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Fox News drops Franken lawsuit

Author appeared on 'Crossfire,' 'Headlines' post triumph

NEW YORK — Conservatives loved to call CNN the Clinton News Network, but Monday that moniker might as well have been changed to the Al Franken News Network.

Glowing from his legal win over Fox News Channel, Franken was both a special celebrity co-host on CNN’s political shouter “Crossfire” and a featured guest on Paula Zahn’s evening news program “Live From the Headlines.”

Day was made even sweeter for Franken when Fox News filed papers signaling it would not appeal a court ruling dismissing its lawsuit against Franken and publisher Penguin.

“It’s time to return Al Franken to the obscurity that he’s normally accustomed to,” a Fox News spokeswoman said.

At issue was the jacket of Franken’s upcoming book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Book, which has shot to the top of Amazon.com‘s bestseller list as a result of the publicity generated by the Fox News lawsuit, takes a direct shot at conservative media personalities, including Bill O’Reilly, host of the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News. O’Reilly’s show is the No. 1-rated primetime news program on cable news.

In its lawsuit, Fox News said Franken’s book jacket violated its trademark on the phrase “Fair and Balanced.”

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ruled otherwise, saying Franken’s book was a clear example of parody.

The irony of Franken appearing on CNN was as about as subtle as Chin’s declaration that Fox News should lighten up.

CNN said it booked Franken to be a special co-host on “Crossfire” Thursday, before the court ruling. A CNN spokeswoman said the afternoon show had wanted to have Franken on for some time. (Actress Janeane Garofalo was a special celebrity co-host all last week on “Crossfire.”)

Zahn directly addressed the Fox lawsuit in her interview with Franken.