On Friday, Politifact bowed to the inevitable and named President Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” statement its Lie of the Year. That came after Politifact labeled that statement “half-true” in June 2012 and then defended its “half-true” rating in October 2013. Now, Politifact says:
It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system….But the promise was impossible to keep.
Of course, there’s more to the story than that: the promise was a lie when it was made, given that Obama knew at the time he said it that insurance plans would be cancelled. But Politifact, even in naming the statement the Lie of the Year, soft-pedalled it:
[Obama] fought back against inaccurate attacks with his own oversimplifications, which he repeated even as it became clear his promise was too sweeping.
So even the lie was just a revenge lie. Politifact did admit to its original false ratings of Obama’s lie, but did not apologize for them:
In 2009 and again in 2012, PolitiFact rated Obama’s statement Half True, which means the statement is partially correct and partially wrong. We noted that while the law took pains to leave some parts of the insurance market alone, people were not guaranteed to keep insurance through thick and thin. It was likely that some private insurers would continue to force people to switch plans, and that trend might even accelerate.
It must be convenient to be able to lie about facts as a fact-checking organization, then reverse yourself without fear of consequences. But that’s the Politifact way. We label their rating of the Lie of the Year as Half-True – because it’s only half-true that they weren’t complicit in the lie in the first place.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.