LAT Minimizes Child Abuse, More Bothered By 'Conservatives' Exposing It

On Sunday (4/26/09), the Los Angeles Times finally got around to looking into the issue of Planned Parenthood workers caught on hidden camera appearing to violate the law. Workers at numerous clinics around the country appear to be illegally advising girls they believe to be underage to conceal statutory rape. The Times profiled the hero of these undercover busts, Lila Rose, a 20-year-old student at UCLA ("Antiabortion movement gets a new-media twist"). Rose's pro-life mission that has been conducting these hidden-camera operations is called Live Action.Yet, rather than directing any real outrage at Planned Parenthood for concealing the despicable crimes of statutory rape and child abuse, the Times seemed more perturbed at the "conservative" personalities behind Rose and her efforts. From the article:

  • Last month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to suspend a grant worth nearly $300,000 to Planned Parenthood that was earmarked for sex education, not abortions. A conservative Tustin businessman raised the issue with Supervisor John Moorlach after meeting Rose and seeing her videos.
  • "They are on the lookout for me," [Rose] told an audience of conservative Christian activists at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington in September.
  • David French, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund ... appeared at [Rose's] side during an interview with conservative TV talk-show host Bill O'Reilly. She also receives guidance from CRC Public Relations, a Washington-area firm that represents conservative clients and had a hand in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that targeted Democrat John F. Kerry during the 2004 presidential race.
  • Between 2006 and 2008, Rose attended four workshops at the Leadership Institute, a Virginia-based educational foundation that teaches conservatives how to polish their communication skills.
  • In fall 2006, when she was a UCLA freshman, [Rose] and fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe came up with the idea to infiltrate clinics.

The Times also went out of their way to omit a lot of information that would be unflattering to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. For example, from the article:

Rose, by e-mail, and O'Keefe, in a phone interview, said they were inspired by the work of Mark Crutcher, a Texas antiabortion activist who in 2002 taped fake calls to hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country featuring women posing as pregnant minors.

What the Times failed to tell their readers is that Crutcher's investigation found that a whopping 91% of the abortion businesses did not comply with child abuse reporting laws(!).The Times also wrote,

In May 2007, Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles accused Rose of breaking state privacy laws when she secretly taped her interactions. It demanded she remove the videos from her website, which she did, though they are still easily found on YouTube. (Arizona, Indiana and Tennessee, where she went next, have less restrictive privacy laws.)

The Times didn't bother to inform their readers that a Planned Parenthood worker is heard on the tape telling a girl that she believes to be 15, "You could say 16…well, just figure out a birth date that works. And I don’t know anything." Such advice appears to be a clear violation of California's penal codes regarding the reporting of child abuse.And as we reported at the time, the Los Angeles Times did not publish a single article about this outrage, even though it happened right in their backyard.Rather than shine some light on the actions by Planned Parenthood workers that seem so illegal, the Times appeared more concerned about Rose and her operations.

For this story, Rose would answer questions only by e-mail. When contacted in December, she agreed to meet a reporter the next day but canceled, citing schoolwork, and refused to reschedule. She was subsequently advised by a publicist to communicate only in writing. She did not answer a question about who funds her work, saying only that she operates "on a very low budget" and uses "mostly student volunteers." Federal tax records for Live Action Films, created in 2008, are not yet available.

The Times wants their readers to forget about Planned Parenthood concealing statutory rape and child abuse. They'd rather try to marginalize Rose and shine light on Live Action's "federal tax records." Gee. What about Planned Parenthood's tax records?!By the way, the author of the Times' awful piece is staffer Robin Abcarian, who also penned an October 2008 hit piece on Sarah Palin (title: "Sarah Palin's college years left no lasting impression").(See also Matthew Balan's 4/27/09 NB post regarding this issue and US News' Bonnie Erbe. My take: It seems Erbe is more outraged at the crime of "trespassing" and so-called "fraud" than concealing child rape. If these were Catholic bishops or priests on these tapes concealing this awful crime, would it matter to Erbe, the Los Angeles Times, or anyone in the media who made the tape or what their agenda is? Of course not. Double ... standard.) 

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.