The PJ Tatler

Politifact Misses the Lie of the Year

Always frustrating and frequently hackish PolitiFact has dubbed something Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail as its “Lie of the Year.” The LOTY is, supposedly, Romney’s line that Jeep is moving some US jobs to China.


Not for the first time, PolitiFact is just wrong.

Surely Obama’s various lies after the attack in Benghazi, such as blaming it on a movie, are larger lies than a Romney line about Jeep? No?

No one died in the Jeep story. The United States did not excuse terrorism and assault our free speech rights in the Jeep story. No scapegoat sits in jail due to the Jeep story.

Obama lied about how four Americans lost their lives, repeatedly and with enthusiasm. He sent his ambassador and Secretary of State out to lie. His spokesman lied. They all lied. It was one, huge, and obvious lie that has not been fully exposed to this day.

Not bigger, PolitiFact, than one Romney line? Really?

But there may be a bigger lie out there, bigger in the sense that it has been going on longer and includes even more liars. If there is to be a “Lie of the Year,” it has to begin with NBC’s edit of the George Zimmerman 911 call.

I know, PolitiFact will respond that it only rates things politicians say. But NBC’s edit was blatantly political and it created a very political story. It also fell in line with other political coverage offered by that network.

NBC took the 911 call made by George Zimmerman regarding a suspicious but unidentified figure walking in the rain and appearing to be casing the area, and and intentionally deceptively edited it. All it took was editing this:

Zimmerman: We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. It’s Retreat View Circle. The best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle.

This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about. [00:25]

911 dispatcher: OK, is he White, Black, or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

911 dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman: Yeah, a dark hoodie like a gray hoodie. He wore jeans or sweat pants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now … he’s just staring. [00:42]

911 dispatcher: He’s just walking around the area, the houses? OK.

Zimmerman: Now he’s staring at me. [00:48]


So that, on its national broadcasts, Zimmerman said this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.

Where there was no racial angle, NBC created one. The tragic death of a black teenager became a national racial controversy. The New York Times tried an assist by dubbing Zimmerman “white Hispanic” when, despite the sound of his name, he turned out to be Hispanic. NBC aired that truncated version of the call multiple times and posted that same version on its websites.

Once caught in its compound lie, NBC called it an “error” and then claimed that it had fired one producer, then a second, who had been involved. But it never named those producers or explained how their “error” had happened. NBC never explained how that “error” got by so many other editors and producers at the local and national TV level, and on its website.

Just a few weeks later, MSNBC would pull a similar stunt when Andrea Mitchell aired a deceptively edited clip of Mitt Romney that made him appear to be out-of-touch. No producers were fired in the wake of that lie’s exposure. Mitchell would eventually add to the first lie and blame the original lie on the “constraints” of 24-hour cable news. Think about that. The constraints. Of a news network that airs a product it calls “news” 24 hours a day.

As if that wasn’t enough, NBC’s Bob Costas was involved in another editing “error,” in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.


In order for PolitiFact to call out NBC’s lies as the Lie of the Year, though, PolitiFact would have to had to rate them as lies before. It hasn’t done that.

So we have a trio of lies that expose a larger lie; namely, that NBC News actually reports news. It doesn’t. Across its broadcast network, cable network and websites, NBC manufactures lies and reports them as news.

That’s kind of a big lie, no?



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