Skip to content

Fact Check: We asked, you answered: PolitiFact readers’ choice for the 2022 Lie of the Year

The results are in, and — not for the first time — PolitiFact readers have diverged from PolitiFact editors in their choice of Lie of the Year.

PolitiFact awards the Lie of the Year to the most significant falsehood or exaggeration that worked to undermine an accurate narrative. (The official choice is made by PolitiFact editors, not by the Readers’ Poll.)

The plurality winner of the 2022 Readers’ Poll addresses the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of government documents, including classified documents, after he left the White House. Trump said, “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!”

Trump’s statement, which received a Pants on Fire when we rated it in August, received 35% of the more than 2,300 votes cast by readers in this year’s online poll. 

The readers’ second-choice pick did align with the editors’ official choice, which was Vladimir Putin’s lies about Ukraine. The Putin claim that ethnic Russians face “genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime” received 22% of readers’ votes. We rated that False just after Putin launched the war in February.

In third place, with 16%, was the viral social media claim that schools are putting litter boxes in bathrooms to accommodate kids who identify as “furries.” In April, we rated the hoax Pants on Fire!

Readers were offered eight possible Lie of the Year choices in the Readers’ Poll, plus an option to write in a selection. The results were widely dispersed, unlike the 2021 Readers’ Poll, when Trump’s statement about the 2020 election — “We won. We won in a landslide. This was a landslide” — took almost 75% of readers’ votes.

That year, the related lies downplaying the significance of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack “won” the official editors’ choice.

The official 2020 “winner” was denial about the coronavirus pandemic, while 51% of readers went with “false claims that the 2020 election was rigged and that Trump won re-election.” Lies about the coronavirus finished second, with 41%.

Here’s the full list of Readers’ Poll options and the percentage of readers who chose them” 

1. Donald Trump: “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” Pants on Fire! 35%

2. Vladimir Putin: Ethnic Russians face “genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime.” False 22%

3. Facebook posts: Schools are putting litter boxes in bathrooms to accommodate kids who identify as furries. Pants on Fire! 16%

4. Nevada secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant: “President Trump and I lost an election in 2020 because of a rigged election.” Pants on Fire! 15%

5. Donald Trump: At the Pelosi house, “the glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out, so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a breakout.” Pants on Fire! 5%

6. Restoration PAC: Democratic Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes supports killing “preemies” — “infants born prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy.” Pants on Fire! 3%

7. Joe Biden: “On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks.” Pants on Fire! 2%

8. Write in your nomination 1%

9. Stacey Abrams: “(Georgia Gov.) Brian Kemp wants to investigate and punish women for having miscarriages.” False 1%

More Lie of the Year:

Source: PolitiFact.