Right-wing media vouch for Kyl's honesty despite his history of false claims

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

Right-wing media have vouched for Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) "integrity" in the wake of a video in which Kyl accused President Obama of refusing to "secure the border" in order to force the GOP to support immigration reform, a claim the White House has flatly denied. However, these media have ignored Kyl's history of making false claims.

Right-wing media tout Kyl's honesty

Kilmeade: "Jon Kyl's integrity is beyond reproach." On the June 22 edition of Fox News Fox & Friends, discussing the video of Kyl making the flatly denied claim that Obama said he won't "secure the border," co-host Brian Kilmeade asserted, "Jon Kyl's integrity is beyond reproach."

Doocy: Kyl "doesn't make stuff up." Discussing the video in a later segment on the June 22 Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said that "the problem with the White House right now is Senator Kyl's reputation as someone who doesn't really play politics. ... The veracity of his comments have the respect on both sides of the aisle up to this point." Co-host Steve Doocy added, "He doesn't make stuff up."

Ingraham: "I totally believe [Kyl]. ... What's in it for Kyl to say that?" Later on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham, "Do you believe Jon Kyl?" Ingraham responded: "Oh yeah, I totally believe him. Jon Kyl also is not the most right-wing on immigration issues, so I believe him, yeah." She later stated: "What's in it for Kyl to say that? I mean, I don't see what he gets out of that. ... I believe Kyl. I'm not saying it as a partisan. It's true -- they're not enforcing the border." During the segment, Kilmeade said: "There is a problem slamming Senator Kyl's integrity when both sides of the aisle ... portray him as a hard-working guy whose word you can trust."

Dobbs: Kyl is "a man of absolute intellectual integrity." On the June 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Lou Dobbs stated: "I've known Senator Kyl for more than 20 years. He is a man who is -- he's not the most electric politician, Sean. But he is, I think, one of the most honorable." Dobbs continued: "The man has never misstated nor misguided me at any point. He's a man of absolute intellectual integrity. This is not a man for the White House to be attacking -- suggesting, declaring, in effect, that he's a liar."

Krauthammer: "Kyl is a straight shooter. I believe him implicitly." On the June 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer stated: "Kyl is a straight shooter. I believe him implicitly." He added: "On the other hand, Obama is a very smart man, and I don't know that he would actually explicitly say that, because it really is cheap and tawdry. So I suspect maybe something in between happened."

Stoddard: Kyl "is the last person that President Obama wants to be in a shooting match with right now about who is lying." Later on the June 21 Special Report, The Hill associate editor A.B. Stoddard said: "I'm not going to call, you know, Senator Jon Kyl a liar. He is, as Charles mentioned, one of the biggest workhorses in the Senate. He never seeks the spotlight. He is always head down, doing something to legislate and not to get himself on television." She then stated that Kyl "is the last person that President Obama wants to be in a shooting match with right now about who is lying."

Carlson: Kyl "is eminently believable." Echoing Krauthammer's and Stoddard's comments on the June 21 Special Report, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson stated: "There are some senators one could imagine sort of popping off and saying lunatic things. In fact, a lot of them do that." He continued: "Senator Kyl -- a lawyer specializing in water rights -- is the last guy to do that. So he is eminently believable."

But Kyl has made numerous false claims

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely claimed that he did not say Republicans would filibuster immigration reform. According to an April 12 PolitiFact.com post, on the April 11 edition of ABC's This Week, host Jake Tapper asked Kyl, "You said the other day in Yuma, Ariz., that Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster. Are you going to help with the filibuster of immigration reform?" Kyl reportedly replied: "I don't think I said that, Jake, but what I did say is that the conditions for immigration reform no longer exist.

FACT: PolitiFact rates Kyl's claim "False." PolitiFact rated Kyl's claim that he didn't say Republicans would filibuster immigration reform "False." From PolitiFact:

Kyl's staff told us he only meant that Republicans would filibuster a purely partisan bill, not the kind of bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that Kyl put forward with Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2007. That's why Kyl objected to Tapper's premise.

Still, Tapper's question -- "You said the other day in Yuma, Ariz., that Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster. Are you going to help with the filibuster of immigration reform?" -- remains an fair summary (though not a quotation) of Kyl's town hall remarks. The video showed that Kyl predicted a Republican filibuster. So Kyl's statement -- that he didn't say Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster -- is False.

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely claimed that "most of the jobs created are government jobs" in March jobs report. On the April 4 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Kyl falsely claimed of the March jobs report, "Most of the jobs created are government jobs."

