News about Air America

Donna Halper
Sat Jul 30 13:34:18 EDT 2005

>Joe P. said--
>Using the word 'lies' is simply lobbing a verbal bomb into the
>discussion...and not accurate.
>Unless, of course, Mr. Franken is clairvoyant and knows everyone else's

I had the pleasure of hearing a very emotional and honest assessment of Air 
America and his own career as a radio talk host from Franken himself at a 
talk he gave last Saturday.  The impression I got from him was that he 
sincerely believes that liberals have been mis-represented by the media, a 
charge conservatives also make about their ideology. Franken talked about 
his life, talked about how his love for his father influenced him (his 
father died several years ago and Franken had to pause as he tried to tell 
a joke about his dad's personality and foibles-- but he ended up in tears-- 
clearly he still misses his dad a lot-- it was a surprising and not 
scripted moment in an otherwise very well-prepared and often funny speech) 
and of course he talked  about the use of political humour, and about his 
faith in the mission of liberal and progressive radio. He also told some 
jokes, using some of the character-voices he is known for. But everyone in 
the room-- and there were attendees from both sides of the talk show wars-- 
agreed that too much rhetoric and too many "verbal bombs" are being 
thrown.  It makes good radio, perhaps, but it's not helping the country 
clarify issues or move forward.

I'd prefer NOT to get into a discussion on this list of which side is right 
or wrong.  And yes, the word "liar" is thrown around too much, like kids in 
a school yard fight.  O'Reilly calls names and uses insults as much as 
anyone, and yes he does twist and distort facts.  So do lots of talk show 
hosts, and that has not changed in several decades.  Now, is Franken right 
to call O'Reilly (or anyone else on the right) a liar?  He sincerely 
believes the right is manipulating facts to score political points, and by 
that definition, he feels that yes they are lying.  

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