PolitiFact’s Whopper for 2010: ‘Government Takeover of Healthcare’
December 17, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)–For the second year in a row, a Republican lie about health care reform was awarded the dubious honor of “PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year.” Last year’s big lie was Sarah Palin’s “death panels” nonsense. This year PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times that sifts through the political muck to uncover the truth, found that the biggest pants-on-fire lie for 2010, is the oft-repeated GOP falsehood: “A government takeover of health care.” There is no government takeover of our health care system, in any sense of the word. In fact, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is based on free market principles with an individual mandate, once advocated by conservatives before they became so unhinged they move to the right of the John Birch Society. It goes to show how a catchy Frank Luntz slogan and a relentless GOP Fox News driven propaganda operation can mislead the American public, with the help of the mainstream media.
“PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.”
“It’s true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.”
You might ask, how can politicians get away with repeating a bold-faced lie over and over again, ad nauseam? Surely our crack mainstream media professionals would call them out on it? Yeah, right! And that’s the problem. Republicans know they can spew falsehoods with impunity and not suffer any consequences.
“The phrase proliferated in the media even after Democrats dropped the public option. In 2010 alone, “government takeover” was mentioned 28 times in the Washington Post, 77 times in Politico and 79 times on CNN. A review of TV transcripts showed “government takeover” was primarily used as a catchy sound bite, not for discussions of policy details.”
“In most transcripts we examined, Republican leaders used the phrase without being challenged by interviewers. For example, during Boehner’s Jan. 31 appearance on Meet the Press, Boehner said it five times. But not once was he challenged about it.”
“In rare cases when the point was questioned, the GOP leader would recite various regulations found in the bill and insist that they constituted a takeover. But such followups were rare.”
So, there you have it. Without credible news outlets that bother to look behind Frank Luntz talking points, we will continue to be besieged with lies and propaganda. And the consequences are severe–a dumbed-down, low information electorate that clings to partisan ideology, fed to them in catchy false slogans, instead of the truth.
In other words, we’re all f**ked!