It's that time of year again, when the supposedly non-partisan and unbiased folks at PolitiFact prepare an op-ed about the most significant lie of the year, PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" award.
At PolitiFact Bias we have made a tradition of handicapping PolitiFact's list of candidates.
So, without further ado:
the murder of Saudi journalist (and U.S. resident) Jamal Khashoggi. Journalists have disproportionately gravitated toward that issue. Consonant with journalists' high estimation of their own intelligence and perception, this is the smart choice. 6.
That's five from President Trump. Are PolitiFact's candidates listed "in no particular order"? PolitiFact does not say.
A few notes: Once again, PolitiFact drew only from claims rated "False" or "Pants on Fire" to make up its list of candidates. President Obama's claim about Americans keeping their health insurance plans remains the only candidate to receive a "Half True" rating.
With five Trump statements among the 10 nominees we have to allow that PolitiFact will return to its ways of the past and make "Trump's statements as president" (or something like that) the winner.
Knowing PolitiFact's Lie of the Year stunt is more about generating teh clickz as opposed to a function of serious journalism or truth seeking, my pick is the Putin claim.
The field of candidates is, once again, intentionally weak outside of the Putin rating. Of all the Pants on Fire ratings they passed out to Trump this year, PolitiFact filled the list with claims that were simply False (and this is pretending there's some objective difference between any of PolitiFact's subjective ratings.)
Giving the award to Bernie won't generate much buzz, so you can cross him off the list.
It's doubtful the nonpartisan liberals at PolitiFact would burden Ocasio-Cortez with such an honor when she's already taking well-deserved heat for her frequent gaffes. And as far as this pick creating web traffic, I submit that AOC isn't nearly as talked about in Democrat circles as the ire she elicits from the right would suggest. That said, she should be considered a dark horse pick.
It's not hard to imagine PolitiFacter Aaron Sharockman cooking up a scheme during a Star Chamber session to pick AOC as an attempt at outreach to conservative readers and beefing up their "we pick both sides!" street cred (a credibility, by the way, that only PolitiFact and the others in their fishbowl of liberal confirmation bias actually believe exists.)
More people in America know Spencer Pratt sells healing crystals than have ever heard of Larry Kudlow. You can toss this one aside.
I let readers down and I embarrassed myself. As I repeatedly and mockingly point out to fact checkers: Confirmation bias is a helluva drug. I was convinced of the winner, and I ignored information that didn't support that outcome.
I regret that I didn't dismiss it with a coherent argument. My bad.-Jeff]
Putin is the obvious pick. Timed perfectly with the release of the Mueller report, it piggybacks onto the Russian interference buzz. Additionally, it allows ostensibly serious journos to include PolitiFact's Lie of the Year piece into their own articles about Russian involvement in the election (the catnip of liberal click-bait.) It gets bonus points for confirming for PolitiFact's Democrat fan base that Trump is an illegitimate president that stole the election.
The Putin claim has everything: Anti-Trump, stokes Russian interference RT's and Facebook shares, and gets links from journalists at other news outlets sympathetic to PolitiFact's cause.
The only caveat here is if PolitiFact continues their recent history of coming up with some hybrid, too-clever-by-half Lie of the Year winner that isn't actually on the list. But even if they do that the reasoning is the same: PolitiFact is not an earnest journalism outlet engaged in fact spreading. PolitiFact exists to get your clicks and your cash.
Don't believe the hype.
Updated: Added Jeff Adds section 1306 PST 12/10/2018 - Jeff
Edit: Corrected misspelling of Ocasio-Cortez in Jeff Adds portion 2025 PST 12/10/2018 - Jeff
Updated: Strike-through text of Hogg claim analysis in Jeff Adds section, added three paragraph mea culpa defined by brackets 2157 PST 12/12/2018 -Jeff