O'Reilly alleges that Franken's book sales are inflated because of bulk buys, especially bulk buys from the Democratic National Committee. According to O'Reilly, Tony Welch, DNC press secretary, refused to answer specific questions about the number of "smear books" the DNC has bought. "A political party jacking up book sales of dubious people is bad enough," O'Reilly wrote on Nov. 7 on the FoxNews Web site, "but using the publishing industry to advance political power is disgraceful."
I spoke with Welch by telephone on Sunday afternoon. He disputed O'Reilly's allegations about Hillary Clinton's "Living History" and denied that the DNC bought any copies of her book. Welch also said that the DNC had in fact made bulk buys of what O'Reilly terms "smear books" and confirmed that such practice is typical. He claims the bulk buys for each book were less than 1,500.
O'Reilly's book publicist at Broadway Books could not be reached for comment.
Bulk buys of liberal books are certainly common. The American Prowler reported in June 2003 that Hillary Clinton told Democratic Senate colleagues and other groups that if they wanted her to appear at fund-raisers, they would have to buy copies of her book "in bulk for free distribution at the event" or make her book "available for purchase while she is in attendance." O'Reilly claims that five Web sites, including the DNC, are buying "smear books" in bulk.
Either O'Reilly's information is unfounded and his claims regarding Hillary Clinton and Al Franken are incorrect, or the DNC is lying. Either way, someone isn't telling the truth. Who is it?