What We’re Up Against

Ordinarily, you’d think that an upstart journalistic enterprise calling itself PolitiFact emerging in this era of Cokie’s Law, where whatever utter claptrap some politicians coughed up would nonetheless become widely believed despite its jaw-dropping falsity, would be a good thing.  And sometimes it is, especially when it eviscerates serial liars like, well, all the Republicans.  But, of course, doing its job on a daily basis would tend to make PolitiFact seem “biased” (righty Esperanto for “reality based”), especially if its aspirations are to be carried daily in papers named “Bee” or “Gazette,” deep in the Fox-saturated Heartland.  Thus, they must dig deep, parse words, and generally make asses of themselves to occasionally “prove” that Democrats lie, too.

Today’s example from The Oregonian is typical.  Vice President Joe Biden, in a Labor Day speech, declared that Republicans want to end Medicare, which or course they do, and all voted to do so just a few months ago.  The Ryan plan Biden quite specifically referenced would, for nakedly political purposes, exempt those Fox watchers 55 and over, so the VP did helpfully (and honestly) add, “in ten years.” Still, this wasn’t enough of a qualifier for Politifact.  The fact that Medicare is, by definition, a single payer, low overhead system of the sort enjoyed in the rest of the civilized world, while Ryan’s plan is more of the same waste-ridden, corrupt and ineffective thing we’ve got that costs twice as much with worse results, is never mentioned.  Worse, PolitiFact mendaciously adds, either out of ignorance or malice, that payouts under Ryan’s plan would “increase over time.”  Which they technically would, but, crucially, at the rate of general inflation, not at the rather more exponential rate of health care inflation, rendering a successful, universal, and guaranteed program a useless, probably means-tested, drop in the bucket in just a few decades.  It’s a Frank Luntz lie, and a well-crafted one, that calling something “Medicare” when it’s transparently no such thing, is OK as long as you’re still calling mailing out that same check to seniors to cover ever-rising premiums from the bloated, cutthroat insurance industry “Medicare.”  Given that logic, a rusting, stripped 1973 El Camino sitting on blocks outside a trailer, and a shiny late model Toyota Camry are both “cars,” to PolitiFact at least, so anybody who begs to differ must therefore be lying.  Behold:

Our ruling: (Which will be quite different from that of a sentient human)

Biden says Ryan’s plan “eliminates Medicare” in 10 years. In stating it that way in front of campaign donors, he strays from the “as we know it” qualifier even the president has used.

The bottom line is that all seniors would continue to be offered coverage under the proposal, and the program’s budget would increase every year. The plan would reduce the growth in Medicare spending but not wipe out that spending. And current beneficiaries and those currently 55 and over would not be affected by the changes. It changes Medicare, dramatically, but does not eliminate it.

We rate Biden’s statement False.

Really?  Would that David Gregory or any other addlepated Villager would hold, say, Dick Cheney, to such an exacting standard of truth, and do so with such gusto.  Their whole argument is pure bullshit, and yet they’re sticking to it against all evidence and repeated statements by virtually all of the leading, teabagging Republicans, most of whom have relatively openly advocated abolishing the program entirely.  It’s as though the incessant moving of Overton’s Window that has been gradually accomplished by the far right through just this subterfuge  in recent years has completely passed these intrepid fact-finders by; had they a pulse they would know that Republicans have been gunning for Medicare since its inception and it’s clear that they’re finally moving in for the kill.  Anything that dares to call itself PolitiFact should be rightly embarrassed, and laughed out of town, when the Republicans inevitably do abolish Medicare, but they won’t be, you can bet.  After all, no one could have predicted….



  1. avelna says:

    And, of course, Obama and company are going to be right there to help them destroy it in their own unique fashion, but PolitiFact will undoubtedly lie about that too.