NBC: 'Growing Demands' Komen Foundation 'Clean House' After 'Mistakes' Over Planned Parenthood

On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted the handiwork of Planned Parenthood's vicious attacks against the Susan G. Komen foundation: "The nation's largest breast cancer charity remains in turmoil tonight after a controversial attempt to cut off its funding of Planned Parenthood. Donations to the Susan G. Komen Foundation are down sharply in many areas."

NBC News, and Williams particularly, were quite complicit in furthering those attacks on Komen. On the February 1 broadcast, Williams declared: "A decision that's making a lot of women furious at the world's largest breast cancer organization. Why did it cut off funds for critical breast cancer screenings?"

On Thursday, correspondent Lisa Myers explained: "The organization known for its iconic pink ribbon is taking a hit where it hurts, at Races for the Cure around the country....Eve Ellis, a former New York board member whose family has raised or donated about $250,000, says she's closed her check book." Ellis lamented: "I've stopped giving to Komen because it no longer represents who I thought Komen was. And that, to me, is extremely sad."

Myers continued: "Komen's hierarchy is in turmoil....Three top executives have resigned. All said it was a personal decision, but had opposed Komen's recent effort to withdraw funding of Planned Parenthood....there are growing demands for Komen to clean house."

During the February 1 coverage, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards was brought on to denounce "a right-wing political campaign" that was "bullying" Komean to pull funding from the abortion provider. Myers helpfully pointed out: "Not long ago, Komen also hired a new Vice President, Karen Handel, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin, who strongly opposed abortion and vowed to defund planned parenthood during her campaign."

On Thursday, Myers did highlight some of the important charitable work of Komen, describing the case of breast cancer patient Roxanne Martinez, who received medical care through Komen funding. However, even then Myers remarked: "Martinez says she'll run at least three races this year and urges friends to forgive Komen's mistakes."

Not once during the March 22 report was Planned Parenthood described as controversial in any way or as the nation's largest abortion provider.


Here is a full transcript of the segment:

7:00PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The fallout for one of the biggest names in breast cancer charities and the women who may pay the price.

7:08PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Now to the politics of women's health in this country. The nation's largest breast cancer charity remains in turmoil tonight after a controversial attempt to cut off its funding of Planned Parenthood. Donations to the Susan G. Komen Foundation are down sharply in many areas. Now some top executives are leaving. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC's Lisa Myers.

LISA MYERS: The organization known for its iconic pink ribbon is taking a hit where it hurts, at Races for the Cure around the country. In southwest Florida, donations down almost 30%. Lafayette, Louisiana, down 27%. Fort Worth, Texas, race registrations down 40%.

JENNIFER WERSAL [KOMEN FOR THE CURE, FORT WORTH]: We do recognize that people are upset with Komen right now. Even on a local level.

MYERS: The biggest affiliate, New York City, just canceled its annual gala. The cause, a spokesman says, "We're not certain about our ability to fundraise in the near future." Eve Ellis, a former New York board member whose family has raised or donated about $250,000, says she's closed her check book.

EVE ELLIS: I've stopped giving to Komen because it no longer represents who I thought Komen was. And that, to me, is extremely sad.

MYERS: Komen's hierarchy is in turmoil. Today, the chairman of the board stepped down and was replaced by a previous chairman, who's close to founder and CEO Nancy Brinker. Three top executives have resigned. All said it was a personal decision, but had opposed Komen's recent effort to withdraw funding of Planned Parenthood. Recently, Nancy Brinker apologized to employees and volunteers.

NANCY BRINKER: We let you down. And for that, I'm profoundly sorry.

MYERS: But there are growing demands for Komen to clean house.

ELLIS: Nancy Brinker needs to resign and the board needs to be replaced.

MYERS: Komen officials acknowledge these are difficult times, but the board says it has complete confidence in Brinker. And officials warn that fewer donations will mean less money to help women who can't afford mammograms or cancer treatments. Today, this Maryland hospital provided mammograms for low income women, thanks to money from Komen.

JUDY LICHTY [WASHINGTON ADVENTIST HOSPITAL]: This year, we'll do an additional 600 mammograms from what we usually do.

MYERS: Because of the Komen money?

LICHTY: Because of the Komen money.

ROXANNE MARTINEZ: Ultimately, they saved my life.

MYERS: Roxanne Martinez of Fort Worth was pregnant when diagnosed with breast cancer, then lost her job. She says money from Komen helped pay for chemotherapy, medicine, and insurance premiums.

MARTINEZ: Knowing what I've been through, I know that the women's lives are on the line here.

MYERS: Martinez says she'll run at least three races this year and urges friends to forgive Komen's mistakes. Lisa Myers, NBC News, Washington.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC