PolitiFact has awarded their "Lie of the Year" to President Barack Obama for his promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it."
PolitiFact, a feature of the Tampa Bay Times, purports to rate the truthfulness of statements/assertions made by politicians. The accurate are rated "true," then slide down the scale to "mostly true," 'half true," "mostly false" and "false." The biggest "lies" -- the most egregious -- are awarded, as PolitiFact puts it, a "Pants on Fire!" rating. (Full disclosure: As I recently wrote, PunditFact, its sister feature, recently gave me an undeserved "mostly false.")
What's puzzling is that PolitiFact, until now, called Obama's statement "true" and later "half true." In 2008 PolitiFact rated then-candidate Obama's "you can keep it" statement as "true," because "Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here." As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto notes: "PolitiFact actually rated Obama's promise as 'true' on the grounds that in making the promise, he was making the promise. ... In 2008 it was but a promise, which Obama might or might not have intended and might or might not have been able to keep."
Then in 2009, when PolitiFact re-fact-checked the same statement, they rated Obama's statement as "half true." The Obamacare promise stayed stuck on "half true" even when PolitiFact again re-re-fact-checked it in 2012.
"By 2012," writes Taranto, "we now know, it was a full-fledged fraud, but exposing it conclusively as such would have required a degree of expertise few journalists have. ... Its past evaluations of the statement were not 'fact checks' at all, merely opinion pieces endorsing Obamacare."
Stupid, Obama is not. Why would he continue this blatantly false assertion about Obamacare, doctors and plans? He counted on the supposed media "watchdog" to look the other way, fall asleep or cheer him on.
Recall the comments by pundit Joan Walsh of leftwing Slate.com on the 2008 campaign trail: "I was struck, when I got to Iowa and New Hampshire in January, by how our media colleagues were just swooning over Barack Obama. That is not too strong a word. They were swooning."
Two of America's most influential newspapers admitted bias -- belatedly of course -- in their coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. The Washington Post's ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, examined her paper's 2008 election coverage: "The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. ...