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Author exposes lies, reigning diva of right

Everyone lies.

Some just lie more than others. Maybe those who tend to lie too much are politicians. Then perhaps those who help facilitate the lies are the media and political commentators. When this happens, it hurts the entire country.

That's the main point of comedian Al Franken's best-selling new book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. He delves into the lies, and other variants of falsehoods propagated by the Bush administration, corporations and extreme, conservative talk radio and television personalities. Franken systematically cuts through their deliberate misinformation using humor, logic and research.

While the author investigates many conservatives and conservative media in his book, he particularly focuses on Ann Coulter. Franken dedicates two short chapters to the woman, he calls "the reigning diva of the hysterical right."

His first chapter addressing Coulter is "Ann Coulter: Nutcase."

Coulter is a lawyer and the author of three books, including Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right and Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terror, her latest authorial achievement.

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Franken focuses on Slander, discussing where he feels Coulter derailed herself from the sanity track. He points out several claims that Coulter makes, including "liberals hate America," "liberals hate all religions except Islam," "Democrats actually hate working-class people" and "liberals seek to destroy sexual differentiation in order to destroy morality," amongst others.

To make sure Franken wasn't lying, a perusal of Slander was necessary. After getting past page 12, something Franken said is hard to do, it's true that Coulter makes all these statements and more.

Coulter is a tidal wave of contradiction. She says in Slander that Democrats don't support working-class people. In an August 2002 New York Observer article, Coulter claims to have worked in an Arizona copper mine as a summer job. In the same article, she defends her father, a union-busting lawyer for the Phelps Dodge Mining Corp., for presiding over what the Observer called the "largest union decertification ever."

In the article, Coulter says the miners "get very high wages" and have "all their health care taken care of" and said "for the union to be going on strike at that time was just absurd."

Perhaps that's the case for Arizona miners, but miners in other states may have something to say about that. Today workers still fight to keep unions.

Although this particular example is not in Lies, Franken focuses on many other interesting claims by Coulter and cuts them away to the overblown cries, lies and hype of an extreme conservative. He does the same with the No Child Left Behind Act.

Franken accomplishes this with wit, grace and humorous anecdotes that make reading the book an entertaining pleasure. It gets a bit depressing when he strips down the right's political machine to the smut-filled, misleading killer, but it's also good because he's provoking the reader to think.

This also gives one a little chuckle - Lies stomped down Coulter's Treason on the New York Times' best-seller list.

Maybe truth will prevail after all.


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