Judge tosses Fox lawsuit over Franken book title

Saturday, August 23, 2003

— A federal judge on Friday denied Fox News Channel's request for an injunction to block humorist Al Franken's new book, whose title mocks the Fox slogan "fair and balanced."

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said Fox's claim was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

The network had argued the subtitle to Franken's book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" could trick some consumers into believing the book is associated with Fox. The book's subtitle is "A fair and balanced look at the Right." Fox trademarked "fair and balanced" in 1998.

The book went on sale nationally Thursday, moved up from its September rollout date because of publicity from the lawsuit. The publisher added 50,000 copies to the original run of 270,000 after the suit was filed.

The cover, above, features Franken standing in front of a television monitor with screens of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, conservative pundit Ann Coulter and Fox host Bill O'Reilly.

The word "Lies," in the title, appears in large print over the four screens.

The Fox lawsuit described Franken as a "C-level political commentator" who is "increasingly unfunny" and suggested he was "intoxicated or deranged" when he confronted a table of Fox personalities at a correspondents' dinner in April.