And the Winner is…

Published: December 21, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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Here’s an early Christmas gift.

In what has become an annual event,, the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-check organization, has revealed itsLie of the Year for 2011.

And the winner is… “Republicans voted to end Medicare.”

“Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April, that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit,” Politifact writes. “Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.

“Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care ‘because Republicans voted to end Medicare.’

“Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to ‘terminate Medicare.’ ”

Complete fabrication.

However, the topper came in a Web video that looks more like a Saturday Night Live sketch than a political ad, (You’ve got to see this one). Produced by the appropriately named, Agenda Project, the video completely misstates the Ryan plan by suggesting that it would leave the country “without Medicare” and featured a Ryan look-alike pushing a wheelchair-bound granny over a cliff. It stands as yet another example of playing to the worst fears of seniors., another source for truth in politics, has similarly listed the Democratic ad as one of its Whoppers of the Year along with the Republican Whopper regarding the oft repeated phrase, “job-killing” health care law. In their assessment, FactCheck found, “The best economic analysis of the new health care law points to the loss of a ‘small’ number of low-paid jobs — starting in 2014. That’s when firms with 50 or more workers will be required either to provide health insurance coverage to their employees or pay a penalty.”

Also making FactCheck’s Whopper List: “Most of the ‘millionaires’ who would pay higher tax rates under a Democratic proposal aren’t job-creating small-business owners; [And] President Obama’s mother didn’t really fight to get health insurance coverage as she was dying.”

Meantwhile, in its on-line survey, Politifact reported that readers voted, “The economic stimulus created ‘zero jobs.’ as put forth by The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other Republicans” as its lie of the year; followed by Republican Senator Jon Kyl’s statement that “Abortion services are ‘well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.’ ”

Of course, my favorite on the Web site is determining who has the highest number of Pants-on-Fire statements. Republican Herman Cain had 3; Newt Gingrich stands at 7; Mitt Romney, 8; Michele Bachman, 12; but the ubiquitous Chain e-mailscontinue to hold onto the top spot at a whopping 55!

My favorite of those outrageous e-mails comes from a February mass blast which stated: “Welfare programs caused more long-term damage to Detroit than the atomic bomb caused to Hiroshima.”

While Politifact asks, “Where do these things come from????” I continue to ask, “What percentage of people reading them,believe them????”

Whatever the answer, it’s too many!


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