Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Politifact has posted PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care':
PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November elections.
Readers of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' independent fact-checking website, also chose it as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin. (Their second-place choice was Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India, a falsity that still sprouts.)
By selecting "government takeover' as Lie of the Year, PolitiFact is not making a judgment on whether the health care law is good policy.
The phrase is simply not true.
Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: "The label 'government takeover" has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a 'takeover.'
The detailed post at PolitiFact is worth the read.
The broader question raised here is "how often did the media echo this lie?" in its news coverage of the healthcare debate. Politicians, pundits, columnists, commentators, news reporters and even letters to the editor were permitted to use this phrase without any fact checking or disclaimer of its falsity. Most reporters never even challenged an individual asserting this false claim. They simply reported what was said like a good stenographer.
When the mainstream media fails to do its job, it is how right-wing media narratives by the likes of Frank Luntz get embedded into the public consciousness. Frank relies upon a lazy media failing to do its job. Lucky for him, it's almost a sure thing.
And this lie had devastating political consequences. Yet another epic media fail.