The fact-checking Lie of the Year

Let me point to the lowlight of the bunch, what we might call the “fact-checking” community’s Lie of the Year: when PolitiFact described a blatantly deceptive Obama campaign ad on Mitt Romney’s Medicare reform as “Mostly True.” The ad claimed that the Romney-Ryan plan “could raise future retirees’ costs more than $6,000,” when in fact the Romney-Ryan plan would increase future retiree’s costs by exactly zero, and in fact give them the opportunity to lower their out-of-pocket costs.

These aren’t opinions of mine—they are facts, based on the actual design of the Romney plan. The Romney plan, which was rolled out exactly one year ago today, guaranteed that all future retirees would continue to receive today’s Medicare benefits at no extra cost to them. The plan would open up the delivery of those benefits to a broad range of insurers, who would compete to offer those benefits at the most cost-efficient price. This competitive bidding process would drive Medicare costs down without compromising the care that retirees actually receive. …

PolitiFact acknowledged this discrepancy in its report, but then went on to call the Obama ad “mostly true.” Why? After interviewing one person—a senior fellow at a left-wing think tank, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities—PolitiFact decided that “we simply don’t have enough details to know how much extra money seniors might have to pay under the current Ryan plan.” Furthermore, the Obama campaign “gave itself some wiggle room by stating that the plan ‘could’ raise out-of-pocket costs by more than $6,000. On balance, we rate the statement Mostly True.” Wiggle room?