BOSTON (CBS) – Each year at this time, Politifact, the Pulitzer-prize winning fact-checking website, chooses a “lie of the year.”
Past “winners” include exaggerations about the Ebola virus in 2014, and President Obama’s 2013 claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
And after polling their readers, the editors of Politifact have chosen President Trump’s repeated assertion that Russian meddling in our political process is a “made-up story” and a “hoax.”
The website gave these claims a rating of “pants on fire” when Mr. Trump first made them, and they say it deserves “lie of the year” status because “when the commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem.”
Keep in mind, Politifact isn’t quarreling with the president’s denial that Russian interference tipped the election to him or that he colluded with the Russians in their meddling. They note there is still no hard evidence of either claim.
But it’s his refusal to accept what the intelligence community, lawmakers of both parties, and the tech community accept – that the Russians did try to interfere, that troubles not just Politifact, but also former NATO ambassador Nicholas Burns.
“I’ve worked for both parties. It’s inconceivable to me that any of President Trump’s predecessors would deny the gravity of such an open attack on our democratic system,” Burns said recently.
There is no good reason for the president to do that. It arouses far more suspicion than it dispels.
But he did do it, and continues to.