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The Chicago Tribune mourns the loss of what has made discourse, political or otherwise, possible for so long: Facts. The rhetoric of politicians, from Bill Clinton to Mitt Romney, seems to have been the primary cause of death. Allan West’s declaration that as many as eighty-one of his fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives are communists served as the fatal blow:

“It’s very depressing,” said Mary Poovey, a professor of English at New York University and author of A History of the Modern Fact . Though weakened, Facts managed to persevere through the last two decades, despite historic setbacks that included President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, the justification for President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and the debate over President Barack Obama’s American citizenship. Facts was wounded repeatedly throughout the recent GOP primary campaign, near fatally when Michele Bachmann claimed a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease   causes mental retardation. In December, Facts was briefly hospitalized after MSNBC’s erroneous report that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign was using an expression once used by the Ku Klux Klan

Facts was 2,372 years old and is survived by two brothers, Rumor and Innuendo, and a sister, Emphatic Assertion.

Read the rest of the obituary here .

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