Last week I dropped in on the CPAC convention in Washington DC, where I was scheduled to do a book signing Friday morning for my last literary effort, Unholy Alliance. CPAC always features a "radio row" of talk show hosts. Sometimes the guests are anything but conservative. Last year, for example, Terry McAuliffe made the rounds and had what appeared to be a roaring good time. This year I did a stint with Kirby Wilbur the anchor of Seattle's biggest morning drive time program on KVI. When I was finished, my assistant, Brad Shipp, told me that Al Franken was hosting his Air America show at noon and asked me if I'd like to do it. I said "Sure."
I had actually wanted to meet Franken I had met him once before at a reception for Dick Gephardt at the tycoon Marvin Davis's Bel Air mansion. Our meeting was before the publication of Franken's last book and was pretty cordial. The reason I wanted to meet Franken was to try to resolve the issue between us over the gratuitous slander he put in that book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. He had referred me to as a "guest racist" on the Hannity & Colmes Show.
A mistake is a mistake and a lie is a lie. I was prepared to regard Franken as having been just careless. One reason for giving Franken the benefit of this doubt was that someone had emailed me after the Media Matters dust up, which is recounted on this site, to say that he had contacted Franken (via email) to query him about the reference to me in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and that Franken had indicated he had doubts about his own conclusion and said that he would look into it.
The basis for the slander was, of course, two articles of mine -- one on reparations and one the NAACP's ridiculous suit against gun manufacturers -- which had appeared in the leftwing magazine Salon.com. It strains credulity to think that Salon's politically correct editors would have let not one but two racist articles through their editorial screens. Even if they had, it is pretty impossible to imagine that none of their hundreds of thousands of politically correct readers would have failed to raise hell about it or that there wouldn't have been an apology from the editors for letting such an outrage slip through. If only to get themselves off the hook. None of this of course happened, because there was nothing racist in the articles in question.
Nonetheless, Franken had repeated this slander which is all over the web, having been disseminated by the army of witch-hunting trolls who infest the blogosphere and the web outing conservatives and stigmatizing them as something less than human. So I had reason to be eager to meet with Franken again to get him to concede he had made a mistake, to ask him to acknowledge the mistake, and then to remove the little picture of him and score settling slurI have placed on this site. I thought: "Franken's producer will undoubtedly go for this, since it will make pretty interesting radio talk." I also thought that Franken himself was big enough not to avoid the encounter and to welcome the opportunity to clean the slate.
My assistant promptly went to find Franken's producer, whose name I believe is Gabriella, and came back with a yes. She liked the idea and it looked like I would be on. The show began at noon, which was right after my book signing scheduled at 11:15. But when I finished the signing and relocated my assistant, he told me that Franken had arrived in the building and the idea was dead. "We don't have enough time," Gabriella had now told him.
So Mr. Franken, doesn't want to reconsider the slander, even though it has no basis in fact, and he's afraid to confront me in person. In other words, he's a liar, a coward, and a knave.