Mailbag: Lie of the Year edition
In a survey last week, PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly selected "death panels" for
our inaugural Lie of the Year award
, giving it 60.9 percent of the vote. A much smaller percentage -- 2.3 percent -- offered some interesting and amusing comments when they chose "other" for the survey.
The poll required readers to vote for one of the eight finalists; they could also write whatever they liked in the "other" field. We had intended for "other" to be its own unique vote, but we didn't set up the survey quite right. And the software wouldn't allow us to make changes once the voting started.
A few respondents complained about being "forced" to vote for one of the pre-selected finalists. Others took the "other" space as an opportunity to comment on their vote, their feelings about Fox News or their belief that we are a bunch of "libs." Here's a sampling of "other."
Hard to pick just one
The most frequent comment we got was that readers found it difficult to select just one "Lie of the Year."
"I wish I could vote for three, I would vote for Glenn Beck and Joe Wilson as well."
"Really all of them are worthy of a vote!"
"Joe Wilson was very bad also but I only have one vote."
"Can't I vote for more than one??"
Even though the survey was about the Lie of the Year, we got a large number of responses from people who were angry about President Obama's campaign promises that they considered broken. Technically, Obama's campaign promises were made in 2008. If you're interested in ratings of Obama's promises, check out our Obameter , where we monitor Obama's campaign promises for fulfillment.
Readers felt Obama had not kept his promises on the following issues:
"If you earn less than $250,000 per year, you will pay no additional taxes - Obama"
"Barack Obama - 'Guantanamo to close within one year of signing of an executive order.'"
"Promised transparency??? quote Obama -- He lied."
"Change you can believe in"
Other Truth-O-Meter items
We also got a handful of nominations for Truth-O-Meter items we've published that we didn't include on the list of finalists.
Three readers suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement, "We were not, I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used," which we rated False.
We also got three votes for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's statement that he " didn't endorse " the federal stimulus bill. We rated that Pants on Fire.
Anything someone says?
Some readers claimed that a specific person or party lies all the time. That sounds like an exaggeration to us; even a broken clock is right twice a day. But here's a sampling from that vein:
"Anything that comes out of Obama's mouth"
"anything a republikan says!"
"everything that comes from Pelosi's mouth"
"Barack Obama ... simply ... lies"
"Anything out of Sarah Palin's mouth is a lie."
"Anything said on Fox Noise or when a publican's mouth is moving"
"anything to do with Obama care"
"Anything out of Cheney's mouth"
Shooting the messenger
A few readers took the opportunity to let us know how they feel about PolitiFact. They weren't particularly positive.
"6 of 8 choices are SO pro-Obama. Nice balance libs!"
"All the wingnuts will vote for Obama's 'lie' whereas you offer a multitude of right-wing lies which will split the vote. You've incorporated a fallacy which will insure that our President looks like a liar."
"I don't understand the list. Some of these are true statements."
"Your biased list is the lie of the year."
The Lie of the Year is that "Politifact is non-partisan"
"How did Joe Biden's remark even make this list? There were a host of flu-related lies told that completely trumps this."
Then there were the comments or suggested lies that made us laugh or scratch our heads (and we got one compliment!):
"Governor Mark Sanford's 'camping trip' to Argentina"
"When Osama said he was born on krypton. when he was in fact born in kenya. he lied!!!!!!"
"TIGER WOODS' DOUBLE LIFE"
"close second balloon boy"
"1979-11-23" [We're not sure the significance of that date. If you know, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
"i love this site. i use it often to debate people"