Fake News: MSNBC’s Ruhle Parrots False Planned Parenthood Propaganda

During a contentious interview with Republican Florida Congressman Francis Rooney on Friday over the GOP health care plan, MSNBC anchors Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi repeatedly grilled him on efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level. When the Congressman pushed back with inconvenient facts about the nation’s largest abortion provider, Ruhle denied reality. Then on Tuesday, the liberal host doubled down on her false assertions.

On Friday, Ruhle lectured Rooney: “Planned Parenthood is where millions of women and some men get essential health services....there will be a shortage, millions of people go to Planned Parenthood every year not for abortions.” Later in the exchange, the GOP lawmaker accurately pointed out: “I read some statistics last week that the non-abortion activities of Planned Parenthood declined precipitously.”

Ruhle completely lost it:

I don’t know where you read that, but I don’t believe that’s true. Based on our reporting and what we cover, it’s actually somewhat stagnant what Planned Parenthood does in terms abortion, but they’ve seen huge increases in breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, and actaully the amount of men that are now going to Planned Parenthood to get screenings.

Well, not surprisingly, Ruhle was in such a hurry to recite left-wing talking points that she got her facts wrong. Simply by looking at Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports in 2004 and 2016, National Review was able to do some basic math and figure out that total cancer screenings provided by the organization decreased by over 70 percent in the 12-year period (over two million screenings in 2004 vs. less than 634,000 in 2016).

By contrast, the group’s abortion services have continued to be on the rise. In 2004, Planned Parenthood performed 255,015 abortions. In 2016, that number rose to 328,348.

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At the end of Tuesday’s 11 a.m. ET hour, Ruhle reminded viewers of her exchange with Rooney:

Last week, Congressman Francis Rooney came on our show to talk about TrumpCare. We asked him about cuts to Planned Parenthood and he said that he read in a research report that non-abortion services are way down at Planned Parenthood and there were some out there who said that when I challenged him, I was a liar and I was fudging the truth.

She doubled down on her faulty data:

Well, I beg of you, please check out this graphic. Now, while contraception and cancer screening/prevention services are slightly down. STD testing and other women’s health services are up. What does that include, other services? Pregnancy tests, prenatal services, miscarriage care, as well as well-woman exams. And other services for Planned Parenthood are family practice services for women and men, adoption referrals, and urinary tract infection treatments.

Ruhle dismissed her critics: “So for those of you out there who said I was fudging it, here’s another ‘F’ to send you. This ‘F’ is a fact.”

Actually, that ‘F’ stands for fake. The problem with the numbers Ruhle cited was that she was only looking a Planned Parenthood services from 2015 to 2016, in which there were modest increases and decreases in certain numbers. However, by ignoring the long-term trends over more than a decade, she was blind to the glaring fact that the abortion provider has become increasingly focused on exactly that, at the expense of all of the other “essential health services” it claims to provide.

Tuesday’s biased reporting was brought to viewers by Kia and AARP.

Here are transcripts of the June 23 and 27 exchanges:

06/23/17
11:27 AM ET

(...)

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Day in, day out, people need health care. Throughout the southeast, part of your district, you’ve got 11 Planned Parenthoods. And Planned Parenthood is where millions of women and some men get essential health services. Without funding Planned Parenthood, where will those people go?

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY [R-FL]: Stephanie, you know, the issue to me about Planned Parenthood is not what does Planned Parenthood do besides abortions, but the fact that they do abortions and the fact that there’s so many community health clinics, 360-something of them in Florida, 20 times as many as are Planned Parenthood places, that provide adequate women’s care.

RUHLE: So will you take all of – will the government look to take all of that funding that had been geared to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers where they can get all of those other services besides abortions?

ROONEY: Not a bad idea. As I understand it now, most states are adequately served by community health clinics, but that’s the obligation of a government to provide the women’s care without the side benefit of – or the side duty that Planned Parenthood seems to devote itself to of doing over 300,000 abortions a year.

RUHLE: But sir, there will be a shortage, millions of people go to Planned Parenthood every year not for abortions. So if they’re not going to be going to Planned Parenthood because they don’t have enough money....

ALI VELSHI: They do have to go somewhere.

RUHLE: ...they’re going to have to go to those community health centers that don’t have the budget. So they’re going to need the money that the U.S. government is now taking from Planned Parenthood.

ROONEY: Well, I could speak specifically about Lee and Collier county, District 19, and there’s a lot of capacity in the existing network of community health clinics to take care of the people there.

VELSHI: Yeah, but you know, sir, you’re a United States representative, that’s not the case across the country. I think we can get ten women’s health advocates in the room and they can all tell you, we’re not over capacity in terms of ability to help women. There’s been some remarkable advances in the last five to ten years in access to basic health for women. That’s part of what a lot of people are seeing as a threat in both the House bill and the Senate bill.

ROONEY: One other thing about Planned Parenthood, I read some statistics last week that the non-abortion activities of Planned Parenthood declined precipitously.

RUHLE: I don’t know where you read that, but I don’t believe that’s true. Based on our reporting and what we cover, it’s actually somewhat stagnant what Planned Parenthood does in terms abortion, but they’ve seen huge increases in breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, and actaully the amount of men that are now going to Planned Parenthood to get screenings. More men than ever because men aren’t working in traditional companies, and so they are not getting health care. So they need it to get those screenings. That’s where we’re seeing a huge increase.

ROONEY: Well, I’ll try to find the stuff and send it to you, because I did receive it in writing and I have it somewhere in my files. But the other thing is, I agree women need essential health care, and the community health clinics, at least the places I know about in Florida, have capacity to serve them and they don’t do the bad thing as well.

(...)
    

06/27/17
11:59 AM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Last week, Congressman Francis Rooney came on our show to talk about TrumpCare. We asked him about cuts to Planned Parenthood and he said that he read in a research report that non-abortion services are way down at Planned Parenthood and there were some out there who said that when I challenged him, I was a liar and I was fudging the truth.

Well, I beg of you, please check out this graphic. Now, while contraception and cancer screening/prevention services are slightly down.

ALI VELSHI: Slightly.

RUHLE: STD testing and other women’s health services are up. What does that include, other services? Pregnancy tests, prenatal services, miscarriage care, as well as well-woman exams. And other services for Planned Parenthood are family practice services for women and men, adoption referrals, and urinary tract infection treatments. So for those of you out there who said I was fudging it...
    
VELSHI: Those are the facts.

RUHLE: ...here’s another ‘F’ to send you. This ‘F’ is a fact.

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