The President and the Vice President are also on the book cover, aren´t they? Will anyone believe that they are also collaborating with Fox?”

This was a line that might just as well have come from Al Franken´s pen.