New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes has been playing aggressive defense for Planned Parenthood ever since damning undercover videos were released showing staffers using dehumanizing terms to describe aborted babies, and engaging in possibly illegal activity. On Thursday she took dictation from the abortion provider about its supposed exoneration.
In a public relations move that may be designed to neutralize the final undercover videos to be released by David Daleiden's Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood commissioned its own report accusing the CMP of selective editing. Calmes treated the stunt as news. But she left out vital information from Planned Parenthood's supposed exoneration -- that it came courtesy of a firm that engaged in pro-Obama opposition research against conservatives.
Planned Parenthood on Thursday gave congressional leaders and a committee that is investigating allegations of criminality at its clinics an analysis it commissioned concluding that “manipulation” of undercover videos by abortion opponents make those recordings unreliable for any official inquiry.
“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” the analysis of a private research company said.
The analysis was by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and corporate intelligence company, and its co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
According to the investigation, the reviewers could not determine “the extent to which C.M.P.’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document.”
But, it said, “the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries” unless C.M.P. provides investigators with its original material, and that material is independently authenticated as unaltered.
The analysis also supported Planned Parenthood’s objection to two allegations that have elicited some of the most outrage from anti-abortion forces, disputing that Planned Parenthood staffers at one point say of fetal remains, “It’s a baby,” and in a second instance, “Another boy.”
But Mark Hemingway at The Weekly Standard focused on what Calmes skipped over: "Politico & NYT Fail to Mention Report Exonerating Planned Parenthood Produced By Democratic Opposition Research Firm."
Hemingway asked: "Just who, exactly, is behind Fusion GPS? Turns out it's an opposition research firm with ties to the Democratic party and has a history of harassing socially conservative Republican donors, possibly on behalf of the Obama campaign."
He quoted a Wall Street Journal editorial:
As [Kim] Strassel has reported in recent columns, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot has become the target of a smear campaign since it was disclosed earlier this year that he had donated $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney. President Obama's campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight "less than reputable" Romney donors and a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement." One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.
Now we learn that little more than a week after that Presidential posting, a former Democratic Senate staffer called the courthouse in Mr. VanderSloot's home town of Idaho Falls seeking his divorce records. Ms. Strassel traced the operative, Michael Wolf, to a Washington, D.C. outfit called Fusion GPS that says it is "a commercial research firm."
Fusion GPS is run by a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Glenn Simpson, who wouldn't say who is paying him for this high-minded slumming but said in an email that Mr. VanderSloot was a "legitimate" target because of "his record on gay issues."
Politico was slightly more balanced than the Times.
A report commissioned by Planned Parenthood has found that the sting videos targeting its tissue donation practices contain intentionally deceptive edits, missing footage and inaccurately transcribed conversations. But there is no evidence that the anti-abortion group behind the attack made up dialogue. ...
But the firm also wrote that it is impossible to characterize the extent to which the edits and cuts distort the meaning of the conversations depicted and that there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”