Just recently, the CNN show United Shades of America’s fourth episode of season four ostensibly about the abortion debate. Students for Life of America was invited by the show to come down to Jackson, Mississippi for a day of filming.
Unfortunately, the episode showed why CNN has a reputation for fake news.
The initial e-mail that Students for Life received noted that the producers read: “Coming to Jackson, Mississippi to make an episode about women's health and reproductive justice... I found Students for Life and the Pregnant on Campus initiative online. It seems like you guys offer some great resources for students! I would love to learn more about what you guys do in Mississippi, especially the peer to peer support programs.”
Most importantly, and in retrospect, hypocritically, the producer said, “[t]he show is focused on highlighting diverse voices.”
For this episode, we had the perfect person for Students for Life to talk to. Elizabeth Parker is the Appalachian Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America and an African-American woman. She oversees the growth and development of Students for Life groups in the southern states of Tennessee and Kentucky. In addition, she grew up in Mississippi, where her parents are pastors, run a pregnancy resource center, and are active in the pro-life movement.
She also works to start Students for Life groups at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and at the time, was working to start the first Students for Life group at an HBCU at Mississippi Valley State University. For a show about women’s health and the arguments around abortion, who better to represent the pro-life side than an African-American woman, from Mississippi, who was part of a family deeply involved in the pro-life movement in Mississippi and in the broader South.
And maybe that was the issue.
Despite showing Parker for a brief clip, and host Kamau Bell saying they had talked to people on both sides of the issue, the episode aired on CNN never actually talked to a pro-lifer, although Bell did stand, with pro-lifers protesting and praying outside of an abortion facility behind him, and swear about their presence. CNN’s website does show an 11-and-a-half-minute clip featuring a pro-life doctor, and then, for a grand total of two minutes and five seconds, Bell speaking with Parker.
Of those two minutes and five seconds, Parker’s actual answer is shown for only 45 seconds. For reference, a Klansman received more time in the first episode of United Shades of America.
But Bell wasn’t done misleading people. For example, the show brought up the ordeal civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer went through after being forcibly sterilized, failing to note that Fannie Lou Hamer was actually pro-life and allegedly called abortion “black genocide.”
When you get down to it, United Shades of America isn’t so much about finding common ground, but as serving as an ego-stroker for Bell to feel like he is finding common ground or hearing from all sides of an issue.
Maybe that’s why after production of the episode, his crew basically went silent and didn’t respond to follow-up e-mails from Students for Life, except for a quick phone call from a producer telling us Parker’s part was cut from the episode, the crew never responded to our e-mails and requests for more information. Because like the abortion lobby they worship, they got what they wanted from us and moved on to try to lie to the next person about their intentions.