Patterico's Pontifications


Handicapping Politifact’s 2011 Lie of the Year

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:00 am

[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.


40 Responses to “Handicapping Politifact’s 2011 Lie of the Year”

  1. When Jon Stewart got tangled in his “Fox News viewers are dumb” lie, he used Politifact’s list to jab back.

    He had a lot of material to work with.

    Eric Lindholm (cf8713)

  2. Well my personal favorite from Peter Fonda at Cannes 2011:

    “I sent an email to President Obama saying, ‘You are a f—— traitor,’ using those words… ‘You’re a traitor, you allowed foreign boots on our soil telling our military – in this case the coastguard – what they can and could not do, and telling us, the citizens of the United States, what we could or could not do’.”

    Ordering no action taken on the spill, Scratch sought to maximize the damage ‘It’s easier to clean up once the oil comes ashore.’

    In contravention of the law the Feds had a mile of oil boom on hand, then failed to identify producers and order more.

    Dispatch Scratch.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  3. The problem is the stimulus likely did create some brand new jobs, accountants if nothing else. That the net job figure was a net loss is beside the point.

    Soronel Haetir (f21d6f)

  4. No, the net job loss is the point.

    ropelight (79b7ab)

  5. MD in Philly’s Lie of the Year #1

    Web sites and organizations claiming they are independent fact checkers.
    The smarter ones will toss some Dem problems in just to make it look even-handed, but the “worst spin of all time” will always be given to a Repub for saying “It’s sunny outside” when there are 2 clouds on the horizon.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  6. It’s the St. Petersburg Times, which is McClatchy
    and ‘Friends don’t let friends read McClatchy’ or take it seriously,

    narciso (87e966)

  7. “Obama wins, America wins”

    That’s the biggest lie of any year.

    Colonel Haiku (6e258b)

  8. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  9. “I have no recollection of where the money went.”

    – Jon Corzine

    Colonel Haiku (6e258b)

  10. What a bunch of cynics we have here this morning among the commenter/newshounds. What mistrust of our national media.


    And please, please, please let them go full on with the “It could be Worse” Obama campaign theme. Winning!!!

    elissa (9d9d19)

  11. politifact’s entire business model depends on them sucking up to liberal obamawhore editors who’ll pay them to call local and state-level Republicans liars

    it’s run by a fiercely anti-American obamawhore named Bill Adair

    same as it ever was

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  12. And can we tell the left to stop projecting the left’s corrupt dictators on to Colombia.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  13. The jobs gained/lost question cannot be answered without noting the contraction of the total workforce the past three years. Those people (mostly men) did not just vaporize.

    Mike K (9ebddd)

  14. No American president has done more for Israel than I have.

    Barack Obama

    Jenna Bush Hager (bf33e9)

  15. Wasserman-Shultz’s thing about Jim Crow returning because of Voter ID laws, is the worst: it’s a blood libel. Not only for what it says, but for the lie it embodies; that Republicans were responsible for the original Jim Crow.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  16. #6 narciso: Actually, the St. Petersburg Times is not owned by the McClatchy Company. I don’t think it ever was.

    Joshua (79d1a2)

  17. The president believes giving money to people without jobs by fairly taking it away from people with jobs and deficit spending will create more jobs than some freaking enviro-rape job pipeline.

    Jay Carney

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  18. She’s my rep, and you wonder why I’m cynical?

    narciso (87e966)

  19. Blaming Palin for the leftist whack job Giffords shooting was a low point, to be sure.

    Herman Cain (554e77)

  20. Claiming I raped someone was pretty bad too.

    Herman Cain (554e77)

  21. My mystical postracial polytheistic touch healed Gabby Giffords before my big speech. For a typical white person she is doing quite well.

    Barack Obama

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. narciso – You want Jan Schakowsky instead? I’m willing to negotiate.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  23. I can top the both of you: Maxine Waters!

    Kevin M (563f77)

  24. Can’t think of a bigger Lie of the Year than PolitiFact itself.

    Not unlike China awarding a peace prize.

    beer 'n pretzels (2f4b27)

  25. The LOTY will go to Obama for his claim that he didn’t raise taxes once. Here’s why:

    As much grief as PF gets for being a lib site, if they picked a right leaning statement for the 3rd year in a row it would only confirm this sentiment. Picking BO’s statement that he didn’t raise taxes won’t offend PF’s liberal readership, who is already upset that he hasn’t raised taxes enough. On the contrary, it defends BO to his followers (“See! He did raise taxes! Hooray!”)while having the added benefit of “proving” PolitiFact’s non-partisan street cred (“See! They gave Obama the LOTY! That proves they’re neutral!”).

