THE HSR LIE GETS A FOX NEWS TWIST…. Republicans and their adjunct outlets have been touting one specific lie above all others lately. As the argument goes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) inserted an $8 billion earmark in the stimulus package to build a high-speed rail connector between Las Vegas and Disneyland. The claim is completely wrong, and there is no such spending project.

Yesterday, Fox News gave the story a twist, changing the details of the already-bogus claim to make a brand new lie. Check out this exchange between Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) on the omnibus spending bill pending in the Senate:

KELLY: It’s a super railroad, of sorts — a line that will deliver customers straight from Disney, we kid you not, to the doorstep of the moonlight bunny ranch brothel in Nevada. I say, to the moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada. So should your tax dollars be paying for these kinds of projects? […]

FRANKS: The majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid has fought for this publicly and is committed to this project, even in the face of criticism…. If this is something that is truly the priority of the majority leader of the US senate, it’s pretty late in the day, Megyn.

I love the way Megyn Kelly adds “we kid you not” while blatantly lying to a national television audience.

But notice the evolution of the lie. First, the non-existent project was in the stimulus bill; now it’s the omnibus. First, the HSR was headed to Vegas; now it’s Carson City. First, Reid was quietly sneaking this non-existent spending into law; now he’s fighting for it publicly in the face of criticism.

Republican hacks like Kelly and Franks aren’t just lying, they’re getting their own lie wrong, screwing up the manufactured controversy that they helped create.

In an apparent attempt to win some kind of irony award, Kelly asked Franks about how to hold lawmakers accountable for made-up earmarks that don’t exist outside Republican talking points and the GOP’s cable news channel. Ali Frick noted Frank’s unintentionally hilarious response: “Fortunately, people like yourself and Fox News are a tremendous help in that regard because they tell the people — you know, sunlight has a way of being an accountability all by itself.”

Once in a while, I feel sorry for Fox News’ audience.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.