My New Think Again column is called “As We Leave Iraq, Remember How We Got In” and it’s here.
My new Nation column is called “Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent” and it’s here.
Happy holidays. Now here’s Reed:
Fact-checking, in the New, Old-Fashioned Way
by Reed Richardson
Just in time for Christmas, PolitiFact delivered a big, fat gift to the Republican Party and its efforts to end Medicare. Sure, this gift was wrapped in a tissue-thin veneer of objectivity and held together by a transparently weak ribbon of a qualifier—it was missing the phrase “as we know it”—but when PolitiFact slapped a brazen “Lie of the Year” bow on top, all pretense pretty much disappeared.
The reaction to such a gross distortion, one that no doubt will be featured in GOP campaign ads throughout the general election next fall, was swift and full-throated:
Here’s the inestimable Pierce on its general “pissantery.”
Here’s Jonathan Cohn with an excellent healthcare policy rebuttal.
Here’s Dave Wiegel talking about how the “lie” actually has its origins in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal.
Also, I’d just point out that last week in this space I criticized PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” award as a kind of ephemeral, self-promotional PR gimmick. Yes, it can generate a lot of temporary buzz, as all the aforementioned links attest to, but even if it’s accurate, which in this case I don’t believe it is, elevating one comment above all others doesn’t do much for the general tone of political discourse in the long run. Indeed, as a contribution to the discourse, the stunt traffics in the same kind of hyperbole that PolitiFact and the rest of the fact-checking sites supposedly spend the rest of the year unmasking.