Lies, lies, lies

Mudslinging season has arrived. With an election year looming, an avalanche of new books bashing George W. Bush is pouring into bookstores.

Leading the mudslide is Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, written by former Saturday Night Live writer Al Franken and a team of 14 Harvard students he hired to do research, and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth by Joe Conason. We’ve already written about those two books in this space. But here are a few more to add to the list:

David Corn focuses on one big liar in The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception. Longtime Washington editor of the magazine The Nation, Corn brings the patience of an investigative reporter to his examination of Bush’s gubernatorial, business, campaign and executive lies. Among Corn’s well-researched conclusions: Bush deliberately misrepresented the provisions and effects of his tax cuts; lied about his ties to corporate criminals; and presented deceptive claims to sell controversial policies on stem-cell research, missile defense, abortions, energy, health-care, education and the environment.

The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq narrows its sights even further, asserting that every major claim the U.S. government put forward to justify the conquest of Iraq has been proven false. Written by the father-and-son team of Robert and Christopher Scheer and senior editor Lakshmi Chaudhry, The Five Biggest Lies unflinchingly asserts Bush knew he was lying: “We are not dealing here with misconceptions, overblown rhetoric, government spin, political games or any of the other essentially non-threatening phrases that have come to excuse official chicanery as the business-as-usual propaganda in which all governments indulge … but rather … an alarming but deliberate method of governing,” the authors write.

Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq explores the way Bush used public-relations tactics to marshal support for the invasion of Iraq. Co-authors Sheldon Rampton and John C. Stauber argue that in the looking-glass world of political public relations, the United States is perceived as a brand (like Coca-Cola), and foreign-policy initiatives are rolled out like new products.

Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America demonstrates how Bush runs the United States using the same flawed strategies he applied in governing Texas. Columnist Molly Ivins and former Texas Observer editor Lou Dubose ask the core question of Texan jurisprudence: “Who’s getting screwed, and who’s doing the screwing?”

Rabblerousing filmmaker Michael Moore follows up on his best-selling Stupid White Men … and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! with Dude, Where’s My Country? The director of Roger & Me promises to violate the Patriot Act on every page and directs much of his screed at the “robber barons of corporate America”—in a book for which AOL Time Warner reportedly paid Moore $1.5 million.

“The Bush-is-a-liar bandwagon is getting crowded,” Corn conceded in a recent interview. Corn promises to continue updating his Letterman-esque Web site ( as new falsehoods are uttered, and has launched a similar service (

“It is depressing but apparently necessary to state … that in a democracy, it matters a great deal whether or not our leaders tell us the truth,” asserts The Five Biggest Lies. “The sad fact is that our nation, in the past few years, has revealed itself to be all too capable of absorbing jingoistic stupidity as national wisdom, of easily parlaying its obligations as the citizens of the world’s most powerful society for the cheap rewards of patriotic fervor.”