PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” Once Again Greeted by Scorn

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My Twitter feed was consumed with scorn last night for PolitiFact‘s choice of Lie of the Year. The winner, by a wide margin in their annual poll, was President Obama’s now infamous promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

But I have to cut PolitiFact some slack here. Take a look at the list of finalists. The runners-up were a piffle from Sen. Ted Cruz about Congress being exempt from Obamacare; a routine example of idiocy from Michele Bachmann; some random drivel in a column by Ann Coulter; and a bit of chain-mail nonsense about the UN taking away our guns. With competition like that, is there really any doubt that a very big, very public, very broken promise from the president of the United States would end up the winner?

If you ask me, the real takeaway from this list is that 2013 was a pretty good year for lies. Seriously. Obama’s promise about keeping your health care plan actually has a lot of truth to it. In the end, probably no more than 1 percent of American adults will end up being forced to switch to a health care plan that’s either more expensive or provides less coverage than their current plan. Obama was obviously more unequivocal than he should have been, but really, this has never been much of a lie.

But it was apparently the biggest of the year. I don’t know if American politicians made up for that by telling an unusually large number of little lies, but it sure looks like we had a pretty good year for avoiding whoppers.

POSTSCRIPT: Here’s an interesting tidbit: this is the fourth time in five years that PolitiFact‘s Lie of the Year has involved health care (one for a Medicare lie and three times for Obamacare lies). That’s a pretty good indication of what subject has gotten us all the most hot and bothered during the Obama era.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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