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Readers had no shortage of significant falsehoods to pick from for the 2021 Lie of the Year, but a large majority agreed that one stood out above all the others: Donald Trump’s claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.
The lie easily outpaced all the other choices with a whopping 74.9% of votes cast. This year, 2,242 readers took part in the reader poll.
In the 2020 election, all 50 states and the District of Columbia certified their election results. Joe Biden won the contest with 306 electoral votes, to Trump’s 232. Biden also won the popular vote by about 7 million votes. PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim, made as he spoke to his supporters on Jan. 6, Pants on Fire.
Election officials in every state said there was no significant sign of voter fraud. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the election was "the most secure in American history." And Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said the Justice Department saw no evidence of voter fraud.
Coming in second place with 8.9% of votes was a claim from U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga.: "If you didn't know the TV footage was from Jan. 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit." PolitiFact rated that Pants on Fire.
That was a version of what PolitiFact picked for the Lie of the Year: lies about the Jan. 6 insurrection and its significance. The insurrection was motivated by Trump’s repeated claims that he won the election.
In third place, with 5.3% of votes, was a Pants on Fire claim about COVID-19: that the COVID-19 vaccines cause mass death. In reality, the vaccines have thus far been safe and effective.
Here are complete results of the Readers’ Choice poll.
1. Donald Trump - "We won. We won in a landslide. This was a landslide." Pants on Fire.
2. U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga. - "If you didn't know the TV footage was from Jan. 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit." Pants on Fire.
3. Bloggers - "Millions have died from COVID injections." Pants on Fire.
4. Donald Trump - Says Biden "didn’t win in Arizona. He lost in Arizona based on the forensic audit." Pants on Fire. "In 2020 we won (Wisconsin)." Pants on Fire. Georgia didn’t update its voter rolls prior to the 2020 presidential election; "this means we (you!) won the presidential election in Georgia." Pants on Fire.
5. Tucker Carlson - "Unbeknownst to most people, the Green New Deal came to Texas; the power grid in the state became totally reliant on windmills." Pants on Fire.
6. Instagram posts - A video shows an animal chip scanner detecting a microchip where a woman was vaccinated. Pants on Fire.
7. Joe Biden - Al-Qaida is "gone" from Afghanistan. False.
8. Joe Biden - "The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own." False.
9. Fox News Channel - Biden's climate requirements will "cut 90% of red meat from diet" to a "max 4 lbs per year" and "one burger per month." Pants on Fire.
10. Write-in votes
More Lie of the Year: