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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Does this Franken-hater go overboard? Alan Skorski sits down for a Q & A

By Matthew Stone

A man who Googles Al Franken every night, Alan Skorski, author of “Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears and Deceives” (Oct. 2005, WND Books), naturally discovered The Mac Weekly’s Feb. 3 interview with Al Franken. Not wanting to miss out, Skorski requested an interview with us.

When The Mac Weekly caught up with him, the West Hempstead, N.Y.-based, food wholesaler, political activist, one-time Republican congressional candidate and author discussed his political aspirations, his contention that Republicans don’t get a fair “shake” due to a liberal media bias, and, of course, Al Franken, the bane of Skorski’s existence. Below are excerpts from the conversation.

The Mac Weekly: Why Al Franken?
Alan Skorski: Because Al Franken is the one who actually challenged anybody in America to prove that his attacks on conservatives aren’t true. He made millions of dollars and created this empire by claiming that he is responsible for unmasking the lies and distortions of the evil right wing while he himself has maintained impossibly high standards of truth. And he has repeatedly challenged anyone to prove that his criticisms or his exposes on the right aren’t true. Regardless of political ideology, nobody has ever promoted themselves the way he has as the ultimate truth teller.

MW: You’re not the only one keeping a watch on Al Franken. Do you think that’s [above] the reason why so many are dedicated to that?
AS: There are lots of liberals in America, including Michael Moore, and none of them has become quite a target as much as Al Franken only because Franken has really set himself up and dared anyone to prove that he’s not who he says he is…. so he’s really put a bull’s-eye on his back.

MW: After your appearance on C-SPAN’s Book TV, sales for your book increased significantly. Why is there such a market for your book?
AS: There are two markets. A lot of conservatives believe, and I think rightfully so, that there is a liberal media bias. When they see Al Franken go on TV and attack Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter…in the most vicious ways and then get away with it, because supposedly everything he said about them is true, then it comes out that you weren’t telling the truth, I think that there’s a gratifying feeling that the bad guy didn’t get away with it. There are liberals who may not like Rush Limbaugh but they don’t take solace in their own side lying either. And I’ve had a number of liberals email me and while they didn’t become conservative because of their conversation with me, they certainly have dropped Al Franken as their guy because the only thing worse than a conservative liar is a liberal liar, and no one likes to be lied to.

MW: Going back to the liberal media, how do you explain the lack of very critical coverage from The New York Times, from The Washington Post, pretty much every major news source, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003?
AS: America was attacked and what was the media going to report? Ted Koppel said [to Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post] that according to every intelligence agency around the world, they believed that Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction. So everyone believed that there were indeed weapons of mass destruction. So as far as I’m concerned, I still believe that there were weapons, we just don’t know where they were. The media certainly had no reason to doubt that there were. There was just so much evidence and it wasn’t just relying on George Bush. Remember during the Clinton Administration, and there are quotes from here ‘til tomorrow, Clinton and the Democrats [said] that they believed Saddam Hussein was a threat and that he did indeed possess chemical and biological weapons.

MW: Even if many make a connection between Iraq and Vietnam, there’s no way you can say that it’s quite the same magnitude of an anti-war movement in this country as there was during Vietnam. Do you think that’s [above] an explanation?
AS: It’s different scenarios. Number 1: Vietnam, there was a draft. Today, it’s an all-volunteer army. Number 2: I think many on the left and many in the Democratic party realized that from a political strategy, attacking the military, calling them baby-killers, would backfire, so now the rhetoric is we’re against the war but we support our troops. [Joel Stein, LA Times columnist, said]: If you’re against the war, you can’t say that you’re for the troops. The same people who hated Vietnam are the same people who are against what’s happening now, but they’re just not going to say it because, for political purposes, it’s just too damaging.

MW: Why can’t you be against the war, yet support the troops? The excuse of certain antiwar activists is that if you’re supporting the troops by bringing them home, you can still be in favor of passing bills that will benefit the troops once they do come home, give them healthcare….

