Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

4.4 33
by Al Franken

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Al Franken, one of our “savviest satirists” (People), has been studying the rhetoric of the Right. He has listened to their cries of “slander,” “bias,” and even “treason


Listen to Al Franken as interviewed by Dan Susskind of Another Perspective on!

Get the free Real Player

Al Franken, one of our “savviest satirists” (People), has been studying the rhetoric of the Right. He has listened to their cries of “slander,” “bias,” and even “treason.” He has examined the Bush administration’s policies of squandering our surplus, ravaging the environment, and alienating the rest of the world. He’s even watched Fox News. A lot.

And, in this fair and balanced report, Al bravely and candidly exposes them all for what they are: liars. Lying, lying liars. Al destroys the liberal media bias myth by doing what his targets seem incapable of: getting his facts straight. Using the Right’s own words against them, he takes on the pundits, the politicians, and the issues, in the most talked about book of the year.

Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always funny, Lies sticks it to the most right-wing administration in memory, and to the right-wing media hacks who do its bidding.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Note to Bill O'Reilly, the de facto publicist for Lies thanks to Fox News's hapless efforts to block its publication: Never say "Never said it" or "You can't find a transcript where I said it" when a man with 14 researchers is on your trail. In a book that baits its targets with varying degrees of success, Mr. Franken makes a bull's-eye out of Mr. O'Reilly. First the prize: he shows how Mr. O'Reilly's erroneous claim that he won a Peabody Award evolved into even bigger fibs once it was challenged. — Janet Maslin
The Washington Post
This guy Al Franken is nasty. He's mean. He's vicious. He is, in short, the perfect guy to write a book attacking America's nasty, mean, vicious right-wing pols, pundits and preachers. But Franken has something that his targets conspicuously lack -- a sense of humor. This book is laugh-out-loud funny. — Peter Carlson
Library Journal
Franken returns to the political arena with his best book yet. Along with the 14 Harvard students who make up "Team Franken," he employs a somewhat unique approach in writing this work: fact-checking and research to back up his satirical look at the right. The first major target he tackles is the myth that the media are liberal; a brief look at the 2000 presidential election debacle should be enough to convince most rational people to the contrary. Fortunately, Franken has many more examples. His appearances on C-SPAN have shown what happens when conservative talk-show host Bill O'Reilly tries to use his vocal bullying tactics on a professional satirist. The author covers this event and other media misrepresentations with wit and humor. The chapters on Bush's tax cuts, environmental record, and the ongoing war will help convince the listener that it wasn't just Al Gore who was bushwhacked in Florida. Sure to be a hit with Franken's many fans, this program is highly recommended for all libraries. For those not blinded by the right, this will serve as a wake-up call to look further than the local paper or TV news coverage for topics that matter.-Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"This book is laugh-out-loud funny." —The Washington Post

"Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right rings with the moral clarity of an angel’s trumpet... Although Franken is a self-proclaimed liberal, his work differs in that it presents well-substantiated arguments and damning examples of false accusations that conservatives have effectively used against Democrats... sharp analysis and humor." —Associated Press

"A typically unabashed blend of razor-witted denunciation and old-fashioned gumshoe detective work directed at right-wing crazies both in and out of government... [An] exquisitely irritating new book." —The Independent, London

"[A] heady mixture of scathing humor and righteous indignation." —The Onion

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Read an Excerpt


God chose me to write this book.

Just the fact that you are reading this is proof not just of God's existence, but also of His/Her/Its beneficence. That's right. I am not certain of God's precise gender. But I am certain that He/She/It chose me to write this book.

This isn't hubris. I'm not saying this in an egotistical way. God didn't choose me because I'm the greatest writer who ever lived. That was William Shakespeare, whose work I have a passing familiarity with. No. I just happened to be the right vessel at the right time. If something in this book makes you laugh, it was God's joke. If something makes you think, it's because God had a good point to make.

The reason I know God chose me is because God spoke to me personally.

God began our conversation by clearing something up. Some of George W. Bush's friends say that Bush believes God called him to be president during these times of trial. But God told me that He/She/It had actually chosen Al Gore by making sure that Gore won the popular vote and, God thought, the electoral college. "THAT WORKED FOR EVERYONE ELSE," God said.

"What about Tilden?" I asked, referring to the 1876 debacle.

"QUIET!" God snapped. God was angry.

God said that after 9/11, George W. Bush squandered a unique moment of national unity. That instead of rallying the country around a program of mutual purpose and sacrifice, Bush cynically used the tragedy to solidify his political power and pursue an agenda that panders to his base and serves the interests of his corporate backers.

God told me that Bush squandered a $4.6 trillion surplus and is plunging us into deficits as far as God can see. And that Bush squandered another surplus. The surplus of goodwill from the rest of the world that he had inherited from Bill Clinton.

