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Politifact seals the deal, abandoning truth to wingnuttery

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 17:12 EDT
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I don't know what else to add to the discussion about this shameful move from Politifact to grab the brass ring of "non-partisan" by declaring a non-lie the "Lie of the Year". Paul Krugman explains it succiently:

This is really awful. Politifact, which is supposed to police false claims in politics, has announced its Lie of the Year — and it’s a statement that happens to be true, the claim that Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Steve Benen in the link above explains it, but let me just repeat the basics. Republicans voted to replace Medicare with a voucher system to buy private insurance — and not just that, a voucher system in which the value of the vouchers would systematically lag the cost of health care, so that there was no guarantee that seniors would even be able to afford private insurance.

The new scheme would still be called “Medicare”, but it would bear little resemblance to the current system, which guarantees essential care to all seniors.

How is this not an end to Medicare? And given all the actual, indisputable lies out there, how on earth could saying that it is be the “Lie of the year”?

I discussed this before when Politifact put out their shameful list of nominations that was transparently pandering to right wingers who scream "liberal bias!" if the a stiff breeze catches them. Living in fear of loud-mouthed wingnuts is no way to live, Politifact. But now, in their desperation to avoid getting letters from irate wingnuts, they jut went ahead and picked a straight up non-lie as a lie. This non-lie beat bona fide lies, such as the claim that "90%" of Planned Parenthood's services are abortion (it's 3%) and the claim that the economic stimulus created no jobs. Incidentally, these actual lies beat out the non-lie about Medicare in Politifact's poll, despite ballot-stuffing efforts on behalf of Paul Ryan's office. 

As many others are saying, this really should be treated as the end of Politifact. They have abandoned their mission of fact-checking for concerns about appearing "non-partisan", which means leaning right, frankly, because doing anything but is going to bring the letters from wingnuts. Their side simply has a mass of people who don't give a shit about the truth, who also have a lot of time on their hands. Those people are a pain in the ass, but they cannot be allowed to set the terms of the discussion. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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