Save Al Franken! [Aug 12, 2003]

Today I'd planned to continue the delightful narrative of my run for the California governor's mansion. In the media, there can only be one story, and this is it, pal. But then came word that my services were, once again, needed.

The Fox News Channel has sued political satirist Al Franken to stop him from using the words "fair and balanced" in the title of his new book, scheduled to publish next month. The suit claims that the subtitle is "likely to cause confusion among the public about whether Fox News has authorized or endorsed the book and about whether Franken is affiliated with FNC." Good lord. Who among the five, possibly ten percent of the American people who could recognize Franken in a lineup would think that he's affiliated with the Fox News Channel? The man stands politically to the left of every major entertainment figure except Michael Moore and maybe Janeane Garofalo.

We all know that this suit is hogwash. We also know that Al Franken can defend himself, and that his publisher can defend him, too. Anyone who has been a recurring cast member on Saturday Night Live for nearly 30 years doesn't need much help calling attention to his cause.

Nonetheless, it's the policy of this website to rise to the aid of satire whenver it's threatened, even if the threatened satirist is three links above it on the comedy food chain. Therefore, I declare this Friday a day of emergency protest.

Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites. My cosponsor in this effort, Atrios, informs me that many of you are already using "Fair And Balanced" in your taglines. Very good. Sometimes, I swear you don't even need instructions from me. But we can go further. Tell Fox News to take its Fair And Balanced slogan and shove it up its Fair And Balanced hole. Feel free to be more subtle than that, if you wish.

To repeat. This Friday is Fair And Balanced day. Use the slogan at will. I will not be keeping track of the uses on this site, because it made me tired last time, but I still trust that you will spread the virus in funny and creative ways. We cannot let Fox News beat us, people. If they sue one, they can sue all. Al Franken has resources. Fox News' next victim might not be so lucky.

Perhaps that victim will even be me, in which case I'll need money. At the very least, I'm taking a band out on tour this fall, and I still need money. If you believe in the work we do here, and believe in my efforts to fight the forces of censorship in whatever guise they take, please consider giving a pittance to the tour fund through the Donate button to your right. I would so appreciate it. My bass player's bass rig would appreciate it. My friends, it's the only Fair And Balanced thing to do.