Pulitzer Prize-winning political fact-checking project PolitiFact has announced their first-ever Lie of the Year: Death panels. Though right-wing nut job Betsy McCaughey proffered the notion everywhere she could, Sarah Palin, with 61% of the vote, earns the dishonor of having coined the phrase and made it a household fear. The first documented use of 'death panels' was on Palin's Facebook page in the wake of her resignation as governor of Alaska.
Palin wrote: "As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we're saying not just no, but hell no! The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's ‘death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
From PolitiFact.com, here are the runners-up:
• With 12.3 percent of the vote, a claim by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck that John Holdren, President Barack Obama's top science adviser, "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population."
• With 8.7 percent of the vote, a claim by Orly Taitz that a birth certificate showed that President Obama was born in Kenya.
• With 7.1 percent of the vote, President Obama's statement that "preventive care saves money." Rounding out the rest of the finalists:
• 5.8 percent: The shout of "You lie!" by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., in response to President Obama saying health reform would not insure illegal immigrants.
• 3.2 percent: The claim that Page 92 of the House health care bill "says specifically that people can’t purchase private health insurance after a date certain," said by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
• 1.7 percent: The claim that "When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft," said by Vice President Joe Biden, when fears of swine flu were prevalent.
• 0.5 percent: The claim that an amendment to the House health reform bill "puts new restrictions on women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market even when they would pay premiums with their own money," said by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.