PolitiFact, one of the many fact checkers that has sprouted up on the web, announced yesterday that it had opened voting for the readers’ choice for the ”2013 Lie of the Year.”
Though PolitiFact’s editors and reporters will still choose the “Lie of the Year,” the fact checker, run by the Tampa Bay Times, has selected 10 finalists for this year’s “dishonor,” readers have been given the option to weigh-in. Readers can also write-in a one not on the list.
Among the 10 finalists are number of claims about Obamacare, including one made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and another by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about the congressional exemption from the law. There are a few others dealing with other random issue, from Syria to the United Nations.
President Barack Obama is also the list because of his revisionism on his infamous “if you like you plan, you can keep your plan” promise amid millions of insurance policy cancellation notices that are a direct result of the law.
“If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed,” Obama told his supporters early last month.
“So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act you are grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they have got to change it to a higher standard,” he said. “They’ve got to make it better.”
PolitiFact gave President Obama its worst possible rating, “Pants on Fire.” The fact checker wrote, “We found at least 37 times since Obama’s inauguration where he or a top administration official made a variation of the pledge that if you like your plan, you can keep it, and we never found an instance in which he offered the caveat that it only applies to plans that hadn’t changed after the law’s passage.”
“And seven of those 37 cases came after the release of the HHS regulations that defined the “grandfathering” process, when the impact would be clear,” PolitiFact added.
President Obama’s claim that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) “is transparent” is also on the list. It, too, was rated “Pants on Fire.”
PolitiFact’s annual “dishonor” has been controversial in the past. In 2009, the “Lie of the Year” was given to Sarah Palin because of her Obamacare “death panels” claim, though, some contend that she had a point.
The following year, PolitiFact said that the claim that Obamacare was a “government takeover of health care” was the “Lie of the Year” based on the reasoning that health insurance would still be provided, largely, through the private market. Nevermind that the law is a huge centralization of power and dictates minimum coverage that insurers have to offer, among other mandates and regulatory controls.
In 2011, Democrats who repeated the claim that “Republicans voted to end Medicare” was chosen as the “Lie of the Year.” And last year, Mitt Romney was given the dishonor over his claim that Jeep was sending jobs to China.
Matt Welch, editor at Reason magazine, has accused PolitiFact of focusing too much on rhetoric rather than serving as a “check on the exercise of power.” Human Events has criticized the fact checker for targeting Republicans, which, the conservative publication says, shows PolitiFact’s bias.