Politics & Policy

Franken Sense

In his letter to NRO, Al Franken takes aim at my book Do As I Say for what he says is perpetuating a nasty myth that he doesn’t hire many African-American employees. His response? Proof of his commitment to diversity comes in the form of his mentioning four people he has worked with or says that he hired over the course of his more than 20 years in television, film, radio, and publishing. What a record!

What I did in my book was simple and straightforward. I started in 1990 (when database records become solid) and looked at projects Franken was in charge of and looked at who received credited positions. Of the four he mentions, one of these I mention in my book. The other is an actress on the show that apparently appeared in one episode. The two others he mentions are radio producers with his program: one which apparently didn’t stay very long, and the other which apparently was hired after I finished my book. At the time that I wrote my book Franken had no minority producers working on the show.

Despite Franken’s efforts to bob and weave, and his inflated claim that he writes and produces most of his stuff largely by himself, it’s easy to look at the credits for his film projects, books, radio, and television and realize that this man is far from a one-man show he professes to be. (It’s interesting to note that some of the “assistants” on his books are actually accomplished writers themselves. Wonder why?) The Al Franken Show for the Sundance Channel, for example, has five producers. (Al is one of them.) His 2004 documentary Fox vs. Franken includes 11 senior people. (Al is one of them.) He hired 14 researchers for his book Lies (Al is none of them). Are these clones, Al? Did they do no work? Did they hire themselves?

When you look at these credited people does a pattern emerge? You bet. Franken tends to work with the same group of people over and over again. And it amounts to what liberals like to call “a white man’s club.” Because he hires the same writers, works with the same producers, over and over again, and they happen to be white, I’m supposed to be blamed for that? Funny, he doesn’t cut conservatives slack for the same thing.

I got the biggest laugh out of Franken’s claim that he doesn’t bring up race or castigate people because they fail to be inclusive enough. I about dropped my laptop laughing over that one. I cite numerous examples in the book of him taking aim at Republicans for lacking diversity. In his book Lies and the Lying Liars, he has an entire chapter on Bob Jones University and how racist it is because….numerically it doesn’t have enough minorities. Sound familiar, Al?

Funny how Franken’s perspective on affirmative action seems to change when he is on the receiving end of what he so often dishes out to others. And that, of course, is the desired effect of the book. I don’t consider Franken a racist. I just think he’s being hypocritical. Maybe Franken now realizes that the rhetorical bombs he has been throwing at conservatives are wrong, destructive, and unfair.

Peter Schweizer

Tallahassee, Florida

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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