Politifact Punk’d Real Hard

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It’s always sad to see a factchecking out get punk’d. Especially this badly. If you’re a long-time reader you’re familiar with the GOP word game bamboozlement surrounding the ‘privatization’ of Social Security. For about twenty or more years, up until 2002 or, Republicans favored way of describing their plan for Social Security was ‘privatization’. After 2002, the public turned so hard against privatization that Republicans started casting about for different language to use to describe it.

They’d almost got there by the time President Bush pushed for privatization in 2004 and 2005. But they were basically using different vocabularies at different points. One of the more comedic aspects of the Bush Social Security privatization saga was Republicans complaining to Democrats and to members of the press that ‘privatization’ was an anti-Republican or biased phrasing when those same Republicans had been championing ‘privatization’ only a few months before. It made for some very funny moments.

The preferred words were ‘personalization’ instead of ‘privatization’ or ‘personal accounts’ instead of ‘private accounts’. The whole thing got very silly. And while a lot of journos fell for it, most eventually got wise to the privatizers’ word games. But it looks like Politifact, even while acknowledging the word games, still somehow seems to be falling for them. Very sad.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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