Lawrence O'Donnell: Sarah 'Palinocchio' Wins 'Lie of the Year'
It was a metaphysical certitude the most biased television news network on the planet would be giddy with Politifact's announcement that Sarah Palin's "death panel" remark won the website's dubious honor of "Lie of the Year."
And MSNBC sure didn't disappoint.
On Monday's "Countdown," fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell took on the issue by immediately labeling the object of his disaffection "Palinocchio" complete with a picture of the former Alaska governor sporting a large nose.
Even less surprising was how O'Donnell, despite claiming the runner-up list was bipartisan, didn't mention that President Obama was on it (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Two words turned the health care debate on its head this summer. Now those words have earned their rightful place in history. Our number two story on the COUNTDOWN, and the lie of the year goes to Sarah Palin`s unforgettable phrase: "death panel."
"Politi-Fact, the truth squadding website of the "St. Petersburg Times" naming Sarah Palin`s death panel whopper the lie of the year. Palin posted the myth about government-run end of life care on Facebook back in August. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with down`s syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama`s death panel, so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgement of their level of productivity in society, whether they are worthy of health care."
One problem; none of the reform bills included the kind of rationed care Palin warned of.
Stop the tape!
If this was such a lie, why did the Senate almost immediately drop end-of-life provisions in its bill on August 13 as reported by the Boston Globe:
A plan to provide hospice counseling and other end-of-life advice to patients and their families is being dropped by US Senate health care negotiators after critics charged that it would lead to the formation of federal "death panels,'' a key GOP senator said yesterday.
Taking this further, if heathcare reform is unfortunately passed, and care does indeed end up getting rationed in much the same way Palin predicted, wouldn't her statement be true?
Sadly, the Palin haters in the media refuse to consider this possibility:
O'DONNELL: The death panel lie beat a slew of other tall tales. Runners up included birther queen Orly Taitz claiming she found a birth certificate proving President Obama was born in Kenya, Congressman Joe Wilson shouting "you lie" in response to the president`s assertion that health care reform would not insure illegal immigrants, and Glenn Beck claiming Obama`s top science advisor has proposed forcing abortions, and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population.
But it was Palin`s death panel lie that really stuck. Politi-Fact reporting that the term was mentioned in news reports 6,000 times in August and September. Playing his part, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa -- he took the death panel meme and turned it up to 11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We should not have a government program that determines if you`re going to pull the plug on grandma.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Time now to call in Margaret Carlson, political columnist with "Bloomberg News" and the Washington editor of "The Week" magazine. Good evening, Margaret.
MARGARET CARLSON, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Hello, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Margaret, how does Sarah Palin manage to spin her way out of this one? Being associated with the lie of the year is normally a problem for any politician`s resume, isn`t it?
CARLSON: Well, there were so many lies this year, and so little time on the show to do them all justice. But here`s how she tried: she tried when her book was coming out -- which by the way had its own series of falsehoods -- to say that she was like Ronald Reagan in using death panels, because he used the term "evil empire" and it was nowhere on the map. Therefore, her use of death panels was not a real lie, and she used it in the same context as her beloved Ronald Reagan.
I don`t know that anyone really believed it, but that`s what she tried to do. You know, the other lies you mentioned didn`t quite get the grip on a political discussion that this one did, with like 40 percent of Republicans at one time thinking there were death panels.
O`DONNELL: Now, what about Palin`s fans? I mean, don`t they believe this death panel thing? And how -- or does this -- will this suddenly convince them that Sarah Palin was lying about death panels?
CARLSON: No. Her fans believe whatever she says. And they never give up on it. It`s like that saying where a lie gets around the world before the truth catches up. That little asterisk that she put beside death panels, I don`t believe caught up with anybody, nor was it a full blown apology for it.
We live in a time when, you know, politicians are not just entitled to their own opinions. They`re entitled to their own facts. And we live in this world. It`s one reason why there was so much confusion about the health care bill, which, granted, was a huge pile of amendments.
O`DONNELL: Careful, Margaret, careful.
CARLSON: -- and earmarks. I know. Thank you, Lawrence. In the Christmas spirit, you helped me out there. But we were all confused. And so the idea that you want to add confusion, as a public figure, it`s unconscionable in the end. Bob Dole never did that. You know, even Everett Dirksen, who was very partisan, didn`t do that. Republicans of old didn`t do it.
O`DONNELL: We mentioned some of the runners up on the list. It`s a bipartisan list. It includes Joe Biden for saying when one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. Joe Biden is always very quick to correct these kinds of stretches in his comments. But with Sarah Palin, it seems that loving her means she never has to say she`s sorry.
Hmmm. Notice O'Donnell didn't mention that Obama was also on this list? Nor did he or Carlson discuss the numerous whoppers Biden and Obama made this year that could have been:
CARLSON: Yeah. You know, Joe Biden did a public service in that we all started doing the Count Dracula cough, with our capes drawn up around our faces. He also said, don`t get on Amtrak. But he took -- you know, he sort of amended that, so that we did get on Amtrak.
Sarah Palin is Teflon when it comes to her base, which you can see by the sales of her book, which I think are over five million now. They are ardent. They will put down their 25 dollars. There is nothing she can do, and no amount of catching up with what she says on the part of media or her political opponents that`s going to change that.
O`DONNELL: Margaret Carlson of "Bloomberg News" and "The Week" magazine, thanks for your time tonight.
CARLSON: Thanks, Lawrence.
In the end, it was just another Palin bash in a series of Palin bashes from this despicable network.
General Electric should be so proud.
On the other hand, maybe that's why the corporation is trying to sell 51% of its stake in NBC to Comcast.