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#NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement is a Twitter hashtag used to preface fabricated statements in satire of Arizona’s Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who made a false claim during the congressional debate on 2011 budget that “well over 90%” of Planned Parenthood’s activity is devoted to performing abortion." Within hours, it was revealed that the congressman’s assertion was baseless and when inquired by the news media, Kyl’s spokespeople clarified that his claim was “not intended to be a factual statement.”
On April 8th, 2011, the U.S. government stood still on the verge of shutdown as the Congress struggled to reach a compromise in budget plans. During the debate on Senate floor, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl put forth a false statistics that Planned Parenthood, a non-profit maternal and child health service organization, spent 90% of its budget towards abortion-related activities.
“Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go to 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.”
The congressional debate was nationally broadcast via C-SPAN and several political blogs including ThinkProgress and Politifact quickly reported on its inaccuracy, citing the organization’s 2009 budget chart which shows only 3% of services performed were abortions. In response to media inquiries, Senator Kyl’s office then released an ethically questionable statement saying that his remark was “not intended to be a factual statement.”
CNN, Huffington Post and Politico picked up on Senator Kyl’s misleading remark, as well as late-night pundits like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. On April 11th, Stephen Colbert slammed on the Arizona senator’s gaffe, poking fun at the careless response that his argument wasn’t intended to be a factual statement, but only to be taken as true. That same night, Colbert began tweeting a series of baseless rumors about Kyl with the hashtag “#NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement.”
On the following night of April 12th, Stephen Colbert announced that he would be tweeting various “non-facts” about Senator Kyl and encouraged his audience and Twitter followers to participate using the designated hashtag.
Some of Colbert’s most re-tweeted #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement posts include “Jon Kyl thinks no one can see him when he puts a paper bag on his head,” “Jon Kyl was named after the Quebec town, Jonquière, which is fitting because he ate all of its residents” and "John Kyl is “90% prune juice.”
Usage in Journalism
A number of news reporters and pro-choice politicians have also referenced Kyl’s “factual statement” in supporting their stories. On April 13th, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took a timely jab at Kyl’s remark on the Senate floor while pointing out that “current law forbids federal money from paying for abortions”:
“For my friends and colleagues, this is a factual statement -- current law already prevents federal money from paying for abortions. This has been the law of the land for over 30 years.”
On August 22nd, FreakOutNation brought up the phrase in an article about Rick Perry’s skeptical viewpoint on Social Security in his book “Fed Up!” On September 29th, 2011, Daily Kos drew a similar comparison to Kyl’s “non-factual statement” in an article about televangelist Pat Robertson’s scandalous advice. On December 13th, Hot Air listed “Not Intended to be a Factual Statement” as the #3 best / worst political quote of 2011.
Jon Kyl Expunges His Statement
On April 15th, Daily Kos reported that Senator Kyl’s controversial gaffe had been officially expunged from the Congressional Record, using the Senate’s power to “revise and extend their remarks.” The story was reblogged by several political blogs.
If you want an abortion you go to Planned Parenthood and that is what Planned Parenthood does.
YouTube – Senator Gillibrand Fights Back for Women’s Health on the Senate Floor / 4-13-2011
FreakOut Nation – Rick Perry’s Camp Confirms Not Meant to be Factual
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