Sunday, December 11, 2011

Patterico's Pontifications: "Handicapping PolitiFact's 2011 Lie of the Year"

Karl, blogging at Patterico's Pontifications, published some comments about PolitiFact's upcoming "Lie of the Year" award.  Though Karl's post isn't exactly an evidence of PolitiFact's left-leaning bias, his opinion of PolitiFact is neatly phrased:
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.
If Karl's prediction pans out then it does serve as another circumstantial evidence showing PolitiFact's liberal bias.

Karl was a bit more daring with his predictions than I was in a similarly titled post at Sublime Bloviations.  The main differences are that Karl picks a lone likely winner where I picked two, and I gave some space to considering the possibility that PolitiFact would choose a claim from the left in order to push back against the public perception that their operation is biased to the left.  Perhaps announcing the finalists helps inoculate PolitiFact on that count.  Simply having five statements from liberals to choose from among the finalists has liberals and progressives crying foul.

Jeff adds: I'll stick with the comments I left (both on Sublime Bloviations and on Karl's Patterico piece) that the award will go to Obama for his statement that he "didn't raise taxes once." Granting the Lie of the Year to a right-leaning statement a third year in a row might raise too many eyebrows when PolitiFact is already accused of a liberal bias. The statement itself isn't offensive to PolitiFact's liberal readers who already complain that Obama hasn't raised taxes enough. Picking this statement also serves the dual purpose of providing cover for their bias in the upcoming election cycle. One can imagine the arguments we'd hear for the next 11 months: "PolitiFact goes after both sides! They even picked Obama for the Lie of the Year!"

The final 10 statements they selected are also a bit curious. Whatever one may think of Bachmann's vaccine remark, or even Wasserman's Jim Crow claim, it's a stretch to consider them even in the running for comments that "played the biggest role in the national discourse." What kind of debate transpired in the PolitiFact editors meeting that granted a top ten spot to Jon Kyl's obscure and barely repeated abortion claim in the year of Anthony Weiner, Fast and Furious, and Solyndra?

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