The Worst Lies Of 2011

Jonathan Alter shares the four most damaging lies of 2011 in his column, “Lies, Damn Lies And The Four Whoppers Of 2011:”

“Have It Your Way,” the Burger King slogan goes. And most politicians do, twisting words to fit their interests. But sometimes they go beyond french-frying facts to serving whoppers.

Two reputable nonpartisan organizations, FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, have helped to keep everyone honest in the holiday season by pointing out “death panels” (Sarah Palin) and Obamacare as a “government takeover” (Frank Luntz) as the top lies of recent years.

In 2011, Mitt Romney claimed that President Barack Obama “went around the world and apologized for America,” Obama claimed that his administration’s review of obsolete regulations was “unprecedented,” and Michele Bachmann claimed that the vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus can “cause mental retardation.”

These and other contenders for this year’s Lie of the Year title are worth cataloguing, but let’s remember that not all big fat ones inflict equal damage on our politics. I’m more concerned with what bloggers call “memes,” which are ideas — or in this case, lies — that may not be attributable to an individual, but penetrate our consciousness through repetition and are soon assumed to be true. My Four Fat Ones are:

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