Before he was a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken was also a best-selling author, with his most well-known book being Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. One of the subjects of that book was disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who Franken faced off against at the 2003 BookExpo.
O’Reilly began by saying he never lies, so he never has to retract anything on his show, challenging Franken by declaring:
“If I’m going to be accused of being a liar, you better have something there.”
Franken did indeed have the goods on O’Reilly, recalling a time when the Fox host claimed to have won a Peabody Award, which he never did:
“Guy says about me a couple weeks ago, ‘O’Reilly said he won a Peabody award. Never said it.
“See this is why you don’t retract things, you just continuously lie. I could go on all day.”
“We’re supposed to be on here for 15 minutes, this idiot goes on for 35. All he’s got in six-and-a-half years is that I misspoke, that I labelled a Polk Award a Peabody. He writes it in his book, he tries to make me out to be a liar.”
Franken tried to get a word in edgewise:
“No, no, no, no, no.”
Completely losing his cool, O’Reilly snapped:
“Hey! Shut up! You had your 35 minutes, shut up!”
Franken held his ground:
“This isn’t your show Bill!”
Visibly angry, O’Reilly said:
“This guy accuses me of being a liar, ladies and gentlemen…because I misspoke and called a Peabody a Polk. This is what this guy does. He demonizes it and then other people pick it up. Now if it’s important to you that I misspoke—”
To that, Franken told the audience:
“He didn’t just misspeak.”
O’Reilly is known for exaggerating both his accomplishments and events he claims he witnessed even though he was never actually present for. He, much like his good friend Donald Trump, loves to try and impress people with his exploits, but the only thing O’Reilly was ever good for was being a blowhard and an asshole who got off on harassing women. Good riddance. He will not be missed.
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