Krugman, liberals argue Politifact's Lie of the Year is not a lie

PolitiFactNew York Times

PolitiFact's choice for the 2011 Lie of the Year -- the claim that "Republicans voted to end Medicare" -- is actually a true statement, says Paul Krugman:

Republicans voted to replace Medicare with a voucher system to buy private insurance ... The new scheme would still be called 'Medicare', but it would bear little resemblance to the current system, which guarantees essential care to all seniors. How is this not an end to Medicare? And given all the actual, indisputable lies out there, how on earth could saying that it is be the 'Lie of the year'?

Similar thoughts come from Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, Slate's Matthew Yglesias, David Dayen at Firedoglake, and others. Krugman infers that "the people at Politifact are terrified of being considered partisan ... So they’ve bent over backwards to appear 'balanced' — and in the process made themselves useless and irrelevant."

PolitiFact Editor Bill Adair explains the choice in a lengthy post, and also told Poynter this by email:

"It's worth noting that both and Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post have also rated the claim false. I appreciate and respect the feedback we're getting and I recognize that our readers won't always agree with our conclusions."

Earlier: When "Mediscare" was first nominated, Dan Kennedy wrote about "PolitiFact and the limits of fact-checking" (Huffington Post) | Media Matters fact checking is most accurate, says Chris Mooney ( || Disclosure: Poynter owns the St. Petersburg Times, which operates PolitiFact.

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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