The announcement of PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” for 2020 was bound to be somewhat anticlimactic. After all, Donald Trump has already been documented to have told more than 25,000 lies since his inauguration. That’s an average of 50 lies per day. And that isn’t even counting his lies since the election on November 3rd. With a catalog that enormous the odds have been with Trump all along.
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It doesn’t hurt either that Trump is the defending champ with the three previous Lies of the Year under his prodigious belt. Trump has been “honored” for disgorging “fake news,” for his collective campaign misstatements, for his repeated denials of Russia’s election interference, and for his false assertions that “the whistleblower got my phone conversation with Ukraine all wrong.”
Now the 2020 Lie of the Year went to “Coronavirus Disinformation.” While that’s a catch-all designation, it’s clear that Trump and his deliberate falsehoods on the subject dominate the category. And PolitFact makes that clear in their article and accompanying video (see below):
“President Donald J. Trump fueled confusion and conspiracies from the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic. He embraced theories that COVID-19 accounted for only a small fraction of the thousands upon thousands of deaths. He undermined public health guidance for wearing masks and cast Dr. Anthony Fauci as an unreliable flip-flopper.”
“But the infodemic was not the work of a single person. […] Influential TV and radio opinion hosts told millions of viewers that social distancing was a joke and that states had all of the personal protective equipment they needed (when they didn’t). It was a symphony of counter narrative, and Trump was the conductor, if not the composer. The message: The threat to your health was overhyped to hurt the political fortunes of the president.”
It’s notable that where PolitiFact stipulated that “the infodemic was not the work of a single person,” they illustrated that point with two examples from Fox News. So we could give Fox an honorary mention as an accessory to Trump’s prevaricating victory.
For good measure, Trump is also the leading contender for PolitiFact’s readers poll. The proposed lies in this poll are 1) Coronavirus downplay and denial, 2) False claims that the 2020 election was rigged and that Trump won re-election, and 3) False claims that celebrities and politicians are child molesters (QAnon). Readers could also write in their own preferred lies. But each of these strongly suggest fabrications by the Fibber-in-Chief who is the primary disseminator of these blatant untruths.
That’s why it’s futile for anyone to attempt to unseat Trump as the annual Lie of the Year winner. It’s what he has worked for – and excelled in – his whole life. That said, next year there may be a new champ with Trump in civilian life, and hopefully in prison.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.