The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 December 2005

New York Times Reviews Franken's Book


Late, Partisan NYT Review Slams Hannity, Boosts Al

If you've been
following developments here since we kicked off Air America Radio scandal coverage on July 27th, it should be clear holding the New York Times accountable has been not just a key focus, but an especially uphill battle.

After having run a number of upbeat stories about the liberal radio network since its 2004 debut, it wasn't easy convincing them to report anything about the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club funds transfer scandal. That's where $875,000 in taxpayer grants for the inner-city charity were instead diverted to Air America. Still ongoing are the resulting city and state investigations.

Only one story was ever printed in the Times about the scandal, prompting Byron Calame, the paper's "reader representative", to admit coverage had been lacking. It contained major errors that were later corrected.

Continuing to thumb its nose at critics, the paper even ran another puff piece on two of Air America's hosts, Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow. Through an internal memo obtained by the Radio Equalizer, we provided evidence the story was the result of a corporate PR campaign.

So it should come as no surprise Al Franken's The Truth (With Jokes) would get a highly favorable Times review, as books by conservatives such as Michelle Malkin and others are routinely ignored.

There are, however, some oddities here that deserve exploration:

--- Why was Sean Hannity such a key focus of this review?

--- Why did the book's review appear more than six weeks after its release? Most titles are nearly heading for the remainder bins by then.

--- Is it really impossible for the Times to find a reviewer without such an obvious partisan bent?

Since Hannity himself has often mentioned being ignored by mainstream media outlets like the Times, it's ironic so much energy is devoted here to casting him in the role of Evil Anti-Franken:

The only time I saw Sean Hannity on television, I assumed he was a comedian - a brilliant parodist of hyperkinetic right-wing talk show hosts. Since then I've been informed that Hannity really is a hyperkinetic right-wing talk show host, although it's hard to believe. How can anyone that funny be serious?

More Hannity-bashing here:

It happens that Hannity, the Fox News television personality, is one of Franken's favorite targets. Unfortunately, Hannity's bombast is so predictable that making sport of him soon becomes tedious. Franken is sharper and more persuasive when aiming at bigger fish in the Beltway barrel. He and his team of researchers specialize in zinging politicians with their own words, and that's what gives his book weight. Even better than the jokes is Franken's rollicking, journalistic enthusiasm for exposing lies, contradictions and hypocrisy.

Ordinarily a Miami Herald columnist, it appears Carl Hiaason was itching for an opportunity to slam Hannity on the pages of the New York Times. Thanks to Franken's book, he got his chance.

What's the connection between Hannity and Franken, however, other than that they're both talk show hosts and that the latter doesn't care much for the former? Others have spent more time clashing with Al, but Hiaason's own agenda clouds this review.

Does the New York Times ordinarily take more than six weeks to get around to reviewing a bestselling title? That's a question I would put to those who more closely follow such matters.

Regardless of the paper's typical review pattern, the result certainly works in Franken's favor. Since the nationwide print journalism fawning sessions over Al's book and tour have begun to subside, a Times review provides a late-stage publicity booster shot, just in time for Christmas and holiday shopping.

On Sunday, I monitored The Truth's Amazon ranking, which had recently begun to slip quite a bit. Yesterday, however, it was poised to regain a top-20 overall book sales position. Did the Times help? It certainly didn't hurt.

Continuing the ongoing ideological clash between old-guard fossils and the new media, the final question is still worth asking: couldn't you possibly find a less partisan reviewer for Franken's book? It wouldn't have been difficult:

Franken is so serious that he's talked about running for the Senate, which could whoppingly improve the ratings of C-Span. Yet it would also limit Franken's opportunities to riff; candor and cleverness don't win many elections. He is an unabashed Democrat, and "The Truth" suffers when he blames John Kerry's defeat in 2004 almost entirely upon the Karl Rove smear machine and the Swift Boat veterans' scam.

The Kerry team made plenty of thick-headed mistakes, not the least of which was waiting too long to fight back. Candidate Franken probably would do better. Comedians know how to deal with hecklers.

If he does take a run at politics, Franken will probably come to miss his radio show and his essays. The material is getting richer and more outrageous by the day. The truth is, we live in a great and bountiful country for joke writers. Where else could a man called Scooter go to work for the vice president, and then help start a war?

No, Mr. Hiaason, if you really want to boost C-SPAN's ratings, you'll need to bust Jim Traficant out of jail.

After adding this review to its rancid pile of pro-Air America coverage, the Times has further solidified its stubborn partisan stance, proving it has no interest in The Truth (With or Without Jokes).

Ready for Christmas, or other shopping today?

Why not support the Radio Equalizer at the same time? Your Amazon orders that originate with clicks here, regardless of your final selections, help to support this work. Thanks again for your vital assistance!

Frankenbook: David A Lunde


  • "So it should come as no surprise Al Franken's The Truth (With Jokes) would get a highly favorable Times review, as books by conservatives such as Michelle Malkin and others are routinely ignored."

