Al Franken explains why MAGA Republicans are as dangerously 'Orwellian' as the Kremlin

Al Franken explains why MAGA Republicans are as dangerously 'Orwellian' as the Kremlin
Al Franken in November 2016, Wikimedia Commons

When comedian Al Franken’s book “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations” was published in 1996, the former “Saturday Night Live” star humorously slammed radio host Limbaugh as a master of distortion and disinformation. And in a video posted on YouTube on April 13, the liberal ex-senator, now 70, laments that the right-wing media ecosystem is much worse in 2022 than it was when he wrote that book 26 years ago.

Franken revisited the subject of right-wing media in his 2003 book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” In his video, the ex-senator notes, “The point of both books was that the right was deliberately spreading a lot of disinformation, and that that was very dangerous.” And he goes on to describe how often former President Donald Trump lied during his four years in the White House, using George Orwell’s dystopian science fiction novel “1984” to make his point.

“Trump lied thousands and thousands of times throughout the presidency, from the size of his inaugural crowd all the way through to the Big Lie that the election was stolen,” Franken explains. “And of course, he has no intentions to stop. Now, here’s the thing: Two-thirds of Republicans now believe the Big Lie.”

The right-wing media ecosystem, according to Franken, has as blatant a disregard for the truth as state-operated Kremlin media in Russia.

“What strikes me now at this moment — this horribly tragic moment in Ukraine — is that what we are seeing in Russia, where its people are being told and believing that their army is fighting Nazis, is not that far from the Big Lie,” Franken warns. “How far are we really from ‘1984,’ where one of our two political parties attempts to overturn an election with an act of political violence…. How far are they away from Orwell’s thought police and the ministry of truth? How far is 2022 from ‘1984?’

During the 1980s and 1990s, Franken was both a staff writer and a performer on “Saturday Night Live” — where he famously mocked new age self-help culture with his Stuart Smalley character. Politics became his main focus after “SNL,” and Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate via Minnesota in 2008. Franken was reelected in 2014 but resigned in January 2018 due to allegations of sexual harassment.

In his video, Franken draws a parallel between Trump supporters who believed the Big Lie violently attacking the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 and Kremlin media convincing people in Russia that the invasion of Ukraine is justified.

“The Republican Party is still Donald Trump’s party,” Franken warns. “There are no alternative facts; there are only big lies. The Russia Army is not killing Nazis; they are killing civilians, they are killing children. Donald Trump did not win the 2020 election; he lost it…. As long as his party is committed to suppressing votes…. we are headed down a steep, treacherous road.”

Watch the video below:

How close is 2022 to Orwell's 1984?

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