A reader writes:
Are you really going to make me defend Sarah Palin?
It is a fact that some food prices have seen sharp increases in their prices over the past year, and these prices have been felt by consumers at the supermarket, especially for core food items such as milk and meat. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 09 to Sept. 10 increases for specific items:
Ground beef: 12 percent
Bacon: 27 percent
Ham: 15 percent
Eggs: 7.7 percent
Milk: 10 percent
Butter: 27 percent
Sugar: 8.6 percent
If you want to argue that double digit increases in American staples such as bacon, milk, and butter don't represent a significant increase because you can buy more bananas, then go right ahead. Is Palin stretching the argument? Maybe. But in terms of a "lie" from a politician, this one is as benign as they come. Selective use of facts is a tried and true practice for politicians. You should focus on the outright lies.
Selective use of facts is not a direct lie – unless it is designed to propagate a general argument which is untrue. So to pick some foodstuffs and not others to confirm your view is dishonest, which is why the overall rate of food prices (which includes declines in, say, flour, rice, bread, chicken,tomatoes, beans) is the only fair measure of grocery prices. And when this modest increase follows a year in which food price increases have been lower than in two decades, you are a liar. The same with selective quotation. Here is Palin's own use of a selective quote to buttress an untruth:
"An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America’s supermarkets and restaurants, threatening to end the tamest year of food pricing in nearly two decades."
If you can deliberately omit the part of the sentence in italics above, in order to argue that quantitative easing has led to big food price increases under Obama, you are a pre-meditated liar.