The networks have long been friends of Planned Parenthood, which turns 100 on Sunday. So when the nation’s largest abortion provider endorses one of their favorite politicians, it’s like a media match made, well, not in heaven.
All three broadcast networks have recognized Planned Parenthood’s support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during their news shows. But they couldn’t bring themselves to do the same for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his support from pro-life leaders. Not once have the news shows of ABC, CBS or NBC mentioned Trump’s newly formed Pro-Life Coalition which boasts big name leaders in the pro-life movement.
On January 7, Planned Parenthood announced its support for Democratic presidential candidate Clinton in its first primary endorsement ever. Clinton readily accepted.
I'll take on Republicans or anyone who tries to interfere with women's health. Proud to have @PPact's support in this important election. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 7, 2016
Since then, ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned Planned Parenthood’s support of Clinton at least four times during their national news shows. NBC first acknowledged Planned Parenthood’s backing of Clinton January 9, 2016 during Nightly News.
“And tomorrow in New Hampshire,” reported NBC Senior White House Correspondent Chris Jansing, "Hillary Clinton becomes the first candidate ever to win the endorsement of Planned Parenthood.”
Later that month, CBS This Morning noted the endorsement twice on January 21, 2016.
Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Clinton’s response to a Bernie Sanders comment after he was “asked why Planned Parenthood endorsed her, not him.” For the same show, co-host Norah O’Donnell announced Clinton “launching new attacks after Sanders dismissed endorsements of Clinton by Planned Parenthood and the Human rights Campaign.”
ABC came last on March 31, 2016 during World News Tonight.
While correspondent Cecilia Vega didn’t use the word “endorsement,” she reported on Planned Parenthood and a pro-Clinton super PAC working together on an ad against Trump. “This new ad paid for by Planned Parenthood and a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC already online," she said, “using Trump's own words against him.”
But when GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump went public in September with his Pro-Life Coalition headed by Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony List, the network news shows didn’t say a word.
As the chairman, Dannenfelser outlined the coalition’s mission in a press release. “National co-chairs of the coalition will communicate Mr. Trump’s pro-life commitments to people in their sphere of influence, speak out in support of the Trump-Pence ticket and, most importantly,” she said, “recruit state co-chairs for the coalition who will in turn drive the campaign’s pro-life message out to each individual voter.”
Those “pro-life commitments” of Trump consisted of nominating pro-life Supreme Court justices, signing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act against late-term abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood by reallocating its money to other health centers and making the Hyde Amendment permanent to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion.
Besides Dannenfelser, the coalition boasted big names in the pro-life movement as co-chairs:
Representative Robert Aderholt (AL-04)
Ellen Barrosse, Republican National Committeewoman & Chairman of RNC Conservative Steering Committee
Gary Bauer, President of American Values
Representative Diane Black (TN-06)
Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)
Honorable Ken Blackwell, Former Ambassador of United Nations Human Rights Commission
Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas
Frank Cannon, President of American Principles Project
Senator Steve Daines of Montana
Bill Dallas, CEO of United in Purpose
Bill Donahue, Treasurer of FAMILY PAC
Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma
Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-05)
Representative Trent Franks (AZ-08)
Day Gardner, President of National Black Pro-Life Union
Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life
Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn
Ed Martin, President of Eagle Forum
Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women of America
Representative Kristi Noem (SD-AL)
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life
Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
Representative Joe Pitts (PA-16)
Representative Mike Pompeo (KS-04)
Senator David Perdue of Georgia
Ralph Reed, Founder and Chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition
Austin Ruse, President of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)
Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04)
Jill Stanek, National Campaign Chair of Susan B. Anthony List
Charmaine Yoest, American Values Senior Fellow
In the past, the networks have played favorites with the two candidates after both Trump and Clinton made abortion gaffes.
Editor’s Note: MRC Culture staff writer Sarah Stites contributed to this report.
Methodology: MRC Culture searched for terms “Planned Parenthood” AND “Hillary Clinton” in transcripts from the morning and evening news shows by ABC, CBS and NBC from Jan. 7, 2016 (the day Planned Parenthood announced its endorsement) to Oct. 11, 2016. MRC Culture also searched for terms “Trump” AND “Dannenfelser,” “Trump” AND “Susan B. Anthony List,” variations of “Trump” AND “Prolife Coalition” from Sept. 16, 2016 (the day the Pro-Life Coalition went public) to Oct. 11, 2016.