And this was pissing God off.

He/She/It was right. But it sounded like a lot of work.

"Look, God, I'm flattered, but I think you got the wrong guy. The kind of book you're talking about would require months of research."


"Very funny, God. I use Google all the time."


"You must be thinking of my son, Joe."


"Okay, okay." I changed the subject. "It's just that I can't do this book myself."

"LEAVE THAT TO ME," God boomed.

And that's when Harvard called.


Harvard's Kennedy School of Government asked me to serve as a fellow at its Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. After my varied and celebrated career in television, movies, publishing, and the lucrative world of corporate speaking, being a fellow at Harvard seemed, frankly, like a step down.

I couldn't think of anything less appealing than molding the minds of tomorrow's leaders, unless it was spending fireside evenings sipping sherry with great minds at the Faculty Club. Yawn.

To my surprise and delight, though, all Harvard wanted me to do was show up every once in a while and write something about something. That gave me an idea.

"Would it be okay if I wrote a scathingly partisan attack on the rightwing media and the Bush administration?"

"No problem," Harvard said absentmindedly.

"Count me in," I replied. "From now on call me 'Professor Franken.'"

"No," Harvard said, "you're not a professor. But you can run a study group on the topic of your choosing."

"Great," I said. "I've got the perfect topic: Write My Son's Harvard College Application Essay."

"No," they said. "Harvard students already know how to write successful Harvard applications, Al. We want you to teach them something new."

Harvard was right where I wanted it. "How about if the topic is: How to Research My Book?"

"Sure," Harvard said. "Most of our professors teach that course. Why, in the Biochemistry department, most of the graduate level courses are-"

Harvard was boring me. "I gotta run, Harvard. Thanks."


I had my Nexis, I had my Google, I had my Harvard fellowship, and I had my fourteen research assistants. I sat down to write. Nothing.

So I got on my knees and prayed for guidance. "How, God, can I best do Your work through this book? Who, dear Lord, is the audience for a book like this? And what's a good title?"


"The best-sellers that claim there's a liberal bias in the media?" I asked.


"That's pretty obvious."


"Okay, God, I'm writing this down."


"Got it. One last thing. Title."


"Hmm. I, uh, I'll work with that."

Reprinted from Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them-A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © Al Franken, Inc., 2003. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This book is laugh-out-loud funny." —The Washington Post

"Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right rings with the moral clarity of an angel’s trumpet... Although Franken is a self-proclaimed liberal, his work differs in that it presents well-substantiated arguments and damning examples of false accusations that conservatives have effectively used against Democrats... sharp analysis and humor." —Associated Press

"A typically unabashed blend of razor-witted denunciation and old-fashioned gumshoe detective work directed at right-wing crazies both in and out of government... [An] exquisitely irritating new book." —The Independent, London

"[A] heady mixture of scathing humor and righteous indignation." —The Onion

Meet the Author

Emmy Award–winning television writer and producer, Grammy-winning comedian, and host of The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio, Al Franken is the author of fivebooks, including the number one New York Times bestsellers Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right and Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. He is the only comedian to have performed at Abu Ghraib, as far as we know.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
May 21, 1951
B.S., Political Science, Harvard University, 1973

