In the latest version of manufactured moral outrage, an anti-choice activist pretended to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic to get an abortion if and only if the baby turned out to be a girl. It’s an incredibly disturbing premise. Thank goodness it’s completely untrue.

There is really no sex-selective abortion crisis in the United States, period. But the illusion of a crisis is enough to whip up the conservative base, captivate cable talkers and put pro-choice activists on the defensive. And apparently, a false crisis is even enough to get legislation proposed in Congress — legislation to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Talk about wasting taxpayer dollars!

This tactic has become one of the more effective and frequent weapons in the Right wing arsenal. Conservatives, who have all but given up on actually being part of the solution for the real disasters America faces, are resorting to a sort of virtual reality game of politics wherein they manufacture disasters designed to cast themselves as the saviors.

I don’t have enough space to list all the examples. Voter fraud. Inflation. Public employee pensions. The fact that unemployment is still far too high in part because of layoffs of public sector workers that conservatives have pushed. Or the idea that marriage equality will lead to marrying goats. Conservatives literally make up these problems or, in the case of public sector unemployment, actively work to make them come true. Mounting government debt? A crisis Republicans obviously played a massive role in creating when George W. Bush was president, only to turn around and paint themselves as the solution to the crisis now that Barack Obama holds the office.

What conservatives understand is that in our 24/7 hyped up, reality TV-like media culture, facts are far less important than fanfare. Voters remember the beginning of the story and lose track by the end, when the crisis is proven utterly false. After all, we’re still talking about Barack Obama’s birth certificate long after the sitting President of the United States of America was embarrassingly forced to produce it. But no matter. Even after that, almost one in three Republican voters still believe that President Obama was born outside of the United States.

It’s very hard to combat such narratives when conservatives render facts irrelevant.