Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 10, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM....Byron York reminds me today that I haven't commented on Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, which I read last weekend. I'll get to York in a minute, but first a brief review of the book.

The nickel summary: it's a terrific book, both funny and angry. For bloggers and blog readers it covers pretty familiar territory Coulter, O'Reilly, Fox News, etc. but it has plenty of funny lines and it's convenient to have the entire standard repertoire of conservative lies in one handy volume. A few highlights:

Best chapter: "Operation Ignore," about the Bush administration's lackadaisical attitude toward terrorism prior to 9/11.

Angriest chapter: "'This Was Not a Memorial to Paul Wellstone': A Case Study of Right Wing Lies." There are no jokes here; Franken took this particular smear job pretty personally.

Funniest chapter: "Hannity and Colmes," a top notch hatchet job on one of television's most odious conservative shills.

(But was it really funny? Yes, it's very funny if you're a liberal. If you're a conservative, it's not.)

And now back to our friend Byron York. He wrote a critical piece about Franken's book in NRO today, and what was remarkable was that he apparently couldn't really find anything to complain about. Here's what he came up with:

  • He says Franken states "flatly" and without evidence that George Bush used to use cocaine. What Franken actually says, however, is "it [doesn't] take a genius to figure out that George W. Bush snorted cocaine sometime before 1974," and he bases this on Bush's own replies to questions about his drug use.

  • He complains that Franken used some numbers from a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities press release. I'm not sure what his objection to this is.

  • He complains that Franken said Bill Clinton issued a new environmental regulation "toward the end" of his administration, when in fact it was issued in December 2000. Again, I'm not quite sure what the problem here is.

  • Franken's research team appears to be entirely white.

And that's it, aside from the fact that he just doesn't like Franken's tone one little bit. I'm sure there's more to come, but if that's the best York can do, I figure Franken's research must have been pretty solid.

Unlike, you know, some conservative writers we could name.

Kevin Drum 8:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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