    The safe bet is the DWS claim about the GOP bringing back the Jim Crow laws. Again, they can’t pick a GOP statement for a third time without confirming their bias. The DWS claim is obvious hyperbole so it won’t offend the lib readers, and it really doesn’t do any damage to the Obama brand.

    But my money is on the Obama tax claim. The “credibility” they earn by dinging Obama without the risk of upsetting the Obamabots is too much for PF to resist. Book it.

    Jeff Dyberg (47f7d3)

  26. more hugo chavez
    than theodore roosevelt
    and that is NO LIE

    Colonel Haiku (6e258b)

  27. Elissa-

    They say that just because a person is paranoid it doesn’t mean there can’t be someone out to get them.

    The corollary is

    Just because a person makes cynical remarks it doesn’t mean it’s not true and deserved.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  28. Another lefty lie-Privatization leads to right-wing corruption worse than Yeltsin.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  29. I think Holder not knowing about Fast and Furious then the memos addressed to him

    Hawkins (746077)

  30. If someone on our side lies, but we call the people who call his lie a lie “liars,” then the original lie goes away! Kerpoof!

    Today's Republican (37de18)

  31. If someone on the other side, such as O’Keefe or Breitbart, tells an inconvenient truth, but we call them liars and convince everyone that they make stuff up and dishonestly edit videos, then it won’t matter that they’ve exposed our wrongdoing because nobody will listen to them. And just to stop them from calling us liars, we’ll call them liars first. That way when they call us liars back people will think they’re just being childish and petty, and will suppose that the truth lies somewhere in between. They won’t think we’re squeaky clean, but that doesn’t matter; so long as they think the other side is at least as bad as us who cares? If we can get them to believe only half our lies, then they’ll only believe half the truth that the other side tells, and that will be good for us.

    — Today’s Democrat

    There, I FIFY

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  32. Soronel Haetir,

    If net job loss isn’t important, why was it the measure for every President before Obama? Where are the “saved or created” jobs figures for Bush, Clinton, etc.?

    Karl (e39d6b)

  33. Comment by Colonel Haiku — 12/10/2011 @ 8:52 am

    I have no recollection of where the money went.”

    – Jon Corzine

    He didn;’t say he had no recollection of where the money went. He said he had no knowledge which is, yes, a lie because he has a pretty good idea of where it went – to the banks to meet margin calls, even if he may not know exactly – but more important, it’s answering the wromng question.

    The question is: Why did the money leave. It was supposed to be in segregated accounts.

    His defense, I believe, is that people misunderstood his instructions, which he may have neglected to say: Nevertheless, don’t embezzle..

    Sammy Finkelman (b17872)

  34. Let me try this again:

    Jon Corzine didn’t say he had no recollection of where the money went. He said he had no knowledge of where the money went, which is, yes, a lie because he has a pretty good idea of where it went even if he may not know exactly – it went to the banks to meet margin calls, unless somebody put some of it in his pocket first. So he has some knowledge.

    But more important, it’s answering the wrong question.

    The question should be: How did the money leave?

    It was supposed to be in segregated customer accounts.

    His defense, I believe, is that people misunderstood his instructions, where he may have neglected to say: Nevertheless, don’t embezzle..

    Sammy Finkelman (b17872)

  35. rope, Karl:

    Well, yes, the “net jobs loss” figure -is- important, for those with functional logic centers who aren’t desperately working to push a Re-Elect The Stuttering Clusterfrak Of A Miserable Failure narrative. But if they can point to some paper-shufflers who got hired to keep track of the business-crushing regulatory burden, no matter how many more simply threw up their hands and declared “she’ll never fly, Orville,” the “no jobs” claim is Pants On Fire and the sacred Narrative is preserved.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  36. This is a bit mean, but then again, it is the truth and it was not my idea.

    John Corzine, who currently cannot account for a heck of a lot of money under his stewardship, recently gained experience in management, finances, and budget accountability where?

    One could say that if this is the Democrat idea of how the “private sector” works, then it makes sense they trust the government more than the private sector and do not want to privitize SS.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  37. Get lost Weenie Todd.

    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  38. Without Plan B 16 years old will get pregnant…………..OH NOEZ


    Dohbiden (ef98f0)

  39. which is, yes, a lie because he has a pretty good idea of where it went even if he may not know exactly – it went to the banks to meet margin calls, unless somebody put some of it in his pocket first. So he has some knowledge.

    That is speculation. Here’s a counter-speculation: Corzine honestly has no idea where that money went, because its disappearance had nothing to do with anything he did. He bet the wrong way on European bonds, lost everything the company had, but fully expected the customers’ money to be safe. He had no reason to audit the customer accounts, or to suspect that someone had been dipping into them. Meanwhile whoever stole the money had no idea the company would go under and his theft would be discovered before he could put it back; it was pure bad luck.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

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