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Sarah Palin's 'death panel' charge voted biggest lie of 2009

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got a lot of mileage out of her allegation last summer that the healthcare reform bill touted by President Obama and moving through a Democratic Congress sanctioned "death panels" that would choke the life out of the nation's seniors.

In one of her Facebook posts on the issue in August, Palin wrote, "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."

Now, the nonpartisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning Truth-O-Meter run by the St. Petersburg Times, says that Palin's assertion won an online contest as the biggest political lie of the year.

“Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest,” writes the fact-checking site. "The claim set political debate afire."

The “death panels” allegation -- one of the sparks that ignited the tea party movement of angry town hall meetings last summer -- accounted for 61% of about 5,000 votes cast at to determine 2009’s Lie of the Year.

Runners-up included Glenn Beck's claim that Obama science advisor John Holdren favored forced abortions, Orange County dentist Orly Taitz's claim that Obama was born in Kenya, which helped spark the birther movement, and Vice President Joe Biden's claim that swine flu spread because “when one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft.”

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credit: Reuters

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Comments () | Archives (20)

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What do death panels, Obama's birth certificate and Beck's lie du jour have in common? All are right wing myths created to divide and distract. Biden said a silly comment; the others are outright lies.

She's right, of course. It make more sense to determine is people are worthy of treatment based on how much money they have.

Palin was correct with her referencing death camps based on an interpretation of the language in the version of the Healthcare Bill current at the time. The language has since been changed. It's no different than Obama, when called a liar, saying that illegal aliens will not be included in the Healthcare Bill. The next Bill up for in the House is Amnesty. Therefore, there will be no illegal aliens. Everyone with a foot in the U.S. will be covered.

Non partisan ?.....yeah right . The care rationing that is sure to result from this socialist HC legislation will in fact have consequences about the same as
a death pannel.
How about Mary Landrieu who says she cannot be bought after finding her way to vote for the bill,just after receiving
$300,ooo,ooo of hard earned tax $ ? And
sen. Nelson also cannot be bought unless Obama makes him an offer of
$100,000,000 of tax $ that we dont have.
Sarah Palin threw the corrupt good old boys out and sent all tax payers in
her state $1200. instead of spending it on some utopian socialist goverment

that's a most amazing pictue--it looks like a Michael Jackson mask on her face. It's so totally unreal.

You know she really does take herself seriously. She used the word metaphor in her post. That is a pretty big word. I think it (death panels) is used as a para-logical metaphor. How about an example.
Not too long ago she had heard the the word used and asked Todd, “honey, what's a metaphor”? Todd said, “you know darling, a meadow is for cows”.
I like my example linking death panels to LSD blotters. The punch-line : The reason they call it DOPE. Yes friends, Ms. Death Panels is one scary political ride for the conservatives. The TEA Party is riding on the coat-strings of the Republican Party for a little political coup.
Palin leg-humpers think there are no shades of gray between the two but look friends, the parties are two distinct political entities in Florida. Goldwater must be spinning in his grave.
The Birchers have morphed through the years from one Patriot party to another brining us to the TEA party. Forcing the right farther to an extreme. The real party she and right -wingnut media are promoting is the Malcontent party. Something for everyone to relate to. A broad-based bag-balm wanting and whining segment of unhappy campers who really do need a change. When the TEA party incites civil unrest and threatens the bullet box over the ballet box to gain political control, you have to wonder what Lenin would say. I am not speaking of the singer John Lennon, the other one . The one who really thought the French revolution was worthy of being a model for Czarist Russia's future. The Malcontent Movement. We are a republic but the motion of the TEA Party parallels Lenin's coup. National patriotism is not a unique American trait. It was a centerpiece of Lenin's campaign. All I can say is,.... Leg humping is just palin sic.
I need a one-ton tomato, to-ma-to

Only problem is Palin wasn't lying. Right after she reported it, provisions specifically rationing treatment and care based your age with "panels" deciding who got care and who didn't (essentially meaning someone else decided if you lived or died) were removed from the health care bill. Maybe the L.A. Times lack of reporting the facts on this should be the "Biggest Lie of 2009."