AS: Oh sure, I think anybody who sees acts of combat should get healthcare for life, and should never have to worry about losing their home because they made the ultimate sacrifice. But I’ve spoken to military people who have told me that if you support the troops then you support our mission. And they’re absolutely frustrated. They’ve had it up to here with all the bashing of what they’re doing there, not recognizing the great accomplishments.

I won’t say that every single person who is against the war can’t be for our troops, but generally speaking, the people who are against the war, wanting the troops to come home is not really supporting what the troops are doing. And telling [soldiers] that we don’t support what you’re doing, but we support you, really sends a mixed message.

MW: A little more about the book. Much of politics often becomes attempts not only to prove those on the other side are wrong or misleading, but to attack those people. That’s what many people see as politics. They hear it from congressional representatives. They see it on bookstore shelves—books from Al Franken. Many people see your book as that type of literature. So if your book is placed within that genre, what is the use for that type of literature?
AS: My book, I don’t see it as an attack on Franken. I see it as an exposé, as an important exposé. [Franken] is somebody who has become the face of the Democratic Party’s activist wing; he’s become the face of liberal talk radio; and he is a future Senate candidate. And since he has become all three, by virtue of engaging in smears and character assassination, then I think the right thing to do is to expose him. I’m exposing him because what he has done is he has risen to superstardom based on fraud and deception. So, you know, exposing somebody is different than attacking somebody. My book is not an attack. As an American, people are sick and tired of the attacks. I’m sick of it. I have no use for people like Al Franken or Michael Moore. To me, they’re very bad for this country…. Al Franken’s a bad guy.

MW: People who are disenchanted with politics [will] see your book just as more of the same. Do you think your book has the potential to enfranchise citizens and strengthen democracy?
AS: No. My book isn’t meant to do that. It’s not going to enfranchise anybody. It’s meant to put a light on somebody who has risen to stardom on fraud.

MW: Your whole life hasn’t been about exposing Al Franken. You ran for Congress in 2002. During that race, the FCC fined your campaign $2,700 for either a late or non-filed finance form.

AS: What happened was after I pulled out of the race, my treasurer moved out of town and took all his paperwork with him, and I explained to the FCC: “I don’t have any documentation.” And at one point they were going to let it go and they said: “Just send us whatever you have.” And I had nothing. So they filed it against me, but it didn’t really go further than that.

MW: Do you think you’ll try again for Congress?
AS: Oh, I’d love to run again, but the thing is that when you run for office you really have to
have a lot of money and it was my first time running. I’m not a wealthy person by any stretch of the imagination. I was just very passionate about running. It didn’t work out but it was a great experience.

MW: Do you think if you were to run, you might wait until after Al Franken runs for the Senate?
AS: It wouldn’t affect anything, but it would be hysterical if indeed he were to run and win and then I were to run and win.

MW: If he runs in 2008, what would you do during [Al Franken’s] campaign?
AS: I’m going to be active. I’ll come out to Minnesota and I certainly will do whatever I can to expose Al Franken.

MW: We’ve talked a little bit about whether or not there is indeed a liberal media.

AS: Oh, believe me, there’s so much evidence. I don’t cry about it. It’s there, it’s there, so what. What I pointed out [in Pants on Fire] was how Al Franken’s attempt to say that it doesn’t exist is completely bogus.

MW: I’ve read that the majority of newspapers tend to endorse Republican candidates.

AS: What!? What newspapers are you reading?
MW: Bob Dole received more endorsements than Bill Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin in ’96 [According to Editor & Publisher]. That’s an example year for newspapers, including not all the prominent ones, but just your average newspapers. Do you think a liberal media bias exists more on the editorial page or more in coverage?
AS: It depends which paper. The most prominent papers—The LA Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe—those, it’s throughout. Editorials certainly. But even in the regular media coverage. The New York Times, their main op-ed guys, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert. They get drunk on Bush bashing.

MW: You can’t argue that Fox News has a liberal bias.

AS: Fox News does not have a liberal media bias. What I’ll say about Fox News is that they’re the only media outlet that will give Republicans a fair shake. But as far as showing for the Republican Party, that’s nonsense, because every time George Bush’s numbers fall in the polling, Fox News reports it. Every time the economy was taking a hit in the first term, the media reported it. When you’re showing for somebody, you hide all that stuff.

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