Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First Guess: Another One Makes It Up
Video via FOK News Channel
video 'podcast'

unofficial transcript

The best part of being a Republican? When you need facts, you can just make 'em up!

I'm Keith Olbermann in New York with today's First Guess.

It happened nearly two weeks ago, yet it got buried in the non-stop Radical Right BS machine. The greatest friend that the Democrats have, the congressperson dumber than Paul Broun, the Kings and Michele Bachmann put together, did it again. Jean Schmidt of Ohio. The Schmidt has hit the fan once more!

You remember Jean. She basically tipped the scales against the Iraq War for good in November 2005 by calling the late congressman and Vietnam War hero Jack Murtha a coward for criticising what we were doing in Iraq. The good burghers of the suburbs east of Cincinnati keep sending her back to Congress, where she has now been humiliating them for nearly six years. If it's wrong, you can count on Congresswoman Schmidt to defend it; if it hurts people, you can count on Congresswoman Schmidt to champion it; if it's a lie, you can count on Congresswoman Schmidt to shout it.

Federal law already prohibits taxpayer money from funding abortions. But to hear the Jean Schmidts of this world tell it, Democrats are practically kidnapping pregnant women off the streets, driving them to Planned Parenthood and aborting fetuses with 1040 forms and food stamps. Actually, if she had said something like that, Ms. Schmidt would not have looked like such a jackass. What she instead claimed, quote, was 'For every 33 pregnant women that walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic, 32 receive an abortion.'

The hell they do. Planned Parenthood keeps meticulous records, and they have to. They are breaking several laws if they don't. In 2009, the organisation saw 3 million patients for a total of 11.3 million procedures. 11 million. How many of the 11 million procedures were abortions? 332,278.

35% of Planned Parenthood's services? Providing contraception. 35% more? Testing for sexually transmitted diseases and treating them. More than a million of their procedures were pregnancy tests, and since not even 1 in 10 Planned Parenthood facilities can provide prenatal services, nearly all of the women who seek those are referred to other clinics.

So where did Jean Schmidt get her preposterous statistic that 32 out of 33 pregnant women who go into Planned Parenthood get abortions? The non-partisan Politifact Ohio group asked the congresswoman's office that exact question. The answer? She got the numbers from one group called 'Americans United for Life', and another called 'Concerned Women for America', and another called 'Family Research Council Action'. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And these anti-choice groups got those numbers by cooking them. By looking only at the numbers of abortions compared to the number of women who got prenatal care at Planned Parenthood, or who wound up being referred by Planned Parenthood to adoption agencies. They left out all the pregnant women who found out they were pregnant, or were tested for sexually transmitted diseases, or were sent elsewhere for prenatal care. They took out all the numbers that would reduce the statistic, and went instead with their paranoid fantasy because they may claim to be pro-life, but they are clearly not pro-truth.

Caught lying again, Congresswoman Schmidt is advised to try the Jon Kyl route: when he made up a statistic about how many of Planned Parenthood's patients get abortions, he said it was 90%, the junior Senator from Arizona later amended it to claim that his lie was, quote, 'not intended to be a factual statement.'

That remarkable admission of mendacity and guilt was not enough for Mr. Kyl. He has since utilised a Senator's right to, quote, 'edit the transcript of their floor remarks before publication in the daily record or the permanent record.' His statement on the Senate record that 90% of what Planned Parenthood did was abortions, that now reads 'If you want an abortion you go to Planned Parenthood, and that is what Planned Parenthood does.'

He laundered it! He sanitized it! He turned an outright lie designed to inflame public opinion into a benign, albeit stupid, tautology. If only we could do the same to his entire tenure in the Senate. And Ms. Schmidt's in the House. But sadly, we are Democrats and liberals and moderates, and lying - and then lying about having lied - we just don't do that as well as the Republicans do. I guess it's called conscience.

Keith Olbermann in New York, see you June 20th.