Now can we finally lay this awful lie to rest? I doubt it because no matter how often a ludicrous GOP lie is debunked, it will continue on and on as a Zombie Lie. And besides, the lie has already traveled around the world a million times by now, the facts are simply incidental at this point. I’m getting ahead of myself.
As you might’ve heard, Dr. Ben Carson has been following the lead of Alex Jones and other far-right conspiracy theorists who have been suggesting for some time now that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a racist Nazi KKK sympathizer and therefore Planned Parenthood is in the business of exterminating black people, one abortion at a time. The entire conspiracy theory is based on a single Sanger quote from 1939 taken out of context by Carson, Jones and others, and which reads as follows: “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” The full text, on the other hand, lends appropriate context to the quote and Sanger’s intent is clear:
The minister’s work is also important and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.
Sanger was engaged in outreach to African-American women who, at the time, believed contraception was a white plot to reduce the black population. Sanger sought to dispel that notion by engaging African-American ministers and doctors to communicate with black women and to ease their suspicions.
This didn’t stop Alex Jones, earlier this year, from holding a sarcastic “Black Lives Matter” rally outside an Austin, Texas Planned Parenthood based on this completely false accusation that Planned Parenthood is exterminating black babies — as if the organization was going around forcing pregnant African-American women to involuntarily undergo abortions, rather than voluntarily going to Planned Parenthood and paying cash money to have the procedure.
Indeed, both Alex Jones, Ben Carson and even Sarah Palin have marketed in the accusation that Planned Parenthood has staked out African-American communities to make it easier for black women to have abortions, and therefore unwittingly help with the organization’s nefarious plot to wipe out black people. Carson, for his part, tried it again over the weekend, this time during an ABC News interview with Martha Raddatz, who challenged Carson on an August 12 statement in which the neurosurgeon said “most of their clinics in black neighborhoods.”
CARSON: You have to go back to the beginnings of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger who was a great believer in eugenics, and believed that certain people are like weeds that needed to be–
RADDATZ: We’re talking today of Planned Parenthood estimates that fewer than five percent of its health centers are located in areas where more than one-third of the population is African-American.
Of course that’s entirely accurate, and was backed up by The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler who gave Carson’s remarks four Pinocchios: “The evidence shows that a relatively small percentage of clinics are in black-majority neighborhoods — or even in neighborhoods where blacks are more than one-quarter of the population.” Meanwhile, NPR reported that “60 percent [of PP facilities] are in majority-white neighborhoods.”
So, what was Carson’s response? The Zombie Lie, of course.
CARSON: I believe we could find some data quote contrary to that. [laughs] I’ve seen some of their maps.
No, no. Not so fast. Carson isn’t really referencing “their” maps, he’s referencing this map, which is highly deceptive. Notice how the map only shows PP locations near black and Hispanic neighborhoods (allegedly — it’s a propaganda site, so take it with a grain of salt). There are literally dozens upon dozens of other locations not represented on the map. An additional 60 percent more facilities based in white neighborhoods.
Nevertheless, Carson’s completely bullshit interpretation of a map is enough for him to continue marketing in this lie, so don’t expect him to change his tune now or in the future. This is how the modern Republican Party operates. 1) Grab a meme from Alex Jones or another radical fringe group. 2) Repeat. 3) Win.