Liberal Media Defend Planned Parenthood, Censor Word ‘Baby’

You may have heard about the Planned Parenthood executive stressing special ways to abort babies without “crushing” them so that their organs and limbs can be harvested for researchers. The liberal media certainly have. But instead of condemning the shocking practice, they’re racing to defend it.

Liberal journalists tried to downplay the story. In reaction to the video, released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) July 14, they relied on euphemistic language. Baby parts were “fetal organs,” and the “selling” of those parts was assuredly “donating.” While journalists were admittedly squeamish, they argued they would have the same reaction to things like heart surgery and childbirth. In contrast, conservatives took to Twitter to attack the taxpayer-funded abortion giant.

The Washington Post

Beginning with The Washington Post, one very-nice-sounding headline read that the, “Undercover video shows Planned Parenthood official discussing fetal organs used for research.”

Also for the Post, columnist Petula Dvorak’s unabashed headline read “Planned Parenthood deserves to be supported, not attacked.” In it, she called the video “nothing more than another one of those graphic abortion protest posters,” or “[t]otally out of context and totally horrible.”

The Associated Press

Similarly, AP called the ripping apart of babies the “disposition of fetal remains” while, Wednesday night, NPR’s national correspondent Jennifer Ludden noted the video that “apparently shows” PP executive Dr. Deborah Nucatola “discussing how her group provides researchers with parts from aborted fetuses.”

Cosmopolitan

Cosmo’s headline claimed, “That Planned Parenthood Video Isn't the Scandal Abortion Opponents Are Making It Out to Be.”

“Now, frankly, I'm just going to yawn,” wrote writer Robin Marty. While she “shuddered” at watching the the video, she reasoned that “medicine overall is often gory and gruesome.”

Slate

Racing to defend barbarism, Slate’s Amanda Marcotte argued that all the video (“another masterful piece of propaganda”) does is gross out the viewer with the disgusting aspects of abortion.

Marcotte’s logic: “Abortion is gross, no doubt about it. It becomes grosser the later in a pregnancy it gets. But so is heart surgery. So is child-birth, for that matter. We don't deny people who need help in those cases because the help is gross.”

Besides abortion, she concluded that “[t]his latest attack” on the abortion giant was about “demonizing an organization that makes sex safer and easier, while making it possible for women to plan when they have children."

The Guardian

Jessica Valenti’s piece for The Guardian expressed the same sentiment. “Abortion is a medical procedure. The reality of those often isn't pleasant,” the headline of her piece proclaimed.

“I understand the discomfort, because I felt it too,” Valenti said about the video. “But I’d much rather be uncomfortable in a world where Planned Parenthood exists and provides much-needed care to those who need it than blissfully ignorant in a world where it doesn’t.”

Gawker

Also in defense, Ashley Feinberg wrote in her Gawker article that Planned Parenthood “is doing nothing even remotely shady,” holding that, “the donation of fetal tissue is no different than any other situation in which a patient might donate tissue to scientific research.”

The headline expressed the point, “No, Planned Parenthood Is Not Selling Aborted Fetal Body Parts.”

The Daily Beast

Samantha Allen’s article had a similarly themed title: “Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Sell Fetuses: The Real Story Behind That Shady Video.” She comes to this conclusion because “transferring human fetal tissue is legal in the United States provided that payments are for processing and transportation costs.” Because “processing” fees are always legitimate.

(CMP’s David Daleiden’s shared an ad from StemExpress, “one of the major purchasers of Planned Parenthood’s aborted fetal tissue," and explained that it "advertises 4 different times the financial benefit that Planned Parenthood clinics can receive from supplying fetal tissue.")

Other Commentary

“The political firestorm raises a question,” NBC News senior health writer Maggie Fox wrote, “Why would anyone use tissue from an aborted fetus?”

“It's because some scientists hope they might provide cures for a range of diseases from Parkinson's to crushed spinal cords,” she justified.

While Think Progress’ Tara Culp-Ressler used the word “baby,” she did so only in quoting others. The headline announced: “No, Planned Parenthood Isn’t Selling ‘Aborted Baby Parts.’”

For their help, Planned Parenthood rewarded many of these media outlets, in a piece entitled, “Media Weighs In: Accusations Against Planned Parenthood Have No Evidence.”

In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of the news shows from the three broadcast networks, only 39 seconds were spent on the story. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the video.

Conservative Response on Twitter

Though many of the far-left media outlets attempted to cast doubt on the meaning of the video, many other liberals were predictably silent, most notably President Obama and 2016 President hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Conservatives spoke out.

NARAL was outspoken, however, saying, “We stand with @PPFA. #Antichoice activists are using dirty tricks to try & deceive people.” (“Dirty tricks” like video and sound recording?)

Conservative candidates were far more outspoken than liberal ones. Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee called Planned Parenthood’s actions “disgusting” and “grotesque.” The former ordered a former initiated a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood about the affair.

Rand Paul published a series of tweets along with a petition to defund Planned Parenthood. Most notably, he asked, “Where are the hard-hitting questions for pro-abortion Democrats on their support for this kind of madness?”

Other conservative leaders jumped in on the conversation as well. U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (R.-Mich) promised, “Planned Parenthood video is abhorrent and rips at the heart. @HouseCommerce will get to the bottom of this appalling situation.”

2012 presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann asked a similar question: “How can the media NOT run this around the clock?” Unfortunately, this kind of omission is something we’re all too accustomed to seeing.

Actor James Woods noted the bias in coverage as well, tweeting, “USATODAY app features Bruce Jenner's latest dress selection, but makes zero mention of Planned Parenthood baby parts market.”

The liberal media were similarly hesitant to cover the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder of three babies. The trial, where witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming" in toilets “to get out,” attracted a mere 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.

Everybody Loves Raymond Star Patricia Heaton implored, “Dear MSM, please don't take as long to report #PPSellsBabyParts as you did with #Gosnell.”

Demand the media tell the truth about Planned Parenthood! Sign the Media Research Center’s petition here.

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture at the Media Research Center
Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a 2015 MRC Culture summer intern. He graduated summa cum laude in 2015 from The Catholic University of America.