I don’t write about instances of media bias that often. If I did I would write nothing else so I usually reserve commentary for local news organizations or for instances where it is extremely bad. Reuters published an article on the Planned Parenthood controversy that set off alarm bells in the very first paragraph
This is a great example of how news can be spun:
Women’s health group Planned Parenthood, under attack by anti-abortionists posting hidden-camera videos online, will be the focus of a partisan showdown on Monday in the U.S. Senate, with any wider influence on voters from the charge still unclear.
First, what do they do in terms of women’s health that is not provided for by others? They don’t provide mammograms; that is a false narrative that has been pushed by the left. Some clinics may offer breast exams, but that is not a mammogram. They provide STD screenings hardly the only ones who do that. They provide birth control, again not the only ones who will do that.
If Planned Parenthood ceased to exist today women, even lower income women, would have access to the non-abortion services Planned Parenthood provides through some other means. According to the Chiaroscuro Foundation, in addition to the tens of thousands of U.S. doctors and hospitals providing this care, there were 1,048 federally qualified health centers in the U.S. which provide women cancer screening, contraception, and STI testing. Chiaroscuro in their 2011 analysis also found, “Planned Parenthood is not a significant primary care provider for women In recent reports, Planned Parenthood acknowledges that it provided primary care only to about 19,700 of its 3 million unduplicated clients. These services have been trending downward for years, from 21,247 in 2007 to 20,235 in 2008, to today’s 19,796.”
So let’s not elevate their importance to “women’s health.”
They are also the nation’s largest abortion provider (one in four abortions in the U.S. have been done in a Planned Parenthood clinic). So at the very least Richard Cowen and Alex Wilts, the co-authors of this article, should have written “women’s health group and abortion provider.” Because, let’s be honest, two primary sources of income are from taxpayer money ($550 million of federal taxpayer money, who knows how much state taxpayer money they receive) and abortions.
Cowen and Wilts also wrote that Planned Parenthood is “under attack by anti-abortionists posting hidden camera videos online.”
Since Cowen seems to be ok referring to pro-abortionists as “pro-choice,” is it really that much trouble to refer to those who oppose abortion as “pro-life”? Also to say they are “under attack” gives Planned Parenthood victim status. They are not victims. The 327,653 babies they aborted in 2013 alone are the victims (by the way the only provided 1,880 adoption referrals in 2013, so much for “family planning”).
Planned Parenthood was targeted for an investigation by the Center for Medical Progress because it was suspected they were breaking numerous laws. Pro-Life Action has already demonstrated in the past how individual clinics and chapters have done so. Frankly there would be no controversy if the Planned Parenthood staff didn’t say anything controversial. The full videos are up for public perusal. No incriminating remarks have been taken out of context. Just because a camera is hidden does that make what the Planned Parenthood staff said untrue?
Cowen and Wilts continue:
The Republican defunding push follows the recent release of hidden-camera videos by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, attacking Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue to researchers.
Then they describe the videos this way:
In the videos, anti-abortion activists pose as researchers trying to obtain fetal tissue and, using hidden cameras, interview Planned Parenthood officials about potential costs.
Under U.S. law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from the sale of it is prohibited.
One video shows white-coated lab technicians picking through what appear to be aborted fetuses looking for intact organs. Text at the end of the video asks viewers to “Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their illegal sale of baby parts.”
No quotes from the Planned Parenthood staff except for quoting the Planned Parenthood talking points that they did nothing wrong.
What it does is pull the veil so those on the fence about Planned Parenthood can see, but they will actually need to watch the videos themselves because it’s clear they won’t get an accurate picture from the media.
Cowen then mentions the “partisan” showdown that is to occur today implying that partisan action is always bad. Bipartisan action is not always good, and partisan action is not always bad. Frankly with so many Democrats beholden to the abortion industry it shouldn’t be surprising that many will vote against Planned Parenthood. What I find interesting is how relatively few are coming out and actively defending Planned Parenthood.
I admit defunding Planned Parenthood will be difficult with a President unwilling to sign any bill that hits his desk and who will risk a government shutdown to keep the money flowing, but the press should report this recent battle accurately and it appears Reuters is in the bag for Planned Parenthood.
It must be nice to have the press and the courts in your pocket. So much for Reuters providing “intelligent information.”