Oops! NPR Mangles Planned Parenthood Sting Story, Is Forced to Correct

The pro-life group Live Action has posted an expose that should be deeply embarrassing to Planned Parenthood. In a visit taped on January 11, an office manager at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Perth Amboy, New Jersey greets a man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute by carefully explaining they want "as little information as possible" as they offer their contraceptive and abortion services, even as this pimp described bringing in underage girls as illegal aliens to be his sex workers. At NPR's blog The Two-Way, reporter Eyder Peralta picked this up and promptly mangled the facts.

The headline was "Group Behind ACORN Undercover Videos Sets Up Planned Parenthood 'Sting.'" Yes, "sting" may be what you call it when liberal journalists take a hidden camera to expose malfeasance, but if the videographers are pro-life, the word goes into quotes. Peralta began: "The same group that went undercover at ACORN offices back in 2009 is now going after Planned Parenthood." Wrong.

NPR was forced to correct: "An earlier version of this post stated Live Action was associated with James O'Keefe. They are not, and O'Keefe was not a part of this undercover video."

But Live Action is still upset at the new headline: "Conservative Group Sets Up Planned Parenthood 'Sting.'" They claim the label is wrong:

This title is still false as we have never identified ourselves as a “conservative” group. We are not conservative or liberal. Just because polls show that more conservatives are pro-life than liberals does not make our pro-life organization conservative. That is illogical. We are simply pro-life. So NPR, please stop arrogantly imposing your labels upon us.

Political reporters may find it natural to assign pro-life activists to the right, but not only are there pro-life Democrats and even pro-life socialists -- there's the problem that political reporters almost never describe "abortion rights" groups as liberals. In a 1998 study of newspaper labeling, MRC found about pro-lifers were described as "conservative" or some variant of it in 47 percent of stories, while abortion advocates were identified as "liberal" in 2.8 percent of stories.  

Kathryn Lopez of National Review was among the first on this expose and talked to Live Action president Lila Rose:

Rose believes that the innocent unborn need to be protected, but also has a great love for these women who find themselves in these clinics. “Every prostitute is a victim,” she says.

“Planned Parenthood could be the first line of defense,” Rose says, for an Asian girl smuggled into the country for sex. Instead, in this particular Pert Amboy clinic, a sex trafficker was coached into how to make everything “look as legit as possible.” Coaching. “For the most part, we want as little information as possible,” she explained. The Planned Parenthood worker’s only obstacle to providing him the full “streamlined” services he wants to keep his business running is some auditing details she’s worried they could get caught on for abortions of these girls, in the country illegally, under 14 and 13, needing abortions. Saying – laughing — “You’ve never got this from me. Just to make all our lives easier,” she hands the pimp the name of another, non-Planned Parenthood clinic, which can get away with more. “They’re protocols are not as strict as ours, they get audited differently.”

When asked how long a girl might have to wait to get back to the work of the sex trade after an abortion, two weeks minimum is the answer. He protests, “We’ve still got to make money.” The clinic worker understands his predicament and so advises that the girls can still work “Waist up, or just be that extra action walking by” to advertise the girls who are still at full-body work.

It’s chilling. It’s ridiculous to know that in the wake of catching onto Live Action’s fieldwork, Planned Parenthood has reportedly warned its clinic workers to know there could be cameras on them.

PS: For the liberal defense of aiding and abetting sex traffickers, see Gawker:

They got the office manager to work conspiratorially with them about how to avoid triggering state laws requiring that sexual activity among minors be reported to the state and to generally seem OK about dealing with people who seemed to be human traffickers. Which is bad! On the other hand: Do prostitutes have rights to STD tests and abortions? Do teenagers? Then what's so wrong about a Planned Parenthood worker offering to provide them?

...Anyway, social workers and anyone else concerned primarily with helping poor or underserved populations: Beware friendly pimps and hos. The GOP will be riding this trick for a while.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis