Before I make my larger point, you need to read how the majority of the media is covering the Planned Parenthood story. Here are two illustrative examples.
Anti-abortion activists on Tuesday released an undercover video showing a senior Planned Parenthood official discussing the disposition of parts from aborted fetuses.
The activists contended the video reveals illegalities, but Planned Parenthood said the activity in question was the legal, not-for-profit donation of fetal tissue to research firms.
Planned Parenthood said on Tuesday a secretly recorded video that surfaced on the Internet falsely portrayed the reproductive health group’s participation in the sale of tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses.
The non-profit organization said the video had been heavily edited and recorded by a group that was established to damage its reputation. It said in a statement the video “falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.”
Notice how those obtaining the video (Center for Medical Progress) are cast in these story ledes. The New York Times calls them “a little-known activist group.” MSNBC’s story refers to the “incendiary, hidden-camera video.” The Daily Beast says about the founder of CMP, “his life has become a veritable who’s who of pro-life extremists and Twitter trolls.” Leftwing sites like Salon went ahead and referred to the whole thing as a “hoax.”
Oddly enough, much of the framing coincides with these talking points sent out to the media from Planned Parenthood’s PR firm. In addition, they released a “backgrounder” on Center for Medical Progress and its founder, asserting what much of the media repeated—that he is untrustworthy.
It’s not as if they had problems in the past quickly running stories based on heavily-edited video obtained by activists and published on partisan sites. Remember Mitt Romney and his “47 percent” comments at a fundraiser?
As news organization after news organization, journalist after journalist (with a few notable exceptions) frame this story using the spin provided for them by Planned Parenthood, the question that continues to spring to my mind is, “Why is it that Center for Medical Progress and other pro-life groups are the only ones who investigate the abortion industry?”
News outlets seem so distraught this story was brought to national attention by such a group and such an individual, why aren’t they doing this type of investigative journalism on organizations like Planned Parenthood?
While I recognize many news organizations are trimming budgets and cutting reporters, most still maintain investigative journalists who do this type of reporting. As an example, today The New York Times ran a follow-up piece detailing the impact of their investigative stories on nail salons.
I say stories (plural) because as best I can tell, they have done three previous stories (not counting the one today) on labor abuses in nail salons. I do not discount the work or need of such stories, but it seems odd that NYT could devote such resources in one area and never see any need to do any significant original reporting on abortion organizations and clinics.
Just recently, we saw most of the media blatantly refuse to cover Kermit Gosnell’s atrocities, even after he was arrested for murdering newborn infants and endangering the health of women coming to him for help. But as you can plainly see if you look even remotely past the surface, Gosnell was not an outlier of the abortion industry; he is the logical end.
Numerous crimes, health-hazards, and even deaths (beyond the human lives in the womb) have occurred regularly at abortion clinics across our country. In the midst of our national conversation on past racism, no reporter has discussed the virulent racism of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger. Yet, each time they are dismissed by mainstream media because the stories originate from pro-life sources.
It’s a nice shell game. The media can refuse to investigate Planned Parenthood or any abortion clinic, thus requiring any and all work is done by those who have personal, not professional, motivations. Then, they can dismiss that work because it didn’t originate with them.
If The New York Times, AP, Reuters, etc. want to go undercover and do investigative journalistic pieces on the abortion industry, pro-life activists will gladly allow them. But as of now, these groups are doing the job the media refuses to do.