Monday, February 20, 2012

The Weekly Standard: "Liberal Pundits Shocked to Discover PolitiFact Not Always Factual"

Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard has earned himself the reputation as perhaps PolitiFact's top critic.  As evidence of that, Hemingway beat me to the "late to the party" theme by about a month after the progressive outrage over PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" selection for 2011.

I'm sorry I missed his article before now.

So the liberal punditry woke up today to find that PolitiFact has declared the "Lie of the Year" to be Democrats's claim that Paul Ryan's budget will "end Medicare" or "end Medicare as we know it." They're having quite the collective freakout—see Paul Krugman, Jonathan Chait, Matt Yglesias, Brian Beutler, Steve Benen, et al.
Hemingway concedes the "end Medicare" claim has some truth to it:
Accusing Republicans of trying to end Medicare as we know it is also a stupid criticism because the implementation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also "end Medicare as we know it." And unlike Ryan's plan, Democrats already made IPAB the law of the land. Under IPAB, unelected federal bureaucrats chosen by the president will bypass Congress and set the Medicare budget, and this will likely have pretty dramatic consequences for the program, such as severely restricting doctor access and rationing. It might well prove unconstitutional to boot.
So why all the outrage if Medicare as we know it is already dead and gone?  Hemingway has a hypothesis:
Liberals are freaking out over this because they're so used to PoltiFact and other fact checkers breaking things their way.

But he's probably right.  And, as usual, it's well worth reading the whole article.

Correction 2/21/2012:  Fixed spelling of "Pundits" in the title.

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