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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent expose of the Republicans and their dirty tricks. Al has done a fine job of defending truth and reality. This book needs to be read by everyone in America today.
GarrettNelson More than 1 year ago
This book talks about the lies being spread by the right. From Ann Coulter to Bill O'Rilly, Al tells; you what they say, a joke, the truth and finishes with an explanation. This book was very enjoyable. From the start when Al talks to God to the end the book. Al makes polotics fun and the book seems like a conversation with Al rather than a nonfiction book. This book is great for those people who want to read nonfiction but haven't in the past.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be not only fact based and intellectual but amusing and quite funny. Previously I was unaware that Al Franken was a writer, and I am glad that I have found him. I enjoyed the main message of the book, which was to see a fair look at the conservative, right side of America in politics and writing, and to see what was wrong with it. With all the humor, this book was a very easy read, and quite educational. I enjoyed Franken¿s hits against the liberally biased media, poking fun at people like Ann Coulter. There are so many corrupt people in the media, and all they seem to be feeding the pubic is lies. It was nice to have someone give us the real story, to get the hard-hitting facts. Pointing out the lies that people in politics and people in the media is something that this country needs, and I got a great kick out of it. I also liked that he pointed out that countries like The Soviet Union are not the evil countries that America makes them out to be. I thoroughly enjoyed his comics, especially the one about the ¿Supply Side Jesus.¿ I loved the chapter in the book when Franken talks about meeting Barbara Bush, where he compares how charismatic the woman seems, while in all reality she was not a nice person, to how charismatic President Bush seems, but how horrible his policies are. I liked that Franken talked about terrorism, and showed how closed-minded Americans are about the reasons for the attacks. I also got quite a kick out of the charts Franken made, while some had humor, others made it a lot easier to understand the situation or topic. Because of me being younger normally it is much harder for me to comprehend a lot of politics, but Franken had a way of making it understandable for me. There were many facts in this book that I had never heard of before, things that the media and Politicians have been covering up or softening intensely for the American public. As a young person, I was almost appalled to read and learn some of the things in this book. I was glad to learn truths about our country, because after all, knowledge is power. Many parts of this book made me think, and although sometimes when one has to think about something they don¿t want to hear is almost painful, it is much better to be living in the light than in the dark. I found this book enjoyable, and don¿t have anything bad to say about it. I believe that anyone could read this book, and get something out of it, including the conservative right winged people in this country. Therefore, I would definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please learn to spell. I am so tired of all the republican people on here not knowing how to spell. Go Al Franken!
VA_Reader More than 1 year ago
The audacity and majestic breadth of lies that right wingers utter is always humbling. To have someone meticulously analyze them, find the humor in them (and the persona's behind them), while having the journalistic integrity to cite his sources - was a breath of fresh air for the climate this book was written in. But, I found Franken to be a little more than mean spirited at times. Perhaps his targets deserved it? Perhaps not. But that negativity got to me at times, which is why this gets 4/5 stars despite being an otherwise brilliant read.
Ankenman More than 1 year ago
I felt that this book was a great source of insight into the side of politics that most conservatives won't even look at. Al Franken has a terriffic blend of, what seems like, sardonic humor mixed with solid research. Having said that, I found myself at a loss sometimes in this book, not exactly knowing how to take a certain joke, as it seemed that it would have to have been said in person. Also, it isn't all to friendly to the people who don't really know much about Liberals or Conservatives, I'm one of them, so to those types of readers, I think it would be a challenge to try to understand what Franken is writing about in his book. I had to personally look up definitions of Liberals and Conservatives, which is a good thing seeing as how that meant I enjoyed the book immensely, but bad because it should have been laid out in the beginning. In all fairness though, I doubt anyone who didn't know anything about the two sides would try to muscle their way through the book. My favorite part was the story, "Operation Chickenhawk: Episode One". It blended such a wonderful sense of humor, poking fun at actual political battles that went on in America, but also at, most likely, personal dislikes of certain choice American representatives. In conclusion, Al Franken is a brilliant author, but luckily gives credit where it's due, so to TeamFranken, I congratulate you on a successful book, and I learned a lot from your research. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By Al Franken