    Perhaps because unhinged Malkin's book is a poorly written polemic, that's filled with factual errors. Franken's, on the other hand, is well researched an provides facts, along with entertaining satire.

    For an indepth analysis of Malkin's screed, check out Dave Neiwert's critique. Dave is an accepted expert on the radical right wing.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 05 December, 2005 08:26  

  • Well researched?!? Were you able to write that with a straight face?!? Because, reading those words makes me burst with laughter. Hey, David Irving's books were well "researched" too.

    By Blogger Olah Chadasha, at 05 December, 2005 12:30  

  • Mr. Tuck -

    You really need to get a life.... or at least a blog of your own.

    You continually come across as an annoying little dog, snapping at Mr. Maloney's heels.

    Never an original thought of your own, and never biting hard enough in your commentary to be considered as anything but a yappy little pest.

    Other than raising Mr. Maloney's costs by worrying little holes in his socks with your sharp but tiny {editorial} teeth, I really don't think your screeds are accomplishing much.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 05 December, 2005 12:35  

  • Now Dick, here's a golden op. for you...
    Show us 2-3 examples, with citation or verifiable evidence, of where Malkin's book is filled with factual errors.
    If it really is so bad, this should be easy for you.

    By Blogger SCSIwuzzy, at 05 December, 2005 15:06  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger frankenlies, at 06 December, 2005 10:58  

  • I've found most Liberal rants to be poorly researched and devoid of fact. They're usually long winded, name calling affairs and judging from Franken's public displays, I doubt his books are any different.

    Meanwhile, most Conservative books are full of footnotes and facts. One of the best new examples is Peter Schweizer's "Do As I Say (Not As I Do)." I'm only about halfway through it, but the most interesting thing is it's structure. It's basically paragraph after paragraph of facts with very little commentary. He basically lets the Liberal's actions speak for themselves which, given those actions, is actually more caustic than anything a commentator would have to come up with on their own.

    And speaking of facts. How come no one points out the biggest lie regarding Al Franken? That of course being that he is a "comedian." I challenge anyone to point out anything he has ever spoken, written, acted or in any way conveyed that has been remotely funny.

    By Blogger Dr. T, at 06 December, 2005 14:13  

  • Mr Tuck is living in a fantasy world, slaying Dick Nixon yet again.

    BTW Dickie, I heard you were prominently mentioned in the Verona Papers.

    As Josef Stalin's boy toy.

    By Blogger Purple Raider, at 06 December, 2005 18:27  

  • Al Franken's book is "well researched"??

    Sorry, Tuck ... You need to see:

    Al Franken and his books have been debunked and discredited.

    By Blogger frankenlies, at 06 December, 2005 18:39  

  • I have the audio version of the book--will get the print version soon--and just heard all the lies and anti-racial garbage Al Franken spewed trying to pass himself as a comedian--he even dissed minorities by saying his production work for TV featured blacks and females--turns out to be false! Same with Mikey Moore!

    If Franken says anything to hurt people with say Autism like me--well all I can say is there are supposedly 10,000 lakes in his homestate of Minnesota--I'D LIKE TO DUNK HIS YOU KNOW WHAT IN ALL OF THEM!

    And as far as Dick Tuck goes--I guess he wants Saddam to walk thanks to that traitorous a$$ Ramsey Clark so he can plot another attack on this country. As lokki said he needs to get a life!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 06 December, 2005 20:13  

  • "Now Dick, here's a golden op. for you...
    Show us 2-3 examples, with citation or verifiable evidence, of where Malkin's book is filled with factual errors."

    Here's a full analysis, done by a noted author: Michelle Malkin's work, particularly her new book, Unhinged, is like that

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 06 December, 2005 20:13  

  • SCSIwuzzy asked specifically, "Show us 2-3 examples, with citation or verifiable evidence, of where Malkin's book is filled with factual errors."

    dick tuck's response is a link to a long, rambling commentary that basically says, "The right sometimes says mean stuff, too!" A lot of its evidence is in blog posts. I also saw one car sticker example. After 5-10 minutes, I failed to find a single example of a factual error by Malkin.

    Meanwhile, Malkin provides examples of "liberals gone wild" from the mainstream arena and the general public forum.

    The link is a very weak rebuttal.

    By Blogger frankenlies, at 06 December, 2005 22:41  

  • "Sorry, Tuck ... You need to see:"

    I've seen the site. It's a piece of crap. It often takes pieces of pure satire or sacasm, and pretends that Franken made an absurd comment. The owner of that site either has no sense of humor, or gets his Franken quotes from O'Lielly.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 07 December, 2005 08:33  

  • frankenlies, don't be shocked. That is what Dick does.
    His rebuttals are 'tale(s) told by an idot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'
    Gonna spend an extra week inpurgatory for mangling Hamlet, but, such is life

    By Blogger SCSIwuzzy, at 07 December, 2005 21:48  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger