PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" goes to Donald Trump

This is the third year in a row that either Trump, or something spread by Trump, has won the "top" prize

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 12, 2017 10:06AM (EST)

 (AP/Evan Vucci)
(AP/Evan Vucci)

For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump has told a whopper so big that it won PolitiFact's Lie of the Year.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning site bestowed that ignominious distinction on Trump in 2017 because of his repeated claim that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is a "made up story," according to PolitiFact. It's also a claim that Trump has continued to push.

PolitiFact offered a scathing condemnation of Trump's repeated insistence that there is nothing to the Russian meddling stories.

"When the nation’s commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. For this reason, we name Trump’s claim that the Russia interference is a hoax as our Lie of the Year for 2017," PolitiFact wrote.

It added, "Readers of PolitiFact also chose the claim as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin."

The Lie of the Year winner in 2016, though not solely about Trump, was certainly exacerbated by him — fake news.

"Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word," PolitiFact reported. Trump himself was a major purveyor of fake news, spreading stories such as that protesters were paid $3,500 to disrupt his political rallies. His own aides also spread fake news, such as Michael Flynn claiming that Florida Senate Democrats had voted to impose Sharia Law in their state or his son perpetuating the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.

Trump's "victory" for PolitiFact's Lie of the Year in 2015 was much less ambiguous. After realizing that the then-candidate had told so many lies that it was impossible to pick the most egregious one, the site decided that all of his campaign misstatements deserved to be "honored" as Lie of the Year.

"PolitiFact has been documenting Trump’s statements on our Truth-O-Meter, where we’ve rated 76 percent of them Mostly FalseFalse or Pants on Fire, out of 77 statements checked. No other politician has as many statements rated so far down on the dial," PolitiFact wrote.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Presidential Election Donald Trump Russia Scandal