Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R, obviously) just told the rest of the Senate that "well over 90%" of Planned Parenthood's work was providing abortions; according to Planned Parenthood (via Jezebel), the actual number is — let’s see here — 3%. So somebody's off by a factor of a lot. The full quote:
"Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don't have to go Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood. And that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."
Nice one, Kyl. (The vast majority of Planned Parenthood's budget goes to providing contraception and STD testing, and cancer prevention.) As House Republicans attempt to force (via the threat of government shutdown) the Democrats to pass a budget that would slash funding for Planned Parenthood, a lie like that is all the more damaging and insidious.
Can Senators just make up numbers that constitute more or less the opposite of the truth? The answer is pretty clearly yes, but just to reinforce that gloomy reality, Jezebel commenter "shadoop" says:
As a Congressional staffer, I can tell you that lies are told all the time on the floor, and they usually go uncontested. The Senators are speaking for the record and for the sound bites the media will use… The lie-tellers are sometimes corrected 1,000 years later in a press release or interview, but by that time the media and others have adopted the lie as truth.
Sometimes it feels a little glib or knee-jerk to call something Orwellian.
But this story is pretty damn Orwellian.