Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker,” came out with his list of the ten worst “Pinocchios” of the year (Kessler rates lies from one little growing-nosed puppet to four.) The Post’s version of this kind of column is fairer than most (The fairest and least tarnished by bias is FactCheck.org, by a mile. Its list of worst lies is here.), and I don’t want to quibble with him too much, but it is clear to me that the top ten was rigged not to embarrass the President and his administration more than it already does.
The list gives Obama’s infamous pledge about Obamacare letting everyone keep the plan and doctors they want the #1 slot, which was unavoidable and most deserved. (Want to know how a really left-biased source handles the same statement? When Dick Chaney stated in an interview that this was a lie, the Daily Beast’s headline was “It takes one to know one..”) Obama also was rewarded two more top lies on the list, relating to the sequester and Benghazi, giving him the year’s championship and a total of three, but some of his statements in the post-Newtown gun control push were equally dishonest, and this one absolutely deserved a place:
“Now, if you had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”
…which is what he told supporters of Organizing for Action was what he should have said for three and a half years, but represented the statement as what he had been saying it all along. A video is here.
Then there is John Kerry (he has one big lie on the list already), who Kessler’s employers at the Post flagged for saying this about the mess in Egypt:
“The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence. And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.”
“It is one thing to be cautious and avoid using the word “coup,” said the Post in an editorial, “which could trigger a cutoff of Egypt’s $1.5 billion annual U.S. aid package. But it is quite another to assert that Egypt’s military is “restoring democracy” when it has just removed an elected president from power.” Yes, and that other thing is “a gigantic lie.”
But Kessler couldn’t bring himself to objectively stock his top ten with five serious lies by the President of the United States and his Secretary of State (and who knows what nonsense Joe Biden came up with during the year, though I think Kessler was prudent to ignore him, as the rest of us do), so he dredged up lies by Jeb Bush (who pays attention to what Jeb Bush says? ), Michele Bachman ( who can’t tell fact from fiction, and is really in the Biden category), and a campaign attack from Virginia’s governor-elect Terry McAuliffe that even Virginians (like me) don’t remember. The Fact Checker also apparently didn’t bother to enter Jay Carney in the competition, though he more or less lies every day as matter of course. Surely some of Carney’s whoppers would qualify for listing in any fair “Top Ten” list; for example, this one, denying that Susan Rice did what the videotape shows she did:
“When Susan Rice spoke about Benghazi on Sunday news shows, she said “that al-Qaida might be involved, or other al-Qaida affiliates might be involved, or non-al-Qaida Libyan extremists, which I think demonstrates that there was no effort to play that down.”
If Kessler is going to do a list about lying, he should do it honestly and let the chips fall where they may. That is called integrity. This list had a 5-5 Democrat-Republican balance: I think that was rigged, because the Post didn’t want either party to make the list into a partisan weapon. Well, the truth should be a partisan weapon. The Obama Administration lied a lot this year. Even with Kessler’s manipulation, his list reflects that, but the list still tries to mitigate the damage. That shouldn’t be his concern.