“Not intended to be a factual statement.”
The now-infamous statement from Sen. Jon Kyl’s office was released after he said on the floor of the U.S. Senate that abortions represent “over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
It turns out that the actual number is 3%, a mere rounding error of 87%. But it was presented to the American people and enshrined in the Senate Record as a means of arguing that Planned Parenthood should be entirely defunded in the current budget.
This has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility and everything to do with the disproportionate influence of social conservative activists.
Their most compelling argument is that the American people don’t support federal taxpayer money paying for abortions, which is true — and why federal funding of abortion has been banned since 1976.
But the facts are inconvenient, and so they are ignored. Instead, talking points taken from talk radio are repeated until they take on a life of their own and eventually get the validation of a U.S. senator.
The news wasn’t that Kyl made a mistake; it was his staff essentially acknowledging that in the current hyper-partisan environment, facts are a secondary concern, even on the floor of the U.S. Senate, even when they are paraded as statistics. The important thing is to scare the hell out of people so that they remember your political point and pass it on.
In this absurd spin cycle, there’s one dependable place to look for sanity: satire. And on cue came Stephen Colbert, who took Kyl’s statement as a challenge and dialed it up to 11.
Using the Twitter hashtag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement, Colbert unleashed a steady stream of Jon Kyl mistruths with the requisite denial. Among my favorites:
• Jon Kyl developed his own line of hair care products just so he could test them on bunnies.
• Jon Kyl can unhinge his jaw like a python to swallow small rodents whole.
• Every Halloween Jon Kyl dresses up as a sexy Mitch Daniels.
• Jon Kyl sponsored S.410, which would ban happiness.
• Jon Kyl let a game-winning ground ball roll through his legs in Game 6 of the ’86 World Series.
• Jon Kyl once ate a badger he hit with his car.
This crap is properly called “lying”. That it is done for political gain and later followed by a rationale acceptable to politicians and fools – does not make it acceptable behavior. We all complain about the lack of ethics, the duplicity and deceit of Congress – but, this deliberate distortion of fact by the fiction of bigots is inexcusable. And anyone who does excuse it is as guilty as the salaried liar who invented the propaganda.