Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken is probably the most famous non-fiction book to be published these last couple of years. In this somewhat funny book (funny if you are not a right wing nut or understand subtle humor) Al Franken takes on the American right and its beacon, the Fox News network. Thanks to Bill O'Reilly (and Al Franken acknowledges that in the dedication page of the paperback version of the book by changing the dedication from "To my wife, yadda yadda yadda" to "To Bill O'Reilly") this book shot up on the best seller list after Fox News and the Fox people sued Al Franken over the use of Fair and Balanced. If Robert A. Greenwald's film takes on Fox News in Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism -available on dvd--, Al Franken takes on not only Fox News but all the right wing crackpots and liars in this book.
The story basically is that Al Franken somehow got a gig at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and got himself a team of eager students to do something with. He ended up checking and fact checking the supposed truths the talking heads at Fox News (including Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others) spew out and proved many of their facts were not facts, not even factoids. Franken, originally best known for his stint on the used to be funny Saturday Night Live, has become very media savvy and, in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right also breaks down the tactics these "journalists" or op-ed people used to disseminate what are untruths and out of context statements as veritas. He also shows how when confronted with the actual truth none of these, ahem, experts, choke choke, can actually defend themselves and rely on bluster and intimidation to move on to a more malleable guest or caller.
The sad thing about Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right is the only people who will show interest in the book are those who are actually interested in the truth, in honest journalism, and in a level playing field. Al Franken is, in many ways, writing to the converted. Still, anyone interested in journalism and the electronic media or electronic monster, should and must read Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them for its deconstruction of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch's media empire and to learn that there is no such thing as a "liberal media" after all.
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right is also a fairly depressing read when you start to realize that the real journalists and the real media have rolled over and played dead a long time ago. When you realize that all media does is report on itself through itself without the benefit of analysis and thought, when you realize that experts are no more than sponsored people with an agenda, a product, or an axe to grind, when you realize there is no free press anymore and it is all owned by a couple of multinationals who actually have a new world order on back order, you have to wonder why we haven't all jumped off a cliff together