As usual the Palin bashers have plenty to say about how stupid she is and ignore the facts. After her comments, overnight the provisions she was refering to in the health care bill presented at the time dissapeared. The bill in fact did have "panels" set up that would decide if you are worth it to treat for your illness. The bill had wording in it that discussed "options" and "counseling" to help you deal with your end of life choices. You hard core libbies are amazing how you let the left wing media lead you by the nose hairs. Blindness must be a libbie quality.


You neglected to mention that even though it was voted the biggest lie, it was also quite true.


I visited 57 states but my staff wouldn't let me visit Alaska or Hawaii. So that's only 57.
--Hussein Obama - 2008

So if the "Death Panel" was a lie why did the Senate remove the language from the bill as reported in—well— the LA Times on August 14, 2009? While doing everything to discredit Palin's statement the politicians were running for the hills. The liars got caught.

"A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing."

Whoa Nelly! An online poll in a liberal ninny rag. I'm whelmed and totally pressed. Looks entirely non-partisan to me...NOT! Liberals, having no moral compass and claiming no moral standards, wouldn't know a lie if one bit them in the bum. Joe Biden isn't so much a liar as just bone stupid.

Oh, and Sarah was right...which I guess to a liberal is a lie. They so hate it when someone points out the idiocy and anti-human aspects of liberalism. Google NHS and N.I.C.E. if you want to see what death panels look like in practice.

Sarah Palin, loves america and respect people, and she's very truthful. The biggest liar is someone who sits in a church 20 years, adopt his preacher as a relative, (Rev. Wright) but claims he never heard him preach hate and damn america.

Now, the biggest lie of 2009 is Barack Obama's promise that his healthcare bill will give all americans health coverage. He knows millions will NOT be covered.

Almost every word that Barack Obama say is surrounded by lies.

Ha! Hey Libs...some advice...keep up the ignorant attacks. Your a conservatives best friend right now! Your handing the GOP a victory day by day with your utterly stupid and elitist agenda. We told the American people what they were getting last year and they didnt listen so now let the experience be a lesson. Now we have evidence to back up our claims of left wing lunacy..

Palin told the biggest whopper? How about Obama swearing to uphold the constitution? He also said he would have the most transparent government, meanwhile they changed the locks so Repubs couldn't get into some meetings and Pelosi and Reid behind closed doors will merge the two bills.

Dear L.A. Times,
I am sorry for you that so many of your online commenters are frightened and stupid.

Obama is not a lier!his campaign did exactly what it said it would do and that is "change" from a demogracy to socialism.

Donald Berwick is now the guy in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. Donald Berwick said this: "I am a romantic about the [British] National Heath Service. I love it!" The British system that he is praising uses end-of-life death pathways, which withhold expensive treatment in favor of morphine and hand-holding. Physicians have charged that this leads to premature death for many British citizens. During the debate on the health-care takeover bill, Obama ridiculed those who tried to warn us about rationing, and Sarah Palin, who used the term "death panels." Now that his administration has admitted that rationing IS part of the plan, at the very least he owes Palin an apology; she was absolutely correct.

John Holdren was actually an advocate of forced abortions for population control. He wrote about it in one of his books. Look it up, and stop censoring the facts.

I like how this piece attempts to APPEAR objective by including a Democrat in this list of liars. What Joe Biden said, though, is not a lie; he's just not bright enough to know he's incorrect.

Shame on two fronts.

First, that Palin and Beck are so ethically bankrupt that they'll stoop to any level to enrich themselves and the corporations that have co-opted the neocons against the American people.

Second, that so many Americans are so uniformed that they believe their drivel, thus undermining any kind of reasoned debate.

It's time for us thinking conversatives who put the country first to take back the right and the Republican party. Turn off Fox, tune out Rush, and think for yourselves.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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