U.S. District Judge Denny Chin admits he overestimated
the intelligence of conservative book buyers.
Left, the platform for many of the lying liars that tells lies featured on the cover of Franken's new book. Right, the book cover that fooled right-wingers across the U.S. into giving money to a liberal cause.
New York -- Preliminary sales figures and exit interviews at area book stores over the past week indicate that millions of FOX News viewers are too stupid to realize Al Franken's new book is mocking them.
The confusion is all the more troubling in the aftermath of FOX News Channel's lawsuit filed last week to stop the release of Franken's book. Lawyers for the FOX network predicted just such mass confusion in arguments to U.S. District Judge Denny Chin Friday.
"The use of the FOX news trademarked phrase on the cover is likely to cause confusion among consumers as to the origin and sponsorship of the book." FOX Attorney Dori Hanswirth said. "You have to remember that people who watch FOX and listen to AM talk radio aren't what you'd call 'critical thinkers.' They don't call themselves 'Dittoheads' for nothing."
But Judge Chin disagreed, using language that will surely come back to haunt him now that Republicans have been duped into purchasing the book.
Bill O'Reilly lobbied FOX executives to pursue the lawsuit against Franken after being manhandled by the comedian at a May 31 BookExpo America Convention panel discussion. O'Reilly also appears on the book's cover with a lot less make-up.
"There is no way a person not completely dense would be confused by this cover," he said. "I mean, you'd have to be a total jackass to not get that this is a joke."
However, experts testified that anyone who watches the O'Reilly Factor on a regular basis may, indeed, be just such a jackass.
The question now is : Were FOX watchers too stupid to understand an obvious parody of their beloved network or just not strong enough readers to decipher the full context of the "fair and balanced" phrase. Exit interviews at two area bookstores shed some light on that question.
"I thought Al Franken was an America-hating liberal, but the pictures of the president and vice president on the cover along with the FOX slogan tricked me," card carrying Republican Jonathan Anders said.
"I buy anything that FOX puts its stamp on," Bill Daniels said, who voted for Bush. "For instance, my underwear has the FOX logo front and center on the fly and 'fair and balanced' right on my tushy."
Hanswirth said these examples prove the point she tried to make to Chin in court Friday.
"The Rant Zone?" Did he really find a publisher for this
Responding to a comment by Franken that he intended the cover to be a joke, Hanswirth used the ridiculous, but understandable, conservative argument that Franken has become "increasingly unfunny" since he began making fun of them.
"This is much too subtle to be considered a parody," Hanswirth said. "Franken's book does not qualify as satire because it's over many conservative Republican's heads."
Even conservative comedian Dennis Miller, who is also a Saturday Night Live alum, jumped into the fray to give his take on Franken's comedic credentials .
"Does anyone even take Franken seriously anymore?" he asked. "I mean come on, this guy has reached a level of irrelevance not seen since I became a commentator for the NFL and then got fired."
Franken is a five-time Emmy winner and the author of the New York Times Bestseller "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Presale orders of his new book drove it to the top of the sales list at the online bookseller Amazon.com.
"I just want to thank FOX for helping me get the word out about my new book," Franken said. "I would also like to thank all of the FOX viewers out there that bought my book solely because it said "fair and balanced" on the cover. I couldn't have done it without you."