The book Lies And the lying Liars Who Tell Them is a great political book to read for people that are at least fifteen years old. Not only because of its accuracy but how Al Franken. It is a mix of comidec responces, and also serious responses throughout the book. Another thing Al franken does is he shows how the Newspapers and publicity takes sides. For instance there is a graph in his book that shows violent crimes for Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. What he shows the same graph twice but one that Newspapers or Magazines can show with foul play. His untamperd graph shows little difference wich makes the violence levels almost the same. But the graph that uses foul play shows that Reagan has majorly reduced violence crimes. While Bush¿s and Clintons bars seam like thir going to busrt off of the book.
This book can¿t be praised enough for how much work he put into it, three hundred and Seventy-seven pages of pure genious. But he sticks to his point. That¿s point is the liars that leed our country. But in the beginning of the chapter the Lying years was a part of the book that really made me think. One thing he wrote was ¿Bush lied while claiming that Clinton had undermined the readiness of the military.¿ Now on the same page, page 217; he wrote direct quotes from Carl Levin and Richard Armitage. Carl Levin says ¿But I want to get back to the two divisions not being ready for duty, becase Mr. Amtiage has not answerd that. Are those divistions ready for duty, or arent they.¿ Armitage says ¿I believe those two divsions, Senator, are ready for duty.
As Levin answers, ¿That¿s not what Governor Bush said the other night, and that¿s why I think an appology is apropiate.¿
On the next page Al Franken crituques this information and even tells that instead of apolagizing , he bolted from the hearing room, knocking over a veteran reporter, breaking her hip and jaw. All of this information just shows how much information Al Franken put into this book. Now if you want a book opening the truth in politicks, seeing cold hard facts, and finally laghing on how he alborates on these subjects. This will be a great book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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. BUT, Franken does back up his assertions with hard evidence, so what can you do? Heck, he persuaded me. And the book is funny and knowing, like the writings of Pynchon or Jackson McCrae (Katzenjammer) or even some Vonnegut. But mostly, it is informative and from a dry-witted, highly intelligent guy who will convince you that he¿s right! Must highly recommend McCrae¿s ¿Katzenjammer¿ for those who are into Franken¿s sense of humor.A well-educated man, a great comedian, and a great writer. I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, in this world there is ALWAYS going to be bias. Of course people who read Ann Coulter are going to think this is a piece of junk. People like me who are completely appaled by the lies and the decit and the false policies in our administration find this humorous. Get a sense of humor. When I read right wing jokes about liberals that are funny and creative I laugh, don't be a narrow-minded person and say this book stinks just becasue a liberal comedian wrote it. Some stuff is bias but a lot of it is based off of fact. Get over yourselves, each party lies, each party is crazy at points, but our administration, as outlined in this book, is out of control. Read the book, do some research, and understand a little bit before you come out here and start calling people liberal commies. The only reason I dislike George Bush and his staff members are because I love this country. No more of this liberal commie junk, Al franken first and foremost is a comedian who is making A JOKE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Franken not only uncovers the lies and deceptions so easily overlooked by the masses, his points are well written with a sharp witted comedic edge which makes for easy reading. So many of his topics of discussion uncover so many facts that many of us either missed in the daily sludge of watered down news sources or just never saw with a clear mind. Franken lifts the smoke screen covering the truth and makes it easy to see the real inner workings behind the lies. Thank you mr. Franken for a GREAT book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a hilarious BackAtcha! to the ultra-conservative, even radical, pundits in the mainstream media today. Just as in his Rush Limbaugh book, the facts are indisputable, in fact, not one single item in either book, reported as fact, has been disproven. The interesting thing is that when confronted with these facts about their previous lies, O'Reilly and company have resorted to even more lies to cover the first lies. This book is Laugh-out-loud funny, but at the same time, deadly serious when dealing with the issues of media bias, corporate cover-ups and the attempt to indoctinate an entire population through lies, deception and hypocrisy. He exposes the Hitler-like methods being levelled at the American Public, through the media, by the NeoCons and their cronies. Entertaining, thought provoking, and hilarious!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Franken's book is funny, well-written, and well-researched. Bravo. Bellissimo. I think it's especially hillarious how Bill O'Reilly's and Fox's suit over Franken's satirical use of the phrase 'Fair and Balanced' shot the book from number four-hundred-and-eighty-something to number one on the Barnes and Nobles top-sellers list. Ah, the delicious irony. I would also agree with a previous reviewer that I got the impression that most if not all of the people who have written negative reviews have not read the book themselves, but have heard isolated quotes and anecdotes from friends, or just heard that it was bad. Myself, I'm going to reccomend it to all my friends who I think can handle it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a very funny and enlightening book. It exposes the hypocrisy of the conservative movement. This book could not have published a better time. We are blinded by the conservative media and the lies of the Bush administration. This book exposes the age old myth of 'liberal media.' This book is especially important considered the recent sex and drug scandals involving so called 'conservatives' such as Bill O'Reily and Rush Limbaugh. These conservatives preach moral values to other people but engage in immoral acts. These so called 'conservatives' lie all the time to mislead good Americans. It is must read for every smart American who see this obvious hypocracy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read this book over four times, and with each read it just gets better. Al is right about everything
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant and provacative enlightenment
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Al makes some good points: Bill O'Reilly's Voter Registration Card is a really big ' Gotcha! ' But the problem is that Franken characterizes every disputed statement as a deliberate lie, when in fact it's possible that some were simply honest mistakes: When VP Cheney talked about the Crosses at Arlington Cemetery, was he really trying to deceive people??? Some of the statements Pres Bush made regarding Iraq before the war were not accurate, but that does not prove Bush knew they were not accurate at the time. It's one thing to show a statement is untrue, it's something else to prove it was intentionally untrue. Franken needs to remember that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a funny, well researched, and well written book. Is it as intellectually stimulating as the work of Zinn or Chomsky? No, because Al is a comedian. He has done a very good job of pointing out the absurdity of the 'liberal bias' myth and also the shortcomings of the Bush presidency. I am willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of reviewers giving this book one star have not read it. Furthermore, to claim that Franken has 'no class' and that one should read Ann Coulter instead is outrageous. Coulter is downright nasty in her liberal bashing. Notice, Al Franken would never say 'conservatives hate America' because such a blanket statement is unfair to any group of individuals. Yet, Coulter makes such statements constantly. Is this book 100% objective? No, Franken is a liberal, and he admits it. When purchasing this book you have to know what you're getting into to an extent. Therefore I wouldn't reccomend it to hard line conservatives, just as I wouldn't expect a hard line conservative to reccomend one of Coulter's books to me. Liberals and anyone middle of the road will enjoy this book a great deal. It might not change your opinions, but it will certainly make you laugh. I reccomend it more for entertainment's sake than for its value in seriously shaping one's poltical views.