CNN Panel Shuts Down GOP Guest in HHS Segment When He Mentions Planned Parenthood Scandal

On Tuesday afternoon, CNN Newsroom expressed discomfort and promptly went into spin mode for Planned Parenthood as host Brooke Baldwin and two panelists shouted down Trump supporter Steve Cortes for alluding to the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal and expressing support for the Republican push to defund the abortion provider under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

CNN political commentator Angela Rye first dredged up the concerns about Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pick in Congressman and Dr. Tom Price (R-Ga.) when she complained that he’s a doctor but has been “opposed to CHIP, Children's Health Insurance Program,” “want[s] to privatize Medicare which we know is a baseline conservative principle” and “voted to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Expressing a classic case of political tunnel vision of pigeon-holing someone into certain opinions based on their profession, Rye added that Price is one of many Trump selections that “are scary to me” and fretted that repealing and replacing ObamaCare would be abolishing “a job-creating measure” in the field of “health I.T.”

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Cortes shot back that it’s indeed been a job killer and referenced Bill Clinton’s slip of the tongue during the campaign about it. The former Trump campaign adviser then rebutted Rye on Planned Parenthood by alluding to the scandal that many in the media were tepid in covering:

[W]hen you talk, by the way, about defunding Planned Parenthood as being scary, what I think is scary is the fact that the taxpayers pay for an organization which a great many Americans find reprehensible and that sells baby parts and that was a major part of our campaign, by the way.

By simply presenting a pro-life view and an inconvenient point about the abortion provider liberals so dearly support, Cortes found himself being scolded and shut down by Baldwin, Rye, and Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty with groans of “wow” and “come on”  but no factual repudiation of what Cortes said about the video scandal (because there are none):

BALDWIN: Wow. 

RYE: That's not true. That’s been debunked. 

KAREN TUMULTY: If I could —

BALDWIN: Come on, Steve. 

CORTES: We won —

BALDWIN: Come on, Steve. 

CORTES: We won on that message. 

BALDWIN: Karen, set us straight, please. 

Instead of setting the segment “straight” and commenting on Cortes’s mentioning of the Planned Parenthood video scandal, Tumulty ignored it and reverted back to Price’s stance on ObamaCare and how he’s offered substantive alternatives since he’s familiar with its impact on the country:

Well if I could get here to what I think is the main point is that many times during the campaign it was unclear whether Donald Trump himself actually understood ObamaCare really worked. This is not the case with Tom Price. He very much does understand it. He understands the mechanisms and obviously Trump has picked somebody who is going to be willing to do something that it's unclear Trump himself has done which is sort of climb inside the machine and look at the gears and see how it's working. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from November 29's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin can be found below.

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
November 29, 2016
2:07 p.m. Eastern

ANGELA RYE: The challenge is, as a doctor for him to be opposed to CHIP, Children's Health Insurance Program, for him to want to privatize Medicare which we know is a baseline conservative principle, it's also very, very challenging. He has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and so again, I talked about the picks Donald Trump making are scary to me. What do you do with people who have insurance? 20 million people. We're not talking about two and this actually has been a job-creating measure. The Affordable Care Act as has created health I.T. jobs, a substantial number of health I.T. jobs, so you've heard talk about repeal and —

STEVE CORTES: Angela that's — 

RYE: I'm not done, Steve. I'm not done. A lot of talk about repeal and replace and they got stuck at repeal, Brooke, you're talking about folks who did that 60 plus times in Congress. 

BROOKE BALDWIN: I know and I hear you but he has proposed multiple years in a row the Empowering Patients First Act so at least this is something for Republicans. They have someone who has specifics and recommendations as an M.D., but I hear you. Steve, go ahead AND then I want to move on. 

CORTES: I think regarding — don't take my word for it, by the way, that it was a job killing monster, take Bill Clinton's word for it who told us that on the campaign trail I think somewhat unwittingly talked about how punitive it was to small business. He called it “crazy” and when you talk, by the way, about defunding Planned Parenthood as being scary, what I think is scary is the fact that the taxpayers pay for an organization which a great many Americans find reprehensible and that sells baby parts and that was a major part of our campaign, by the way.

BALDWIN: Wow. 

RYE: That's not true. That’s been debunked. 

KAREN TUMULTY: If I could —

BALDWIN: Come on, Steve. 

CORTES: We won —

BALDWIN: Come on, Steve. 

CORTES: We won on that message. 

BALDWIN: Karen, set us straight, please. 

TUMULTY: Well if I could get here to — 

BALDWIN: Please.

TUMULTY: — what I think is the main point is that many times — 

BALDWIN: Please

TUMULTY: — during the campaign it was unclear whether Donald Trump himself actually understood ObamaCare really worked. This is not the case with Tom Price. He very much does understand it. He understands the mechanisms and obviously Trump has picked somebody who is going to be willing to do something that it's unclear Trump himself has done which is sort of climb inside the machine and look at the gears and see how it's working.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center