CNN Ignores Planned Parenthood at Dem Debate Even When Hillary Brings It Up

CNN spent more than 10 minutes pressing GOP candidates about Planned Parenthood during the previous debate – but moderators couldn’t bear to mention the abortion giant once during Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate.

Not even after Hillary Clinton brought up the topic.

CNN hosted the first Democratic primary debate Tuesday night, Oct. 13, in Las Vegas, Nevada. CNN moderators – Anderson Cooper, Dana Bash, Juan Carlos Lopez and Don Lemon – introduced a range of issues from gun violence to the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.” But not once did they hint at the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting aborted baby parts or the organization’s major policy change.

The sole mention of Planned Parenthood came from a candidate, when Bash asked Hillary Clinton about supporting “mandated paid family leave.”

“There are so many people who say, ‘Really, another government program?’ Bash prompted Clinton. “Is that what you're proposing and at the expense of taxpayer money?”

In her response, Clinton brought up the forbidden debate topic: Planned Parenthood. She replied:

“When people say that, it’s always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, ‘You can't have paid leave, you can't provide health care.’ They don't mind having big government to interfere with a woman's right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They're fine with big government when it comes to that. I'm sick of it. You know, we can do these things. We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain ‘Big government this, big government that’ except for what they want to impose on the American people.”

While the Center for Medical Progress began releasing videos exposing Planned Parenthood back in July, the abortion giant is making today’s headlines. In a letter released Tuesday – the same day as the debate – Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards revealed that the abortion giant will no longer accept reimbursements for “fetal tissue.”

But the moderators still couldn’t bring themselves to ask even a biased question.

By comparison, CNN moderators spent more than 10 minutes interrogating candidates during the Republican primary debate in September.

On her own, for the GOP debate, Bash spent six minutes questioning the candidates about “stripping federal funds” from Planned Parenthood and a potential government shutdown.

And when Republican candidates didn’t directly answer her questions on Planned Parenthood, she continued asking them until they did. Take, for example, her repeated questioning of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the topic:

“Governor [Chris Christie], I want to go to you. Is it what Sen. Cruz says, a surrender by Republicans?”

“But, governor, the reality is in just two week’s time, we are going to be facing a question about whether or not it's enough to shut down the government to make that statement because there’s still a Democrat in the White House. Do you oppose it or support it?” 

“Yes or no. Do you support the shutdown?”

“We’re talking about Planned Parenthood right now. Can you answer yes or no?”

“One more time, I'm sorry, I just want to get an answer.” 

“So you would support a shutdown?”

After Bash finished, CNN’s Jake Tapper continued the topic. Between Bash and Tapper, CNN spent 10 minutes and 14 seconds questioning the candidates about abortion and Planned Parenthood.

This time? Zero. CNN has clear priorities.

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Associate Culture Editor, the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow at Media Research Center