“Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year”, Politifact’s Angie Drobnic Holan wrote dramatically on December 18th, 2009 – “one stood out from the rest”: Death panels.
Total lie, you guys!
The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.
Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really ?”
The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”
PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists.
Excellent job, MSM!
President Obama rebutted the claim in a major health care address on Sept. 9: “Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.”
The phrase has been mentioned in the Congressional Record about 40 times since Palin’s Facebook posting, but virtually all were Democrats citing it as an example of Republican intransigence.
“You know, GOP used to stand for Grand Old Party,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., on Nov. 7. “Now it stands for Grandstand, Oppose, and Pretend. They grandstand with phony claims about nonexistent death panels. They oppose any real reform.” The House voted in favor of health care legislation the same day.
Funny. If you read the Politifact article – it doesn’t really debunk the claim. It just cites how Democrats were outrageously outraged, and everybody agreed it was a big ol’, mean ol’ lie.
Palin, for her part was unrepentant. She told the National Review in an interview on Nov. 17, 2009, that she didn’t regret her comments.
“To me, while reading that section of the bill, it became so evident that there would be a panel of bureaucrats who would decide on levels of health care, decide on those who are worthy or not worthy of receiving some government-controlled coverage,” she said. “Since health care would have to be rationed if it were promised to everyone, it would therefore lead to harm for many individuals not able to receive the government care. That leads, of course, to death.”
“The term I used to describe the panel making these decisions should not be taken literally,” said Palin. The phrase is “a lot like when President Reagan used to refer to the Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire.’ He got his point across. He got people thinking and researching what he was talking about. It was quite effective. Same thing with the ‘death panels.’ I would characterize them like that again, in a heartbeat.”
I’ve been waiting for this day. We all knew the truth would come out at some point, and Palin would be vindicated….It’s too late to do anything about it, sure – but some measure of satisfaction can be gleaned from watching Obama’s lapdogs sheepishly admit 4 years later, “aw, you guys were right all the time” – Mark Halperin: Obamacare Contains “Death Panels”:
The Affordable Care Act contains provisions for “death panels,” which decide which critically-ill patients receive care and which won’t, according to Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine.
“It’s built into the plan. It’s not like a guess or like a judgment. That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled,” Halperin told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
Halperin is a supporter of the panels which explains why he’s telling the truth about it now, rather than 4 years ago.
Politifact has as track record to be proud of.
Which it was….duh.
In the waning days of the 2012 campaign, the Romney campaign put out an ad in Ohio that made the charge that Chrysler would be building jeeps in China after being bailed out by the government. This caused a massive media backlash, with hyperventilating Democrats calling it a flat out lie. In fact, it was Politifact’s Lie of the Year:
It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep’s parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.
And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.
People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.
Read the entire thing. This particular Politifact post sounds like Media Matters on steroids. But they were right about one thing – there was a flood of negative press coverage that rained down on the Romney campaign – an amazing phenomena we saw again and again throughout the campaign any time Romney made a claim that might draw blood.
Megyn Kelly had Stuart Varney on to talk about the controversy five days before the election. The only thing that was “obviously false” was the “fact checkers’” assertion that the Romney ad claimed Chrysler was “moving US production to China”.
As Varney noted in the video, nowhere in the ad did the Romney campaign claim that Chrysler was moving U.S, production to China. That was a massive strawman designed to confuse voters into thinking that Romney was lying about the Precious again. The ad simply stated that Chrysler was sold to Italians who were going to start building jeeps in China which is 100% correct.
Was it an ad I would have wasted time on, if I were running the campaign? No. But the geniuses in the Romney campaign wanted to play tit for tat on Obama’s terms.