Bozell & Graham Column: Planned Parenthood’s Pandering Press

Every time you hear the network anchors and reporters act outraged that President Trump is calling on “friendly” reporters, and that there’s something desperately wrong in trying to avoid negative publicity and hostile questions, think of Planned Parenthood. 

As with virtually anyone on the Left, journalists treat Planned Parenthood as the most sacred of cows. In the last few weeks, from the “Women’s March” through the March for Life and other protests of Planned Parenthood, none of the networks will investigate or even cover the activities of these merchants of death. 

They will say that pro-lifers – “anti-abortion rights advocates,” or “anti-choice protesters” –  want to defund Planned Parenthood. But they routinely repeat the liberal argument that federal funds don’t pay for abortions (never mind the taxpayer-funded abortions under Obamacare). They don’t point out the fact that Planned Parenthood is hard-wired into the Democratic Party coalition and spent about $14 million in PAC money for Democrats in the last cycle. 

A recent Quinnipiac poll asked plainly if people supported defunding Planned Parenthood: only 31 percent said yes, and 62 percent said no. Another recent Quinnipiac poll asked about banning abortion at 20 weeks: 46 percent said yes, and 46 percent said no.

Planned Parenthood has performed tens of thousands of abortions after 20 weeks.Their own Alan Guttmacher Institute reports there are about 18,000 third-trimester abortions ever year. According to this survey, roughly a third of those who believe this ghastly practice should be banned also believe Planned Parenthood should be funded so as they can commit these atrocities.

That gap illustrates that Planned Parenthood (through a very cooperative media) effectively brands itself as a generic women’s-health-care provider, and not as the McDonald’s of abortion. Take their claim that only three percent of their procedures are abortions. Even liberal fact checkers like Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post slammed that as misleading: “there are obvious differences between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is.”

But watch or hear the networks, and they just parrot the propaganda line.  Take NPR anchor Ari Shapiro: “Nationally, Planned Parenthood says it treats 2 and a half million patients a year, and abortions make up 3 percent of the services.” ABC’s Good Morning America let a spokeswoman claim “97 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides are preventive health services.”

The networks also give us celebrities reading the sales pamphlet. Actress Scarlett Johansson was quoted by CBS: “For millions of Americans, Planned Parenthood is often the only trustworthy and affordable clinic.” Baloney. She might be excused as a fool, but CBS knows better.

These networks are deliberately ignoring what the pro-life group Live Action keeps proving: Planned Parenthood is not a hospital. Most of their centers don’t offer prenatal care. You don’t go there for a mammogram. They are a “sexual health” clinic. Women go there for contraceptives, pregnancy and STD tests, and to kill their babies.

On January 24, Live Action posted a video documenting how they contacted 97 Planned Parenthood clinics across the organization's 41 affiliates where undercover recording is legally allowed, and only five said they offered any form of prenatal care. They don’t insure a healthy pregnancy. They terminate pregnancies. Network coverage? Zero. 

In another video issued on February 7, Sue Thayer, a former manager of a Planned Parenthood center in Iowa, said she encouraged an abortion quota  that, if met, would result in staff pizza parties. Network coverage? Zero. 

These are only two of six videos that Live Action has posted in the last couple of weeks, and they’ve drawn more than 33 million views on the Internet. The networks simply won’t touch them. They are rigidly doctrinaire in maintaining their Happy News narrative. Nothing that pro-lifers produce, no matter how solid the reporting, can break through. It’s all somehow “alternate facts” and “fake news.” And they wonder why the public doesn’t trust them.

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Brent Bozell's picture

Tim Graham's picture