PolitiFact Lie Of The Year: Government Takeover Of Health Care

PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking project from the St. Petersburg Times, has selected their “Lie of the Year” from the hundreds that are dispensed annually by politicians and pundits. It must have been a grueling exercise, but their selection is more than deserving.

“PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections.”

The folks at PolitiFact cited several examples of this lie’s use by prominent by public figures and documented the basis for their decision. The phrase was coined by GOP pollster Frank Luntz and adopted by the Republican Party and conservative lobbying groups and think tanks like FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation.

The one criticism I have with PolitiFact’s analysis is that it doesn’t give sufficient blame to the media in general and Fox News in particular. Fox News acted as the PR agency for promoting this flagrant lie. There was even a leaked memo from Bill Sammon, the Washington managing editor, that instructed Fox producers and reporters to refrain from using the more neutral “public option” in favor of “government-run.” So this lie, which was certainly on the lips of Republican politicians, was company policy at Fox News.

PolitiFact did report that the media had participated in disseminating the lie. However, they said that “an accurate tally was unfeasible because it had been repeated so frequently in so many places.” Did its use by Fox overload the PolitFact database servers? The report then went on to cite examples such as 79 occurrences of its use on CNN. Seeing as how Fox News incorporated the lie into their style guide, it would have been helpful to get an estimate of its use on that network. Suffice to say that it probably went into the hundreds, if not thousands.

In defense of PolitiFact, if they were to document every lie that is told on Fox News they would have to recruit an army of researchers that would rival the U.S. Infantry.


16 thoughts on “PolitiFact Lie Of The Year: Government Takeover Of Health Care

  1. Politifact is not independent. They are a liberal organization. They just lie and say their independent in order to spread their liberal opinions. It is pathetic that they don’t see how obvious this is, they have been lying for so long they forgot what the truth is.

    • Any organization that doesn’t adhere to conservative dogma is liberal according to right-wing sheep.

      PolitiFact’s reputation is unassailable and is referenced by everybody in the media, even Fox News.

    • Dewd….gotta give reasoning as to why you came to that conclusion, without it it makes you look like you say that because it doesn’t mesh with the republican message.

      • He doesn’t have to give any reasons. He’s a GOTeaBagger and they are exempt from the rules of cognitive debate. As Colbert would, he just feels it in his gut.

  2. mark is quite incorrect in suggesting the PolitiFact is “independent”. it is funded and supported editorially by the st. petersburg times, which is among the most dogmatically liberal newspapers in the united states. Dogmatically liberal? That means that the Times is going to take a liberal, or left of center, position on every issue, no matter what the facts. I myself am an independent voter, though i’ve never voted republican. nevertheless, i can spot a politically inspired piece of writing quite easily, and anyone who reads the misnamed PolitiFact column regularly, and i do, understands that it is, sometimes subtly, nothing more than a support mechanism for the Times left of center and sometimes lunatic left of center views.

    • If your impression of PolitiFact is that it has “lunatic left of center views” you are simply delusional. What’s more, you disagree with Fox News and hundreds of other right-leaning media enterprises who regularly cite PolitiFact and rely on their impartiality. But then I guess you know better than they do and see through this commie conspiracy.

  3. I know you want to believe it was the lie that is the story, but what is even better is how much people believed it. If the trust of government to “fix” things is so great, how could such a lie get traction. Maybe if liberals and progressives, and of course their man in the White Houes, would stop trying to make the people of this country slaves to the government, such statements would never be believed.

    • Wow! That is a great justification for dishonest propaganda. So your philosophy is that if people are susceptible to lies then it’s their own fault if they are lied to. Thanks for confirming for me all of the worst aspects of right-wing bullshitting.

      By the way, lies gain traction by repetition and volume. The screamers at Fox News and elsewhere keep pounding away with their lies and, sadly, the weak fall for it. These are your people, and apparently you don’t mind that they are dupes. And you also don’t seem to mind regurgitating the same lies about government enslaving people. What utter and ignorant nonsense.

      • Boy, you really are a true believer. Fortunately enough others aren’t and you goal of government control for the “betterment” of everyone will hopefully remain just a bad dream.

      • By the way, the “slave to government” comment was more of a dependancy slavery, which has already happened with some people – if you’ve ever actually met a senior that lives near exclusively on social security, you would know what I mean. Talk about a low standard of living, it’s pretty darn sad. The result and consequence of believing in government to take care of you.

        • And your solution would be to eliminate Social Security and other safety net programs. If you think seniors have a low standard of living under Social Security, just think what it would be like for them without it.

          You don’t have to use your imagination. Just look into the conditions that existed prior to the enactment of Social Security when seniors were destitute, starving, and homeless. It was a heartless, irresponsible, and devoutly conservative, Randian utopia. And it is precisely what the Tea Party Rightists are advocating today.

          • I would say keep you shitty social security welfare check and let me opt out – I’m 1000% sure I could do a better job with all that money that I and my employer pays in every paycheck – even just my 1/2 of the paymetn – and people would’nt need to depend on the monthly. Look what we have to show for all tham money we paid in – nothing. All spent to support an out of control government spending spree. Yes, lets give it more to waste – great idea – of course it’s not your money you want to take to fund this disaster, so it’s easy for you. you libs are a pathetic lot, always have your hands in other peoples pockets.

          • I’m amazed that you are so proud of those facts…We now have an entire senior generation dependant on government checks for their well being. A great result – not. Proof of your desire to have us all as slaves to the government. You must be so proud.

            • If you only knew anything about our history and how seniors suffered with hunger and homelessness. And you accuse me of desiring slavery? It is you who suffers from the slavery of ignorance and a despicable lack of compassion.

            • What’s even more amazing is your response,you have so little confidence in the people of this country to provide for themselves that it’s only through another government program that human beings can survive. If another welfare program is your idea of compassion, keep it, I know people can always do better if permitted to do it on their own. You’ve just created another dependant group with your “compassion”. That is the danger of progressivism as you would apply it, creating another dependant group so they don’t actually need to think for themselves anymore. You’re more of a danger to the welfare of the people of this country. How did we ever make it to the creation of social security.

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