[Posted by Karl]
Yes, the end of the year brings awards season:
Later this month, we’ll announce PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year — the most significant falsehood of 2011, as chosen by the editors and reporters on the PolitiFact National staff. We’re reviewing claims we’ve rated False or Pants on Fire and will choose the one that played the biggest role in the national discourse.
RTWT for the full list of 10 finalists. In handicapping the contest, note that in previous years, the award has gone to claims (a) rated as “Pants On Fire”; and (b) made by Republicans. Indeed, last year’s award was a textbook case of PolitiFact trying to manufacture consent to a center-left political narrative by pretending that a political judgment call can be easily labeled as a “lie” in the first instance (even lefty ideologues like Glenn Greenwald have figured this out).
Accordingly, I think this year’s merely “False” claims have to be discounted. Interestingly, of the five ”Pants On Fire” claims, three are by Democrats. Only one of those is from Pres. Obama; the remaining two are from the DCCC and “Facebook posts.” The DCCC claim that House Republicans voted to “end Medicare” ought to be Lie of the Year, as it had the most impact on the national discourse. But PolitiFact is about helping the center-left, not hurting it, which leaves the two GOP “Pants On Fire” entries.
Mitt Romney’s claim that Obama “went around the world and apologized for America” is a tempting choice. After all, of the finalists, Mitt Romney is the most likely to be the GOP presidential nominee. Making Mitt Public Liar Number One would be a nice bone to throw the Dems.
However, if I was a bettor, I would bet on PolitiFact giving Lie of the Year to the claim that the stimulus created zero jobs. PolitiFact idenitifes this as an NRSC claim, but similar claims have been made by George Allen, Eric Cantor and Rick Perry, making it useful in multiple situations. More important, attacking this claim supports Obama’s fantasy jobs “saved or created” dodge and his “It Could Be Worse” message, which are a foundational blocks of his re-elect campaign. Without it, Obama is left defending a likely net job loss over his term. Thus, pointing out Obama’s economic policies have created no net new jobs must be the Lie of the Year.