FACT: Private employers added 123,000 of the 162,000 jobs in March. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that private employers added 123,000 of the 162,000 jobs in March, which was the biggest gain in nearly three years.

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely claimed that the Recovery Act had "very little effect." As Media Matters Action Network documented, Kyl claimed on the April 4 edition of Fox News Sunday that "[i]n terms of stimulus, I think what Republicans will do is look very carefully at any more spending plans because, as it turns out, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to very little effect."

FACT: In February, CBO stated that Recovery Act "added between 1.0 million and 2.1 million" jobs in the fourth quarter of 2009. In February -- prior to Kyl's claim -- the Congressional Budget Office stated that "CBO estimates that in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2009, ARRA added between 1.0 million and 2.1 million to the number of workers employed in the United States, and it increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by between 1.4 million and 3.0 million." CBO added that the Recovery Act "[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.5 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points."

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely suggests individuals will see premiums "continue to go up" because of health care reform. Media Matters Action Network noted on March 10 that Kyl claimed "that insurance premiums will continue to go up" as a result of health care reform.

FACT: CBO found law will not raise premiums for majority of Americans. CBO estimated that the large group and small group markets make up 83 percent of the insurance market and that premiums in those markets would essentially remain unchanged and could decrease. Further, a January 27 PolitiFact.com analysis labeled the claim that health care reform would cause premiums for most Americans to increase "pants on fire" false and stated, "The CBO reported that, for most people, premiums would stay about the same, or slightly decrease."

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely claimed that health care bill "will add to the deficit." As Media Matters Action Network noted, Kyl claimed on March 10 that the Democrats' health care reform bill "will add to the deficit" and that "it isn't deficit neutral."

FACT: CBO estimated that health care law would reduce deficits by $143 billion over first 10 years. In its March 20 estimate of H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal, CBO said: "CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation -- HR. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal -- would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues." Further, CBO stated of the deficit impact "for the decade following the 2010-2019 period": "[T]he combined effect of enacting H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal would also be to reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law - with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP."

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely suggested that health care savings would not extend past first 10 years. A November 22, 2009, FoxNews.com article stated: "Calling the Senate health care bill a package that Ponzi schemer 'Bernie Madoff would really envy,' Republican Sen. Jon Kyl said Sunday that the legislation to be debated in December is long on promises but short on accounting." It then quoted Kyl as saying, "When they claim a savings ... in the first 10 years, that's because they start collecting taxes in 2010 they don't start spending money till 2014."

FACT: CBO projected that deficit reductions would continue after the first 10 years. Contrary to Kyl's suggestion that savings would not extend past the first 10 years, CBO projected that the Senate health care bill would continue to reduce the deficit beyond the first 10 years by as much as $650 billion in the decade beginning after 2019.

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl distorted Obama's words to falsely suggest that Obama had said, "If you disagree with us, we're going to call you out." In response to Obama's September 9, 2009, address to Congress, Kyl suggested that Obama had said, "If you disagree with us, we're going to call you out."

FACT: Obama actually said: "If you misrepresent what's in the [health care reform] plan, we will call you out." Contrary to Kyl's claim, in his speech, Obama did not promise to "call out" those who disagree with him; he said: "If you misrepresent what's in the [health care reform] plan, we will call you out" [emphasis added].

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl falsely described Democrats' possible use of reconciliation to pass health care reform with a simple majority as the "nuclear option." On the August 21, 2009, edition of Fox News' On the Record, Kyl said that "the reconciliation process -- or the so-called 'nuclear option' -- is not ideal for writing legislation like this."

FACT: The term "nuclear option" was coined by Lott in 2005 to refer to a possible Republican attempt to change Senate filibuster rules. The term "nuclear option" was coined by then-Republican Sen. Trent Lott in 2005 to refer to a possible Republican attempt to change Senate filibuster rules, while the budget process, known as reconciliation, is already part of Senate procedure, and Republicans have used it repeatedly in the past.

KYL FALSEHOOD: Kyl: "It is palpably false to suggest that the existence of Gitmo created terrorism." On the May 26, 2009, edition of Fox News Sunday, Kyl claimed that "It is palpably false to suggest that the existence of Gitmo created terrorism."

FACT: Military and FBI interrogators have stated that terrorists have used Guantanamo as recruiting device. Contrary to Kyl's assertion, military and FBI interrogators have stated that terrorists have successfully used the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a recruiting device, and at least two reports have reached the same conclusion.

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