Thursday, January 08, 2009

Al Franken stole the election? Prove it or shut up

The recount shows that he won the Minnesota Senate race. The lying liars who say otherwise have no evidence of cheating.

By Joe Conason

Jan. 9, 2009 If Al Franken were not a longtime public figure -- and thus severely handicapped by American jurisprudence -- he could file a powerful complaint for libel or slander against several of the most prominent wingnuts in the United States. From Rush Limbaugh to Bill O'Reilly to Richard Mellon Scaife, a chorus of familiar voices is loudly defaming the Democrat whose razor-thin win in the Minnesota Senate race will now be tested in that state's courts. Ever since Election Day, on radio and television, on the Internet and in print, they've screamed that Franken is stealing, rigging, pilfering, scamming, thieving and cheating his way to victory.

These media figures, some of whom occasionally pretend to be journalists, have spewed such accusations repeatedly, without offering any proof whatsoever -- in plain contradiction of the available facts. Not only is there no evidence that Franken or his campaign "cheated" in any way during the election or the recount, but there is ample reason to believe that the entire process was fair, balanced and free from partisan taint.

For Franken's most famous adversaries, spewing lies about him may be a form of cheap revenge. A prime example is Fox News host O'Reilly, who has hated Franken for years, dating back to when the comedian and author berated him in a public debate, then exposed him in "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," and ultimately provoked him into filing an ill-advised lawsuit that only generated vast amounts of free publicity for Franken's book before the suit was thrown out of court. Of course O'Reilly was preceded by Limbaugh, that "big fat idiot" whose deceptions and bigotry were featured in the comedian's first bestselling book way back in 1996..........

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