The Big Lie…

The ‘big lie’ is defined as a gross distortion of the facts, especially when used as a propaganda device by a politician or official body.  Examples of the big lie theory in action might include statements our President and other high-ranking officials made when telling us that ObamaCare would let us keep our doctors.  If repeated with gusto often enough, we begin to accept the ‘big lie’ as truth.

We witnessed the ‘big lie’ about ObamaCare.  We are living the ‘big lie’ about ObamaCare.

It is unfortunate, but true, that we cannot believe without question that politicians always tell us the truth.  We can rely on some politicians to obfuscate with a little bit of truth to make the medicine taste better as they force us to swallow it “for our own good”. ObamaCare is among the all-time great ‘big lies’.  It was an intentional distortion to make the medicine go down more easily ; it is a current perfect example of a big lie.  And it threatens the entire health care delivery system.

Couple this with newspaper columns such as Politifact that purport to go through political statements and assess the degrees of truthfulness involved in various political offerings, and we often feel that is enough of a ‘fact’ check to make this or that gospel.  That is sometimes true, but not always.  There is a perfect example of the ‘not always’ in the morning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and probably in many other national newspapers since PolitiFact is a national network, although this has a distinct Wisconsin flavor about it.

The current example looks at a couple of entities that are related to former Senator Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin.  Feingold was beaten in 2010 by Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin businessman, who was a conservative who decided he would run for office.  Feingold had held that seat for three terms, 18 years.  Feingold brags that his was the deciding vote for ObamaCare.  Feingold lost to Johnson.

Following his loss, Feingold set up Progressives United Political Action Committee (PAC) and Progressives United Inc., a non-profit organization.  The stated goal was for these entities to stand up to corporate influence in politics.  A noble undertaking in the minds of some.  Sen. Johnson (R) has accused Feingold of using these organizations as a soft landing site for his former staffers so that he could keep his hand in politics waiting for the time when he could try to make a come-back.  Feingold, of course, denies the accusations.

Enter Politifact Wisconsin.  Its 35 column inch (+ or -) rebuttal to Johnson’s accusation is sort of condemning but tries to soft-pedal its findings enough to avoid angering Feingold since he is a Democrat.  It basically said the accusations of Senator Johnson were well-founded, BUT that Feingold’s intentions when he formed the groups were ‘muddier’ than Johnson has implied.  Sort of a “yeah, you’re right but…” rebuttal to Johnson’s claim. This wishy-washy PolitiFact finding gives each person a place to hang his hat.  Johnson can still make his claims and Feingold can say PolitiFact found to the contrary.  Most people will not have seen the article, so they will remain loyal to whomever of the two they were loyal to at the beginning of the discussion.

The printed response from PolitiFact Wisconsin follows (so you can make your own decision):

“A Wisconsin GOP radio ad said Progressives United paid Feingold and his staffers millions of dollars and was formed by Feingold to do just that.

IRS and election filings show the payroll did indeed top $2 million between Progressives United PAC and nonprofit.  But there’s no smoking gun to show the group was formed for the purpose of paying and warehousing staff until the next campaign.

Yes, records show the vast majority of money raised by Progressives United went to salaries and overhead – far more than the group itself projected.  And yes, there is significant overlap between Feingold’s campaign staff and the leaders of Progressives United.

But the ad didn’t allege Progressives United was inefficient or populated with Feingold confidants – it said it was formed “to pay” those staffers millions.  And there is no proof of that.

We rate the claim Half True.”

This is a perfect example of just why we cannot trust what we see printed in the media since it is usually based on the liberals’ perspective given their control of the bulk of media outlets.

Always beware of the big lie; it is insidious for those who simply scan an article or see a piece shown on television and ASSUME it is true.  The word  ‘assume’ has been describing as sometimes making a rear-end out of you and me.  This was Politifact’s attempt at papering over an accurate representation that takes on the ‘big lie’ appearance.


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