Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

In my quest to find neutral arbiters of the truth, I was growing increasingly satisfied with Politifact’s record of fact-checking. They seemed quite thorough and diligent, and their reporting is more constant than the occasional article by FactCheck.org.

But, as Steve Benen pointed out, they really effed up their 2011 Lie of the Year. Now think back to some Republican statements recently. Just about every Republican candidate has called President Obama a socialist, and one of the frontrunners believes he’s waging a war on Christianity. They’re also calling the stimulus a “job killer” that didn’t work. The president is anti-business, they say, even though businesses are sitting on huge cash reserves and Wall Street is booming. We could go on and on. The Republicans are lie machines.

Yet, no, the 2011 Lie of the Year is the Democratic claim that the Republicans are attempting to destroy Medicare as we know it.

It’s not a lie. At all.

Paul Ryan authored a plan to change Medicare into something that’s no longer a guaranteed single-payer system. Instead, it would become a privatized voucher system. Even Newt Gingrich called is right-wing social engineering.

I still intend to cite Politifact, but with some healthy skepticism. This Lie of the Year thing is definitely worthy of a “Pants On Fire” rating.

UPDATE… FactCheck.org repeats the same Politifact nonsense. And they both engage in some forced balance. To repeat what I wrote on Twitter: “FACT: One group lies & misleads more often than another group. Forcing balance when it doesn’t exist is a LIE.”

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  • http://twitter.com/SugaRazor Razor

    They were terrified of being labeled as left-wing, so they did whatever they could to slam Democrats with the “lie of the year.” Just like the rest of the media, they have to create balance, even if there’s nothing to balance.

  • JMAshby

    *sticks fingers in ears* – “nanana I can’t hear you because both sides are the same!” -THE Liberal Media

  • mrbrink

    The coup is on the move.

    Adding, it sounded like a cool thing to say.

    Adding also, call this the Factchecker Lie Of The Year.

    Medicare Advantage was the republican model and it was breaking Medicare. The Obama Democrats repealed this and are phasing it out.

    One party has already saved Medicare as we know it. Republicans and Ryan want to hand it over to an unregulated for-profit system.

    There’s a huge fucking difference and it scares the shit out of me that it isn’t more self-evident to the trustees of fact.

  • mrbrink

    They went back to 2008 and 2009 to call the president a liar because he said his mother was having trouble with insurers, or something inconsequential along those lines.

    But then this:

    “An exaggerated Democratic National Committee Web video accusing ex-Gov. Mitt Romney of far more flip-flopping than he really committed. It’s a preview of what the general election campaign will see should Romney win the GOP nomination.”

    I got chills when I read that.

    Hail Romney?

    “Corporations are people, my friend.”

    True statement. Factshirker assured.

  • mrbrink

    Let me explain the bizarro way they arrived at their misleading conclusions:

    The Republican plan closes the door on future generations– True!

    Republican plan closes the door on future generations and slides an IOU under the door to take and go out and find their own unregulated senior-friendly fine-print health care coverage– True!

    Republican plan for Medicare doesn’t effect current beneficiaries, just like the Republicans have said– True!

    So Democrats appealing to current beneficiaries who know the value of Medicare and who can attest to its effectiveness and security by voting for the people who will better protect it– is dirty politics, and so is including current beneficiaries in the debate because it is unfair to the Republican plan which closes the door on Medicare as we know it, but not them.

    Therefore Democrats are lying to current beneficiaries about the security, stability, and future of Medicare under Republican plans?

    Seriously, what the fuck is this shit? Factcheck.org has lost its ability to reason honestly.