Joe Conason's Journal

Chris Matthews accuses me of erring (he's wrong), and my new slogan for Fox News.

Published August 25, 2003 5:15PM (EDT)

For Chris Matthews, eight strikes Last Friday evening, I made my second "Hardball" appearance in a single week to talk about my new book, "Big Lies." While I appreciated the invitation to return from host Chris Matthews, that segment -- which included a right-wing radio talker named Dennis Prager who hasn't read the book -- got testy after Matthews challenged me on an issue of fact. He insisted that I was wrong to say that Ann Coulter had appeared on his show eight times to promote "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right":

"By the way, there's something inaccurate in [your] book. There is something inaccurate in [your] book, because you said that she was on my show, 'Hardball,' eight times. I would be surprised if she was on once."

Not only did she appear on "Hardball" eight times between the publication date in June 2002 and the following January to help promote her book -- as the Nexis database clearly shows -- but she made three appearances within the first two weeks after "Slander's" publication. (For a broader, more astringent perspective on the Hardball festivities, check out the current Daily Howler). It's a subject to which I plan to return tomorrow. (And I understand that Coulter will be on "Hardball" tonight. I bet she's sorry she missed me last week. Well, maybe Chris has looked up the record, found that little "surprise," and will correct himself).

In the meantime, I will appear on CNN's "Crossfire" today with guest host Al Franken. Among other things, I hope we can discuss the new slogan I've suggested for Fox News Channel, drawn from the wording of Judge Denny Chin's decision in the network's lawsuit against Franken and his publisher. Instead of "Fair and Balanced," why not "Wholly Without Merit"?
[10:17 a.m. PDT, Aug. 25, 2003]

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By Salon Staff

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