December 20, 2011 by David K. Sutton
The Effects Of False Equivalence and Media Bias Charges
This story is a follow-up to The Left Call story from earlier today – The Left-Right False Equivalence Media Failure. Today PolitiFact – a site I usually trust for unbiased, untainted facts – gave me a reason to suspect they are part of the failure of the media that I called out in my story from earlier today. I believe PolitiFact naming ‘Republicans voted to end Medicare’ as Lie of the Year 2011 illustrates false equivalence and the media’s overreaction to charges of liberal bias.
I think PolitiFact can’t help but be influenced by charges of liberal bias in the media. While I agree that technically speaking Republicans did not vote to end Medicare in name, you can only conclude by looking at the details of the Ryan plan that they did indeed vote to effectively end Medicare as we have known it for almost 50 years. Medicare would turn into a government-funded voucher program to buy private (many times for-profit) health care insurance. This funding would not be tied to an index that tracks increases in health care costs and therefore much of the savings from the Ryan plan are due to seniors paying more out-of-pocket as health care costs outpace what they receive from ‘Medicare’.
As for the false equivalence aspect of PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year all you have to do is look at some of the whoppers that they have covered this year. Lies from the Right like:
- The economic stimulus created “zero jobs.” — The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other Republicans
- Abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”- Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
- Scientists are “questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. … (It is) more and more being put into question.” — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry
- The vaccine to prevent HPV can cause mental retardation. — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann
- President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.” — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
These are just some examples taken directly from PolitiFact’s website. None of these are bigger lies than ‘Republicans voted to end Medicare’?