Accuracy in Media

Back in November as Sarah Palin began her book tour for “Going Rogue,” Megan McCardle of The Atlantic coined a new term for Palin hatred: Palinoia. “It’s when you think people are out to get you, and then they do their best to justify your erroneous belief,” McCardle wrote.

The latest manifestation of the disease surfaced Friday, when PolitiFact’s predictably liberal audience picked Palin’s infamous quote about “death panels” as the “Lie of the Year.” PolitiFact gave Palin’s critique of Democrats’ health-care plan its strongest “Pants on Fire” slam when she made it on her Facebook page in August, and 61 percent of the nearly 5,000 people who voted in PolitiFact’s poll agreed with the editors that it was the worst of 2009. (Politico also gave the quote top billing in its roundup of quotes of the year.)

“No other finalist in the field of eight statements came close,” PolitiFact crowed when reporting the poll results. CNN also was noticeably gleeful when reporting the news Sunday:

That coverage prompted Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters to ask rhetorically, “If President Obama or any Democrat had actually won the dubious honor of committing PolitiFact’s ‘Lie of the Year,’ do you think CNN would have reported it?” He added that “PolitiFact has a very hard time hiding its liberal bias” and noted that the “Pants on Fire” rating is predominantly given to conservatives. “Looking at how PolitiFact considers lies,” Sheppard said, “it appears they’re always hoping the offenders are right-wingers.”

The selection of the candidates for the site’s first “Lie of the Year” poll certainly lends credence to that conclusion. In a year where President Obama has broken promise after promise, including the recurring whopper that he would negotiate health-care legislation on C-SPAN for the American people to see, PolitiFact did its best to stack the deck against conservatives.

But the vote for Palin’s quote about death panels is fitting in a sense. Palinoia ruled the news much of this year, and now the liberal media elite and their readers have made their obsession official.

UPDATE: Add Roll Call to the list of publications afflicted with Palinoia. Desperate to be one of the media cool kids, it took this year-end potshot at Palin: “Like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s much-anticipated book, ‘Going Rogue,’ the tale of balloon boy riveted the nation and ate up plenty of cable TV time. But we watched to find out the fate of the kid thought to be trapped in a science experiment gone awry (and we dutifully read the Palin tome), and reached the same conclusion: There wasn’t much inside.”

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