Thursday, December 17, 2009
And the Winner of the Politifact.com 2009 Lie of the Year Contest IS....
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
German Chancellor, leader of the Nazi party,
"I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.”
Henry Louis Mencken
American humorous Journalist & Critic of American life
“People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to.”
British Journalist, Satarist, Spy,
1903 - 1990
Between December 9th and December 16th, one of my all-time favorite sites, Politifact.com, held open voting for their year in review "Lie of the Year" contest. This contest is a great look at both the issues that were important in 2009, and the people who were the faces of those issues. Those competing are so worthy, that picking just one is a terribly difficult decision. (I would have included Ben Bernanke, but oh well.....they didn't ask me.)
Politifact is one of the best fact checking sites on the web, a project of the St. Petersburg Times newspaper. A 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, the purpose of the project, as stated on their web site, is "to help you find the truth in American Politics". Editors and reporters of the Times do the fact checking on "statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups" and then rate them on their truth-o-meter. Ratings on the Truth-O-Meter range from True through a spectrum of partially True all the way to False, and the ultimate bad rating and my personal favorite, because fact-checking American Politics just wouldn't be complete without it, for statements where a mere rating of false would be simply inadequate: "Pants on Fire". Politifact is adamantly non-partisan in their fact checking, so while readers may delight in seeing those who hold opposition figures accountable for their statements, readers should also be prepared to see statements made by figures they may endorse or support given equal scrutiny.
So, who are the candidates for the 2009 Lie of the Year award? (drum roll please!)
In no particular order
Joe Biden, for:
"When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft."
April 30, 2009,
the Today Show.
Rated Pants on Fire.
Barack Obama, for:
"Preventive care saves money."
September 9, 2009,
speech to a joint session of Congress.
Joe Wilson, for:
September 9, 2009
speech by Obama to a joint session of Congress,
(re health care reform would not insure illegal immigrants)
Nita Lowey, for:
"An amendment to the House health reform bill puts new restrictions on women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market even when they would pay premiums with their own money."
November 7, 2009,
speech from the House floor
Sarah Palin, for:
"Seniors and the disabled will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his beaurocrats can decide, based on a subjective judgement of their level of productivity in society, whether they are worthy of health care."
August 7, 2009,
message posted on Facebook.
Rated Pants on Fire
Glenn Beck, for:
"John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population." July 22, 2009
Fox News cable television, Glenn Beck program
Rated Pants on Fire
Orly Taitz, for:
"A birth certificate shows Barack Obama was born in Kenya."
August 2, 2009
Rated Pants on Fire
Michele Bachmann, for:
"Page 92 of the House health care reform bill says specifically that people can't purchase private health insurance after a date certain."
October 30, 2009,
Fox News cable television interview
Rated Pants on Fire
So hard to choose, it is so very hard to choose.......
And the winner is..........?
Unfortunately, Politifact did not provide a date for announcing the winner, only that the results will come soon. While readers wait for the announcement, they can browse the Politifact web site which is conveniently organized with Truth-O-Meter findings by persons, rulings, subjects, Pants on Fire rulings, and Health Care. There is a file devoted exclusively to Barack Obama, as well as an Obameter, Joe Biden has his own file as well. Glenn Beck and Michael Moore have their own files as well. TheObameter, worth a look for those who want to determine for themselves if the President gave himself a fair grade for his first year, is divided into headings for All promises not yet rated, All promises in the works, All promises stalled, Broken promises, Obama compromises, and for any topic not covered in those headings, By subject. Politifact is tracking 500 Obama promises, a prodigious undertaking. The site also has sections on people, and pundits.
Staff writer and researcher Angie Drobnic Holan is the Politifact reporter posting the story and presumably also the results to the Politifact web page. Her bio on Politifact indicates she has worked for the St. Petersburg Times since 2005, and holds a Masters degree from Columbia University School of Journalism. She has previously been a researcher at the Tampa Tribune and a business reporter for the Mobile, Alabama Press-Register.
I hope she posts an announcement soon; the suspense is brutal! Well, maybe it is not quite such suspense, for those who are the candidates for this distinction; I imagine they'd be happy to wait indefinitely. One last point: according to Politifact, as regards a difference of opinion covered in a previous article here on Penigma, relating to the Stupak Amendment, let me acknowledge that Politifact supports the position espoused by Thoughts of Eternity, and not the position I expressed. I like to admit it when I'm wrong. Well, I don't exactly LIKE it, but I try to do it.