The Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray, distinguished himself last week by getting arrested in an act of "civil disobedience" reminiscent of the '60s. The mayor, six council members and more than 40 other protesters were detained by Capitol police for blocking the street to oppose the congressional budget deal that deprived D.C. of federal funds for abortions.
They were also protesting a mandate under the same agreement that revives a popular school choice program, the "Opportunity Scholarship Program," which allows poor children in failing schools an opportunity to attend schools they and their parents believe will give them the best possible education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had pulled the plug on the Bush-era program after pressure from the teacher's union which, in a reversal of Bush's "No Child Left Behind," behaves as if no child in a failing school should be let out.
"(T)his is a loving, caring Jesus," is how the New York Times recently profiled a leading man in a play about abortion written by a Notre Dame grad.
The script dialogue includes a woman asking Christ: "Did you ever say, 'I'm Jesus, and I say that stupid girls who let guys talk them into going to the back seat of their cars have to have babies?' Did you say that ever?"
Conservative author S.E. Cupp must have felt like she was getting tag-teamed Wednesday when she opted to go on the "Joy Behar Show" along side Jerry Springer.
The trio debated a number of issues including the Bush tax cuts, but the debate really got heated when the host brought up the Republican desire to defund Planned Parenthood (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Robert Redford’s period piece on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln hits theaters Friday, but one author who was featured on MSNBC thinks America is embroiled in a modern day “civil war” over abortion.
On the April 12 edition of “Martin Bashir,” fill-in anchor Richard Lui failed to challenge Stephen Singular, author of “The Wichita Divide,” on the illogical connection he drew between the man who killed Dr. George Tiller, who was known for providing late-term abortions, and pro-life advocates who are pushing to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
The sound and fury of last week’s budget debate came down to a dollar figure that some members of Congress could have covered by writing a personal check.
Elective abortions for poor women in the District of Columbia -- a central bargaining chip in the deal -- have cost the city $62,300 since August, city officials say.
In a national budget that is measured in trillions of dollars, that might not seem like much. But for this city, which raises $5 billion in tax revenue each year but does not have the final say over how to spend it, the compromise -- which restores a ban on the use of local taxpayer money for abortions -- served as a bitter reminder of its powerlessness.
NPR's Cokie Roberts hinted congressional Republicans were going to resort to extreme tactics regarding the debt ceiling on Monday's Morning Edition. Roberts noted the "rough votes" on the horizon in Congress, specifying the "debt ceiling that has to be increased, where Republicans have promised Armageddon."
Host Renee Montagne brought on the journalist to talk mainly about the recent proposed agreement on the budget between the Democrats and Republicans. Near the end of the segment, however, Montagne raised the other budget-related battles that are expected later in the year. Roberts dropped the biblical reference in her answer:
On Friday afternoon, Time magazine religion reporter Amy Sullivan briefly blogged her complaint about what she sees as hypocrisy from conservatives who oppose federal monies for Planned Parenthood but support federal support for faith-based initiatives.
"Money is Fungible," blared her April 8 Swampland headline. Well, "[o]bviously," she agreed, then carped that:
During an interview of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, CNN anchor Deborah Feyerick not only failed to ask Richards any tough questions about federal funding of the organization, but entirely misquoted the claim of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortions.
Feyerick began the segment attributing to Kyl a bizarre claim that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's funding goes to abortions. Obviously, that was red meat for Richards who dismantled the faux statement claiming that no federal funding goes to abortions.
The following is what Sen. Kyl said on the Senate floor: "Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don't have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol and your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."Sen. Kyl did not say that 90 percent of funding goes to abortions at Planned Parenthood, but that 90 percent of its services are abortions, another argument entirely.
In a live stand-up via satellite from the U.S. Capitol shortly after 11 a.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Luke Russert insisted that Senate Democrats were holding up approval of spending bills to fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year because they were pro-environment and for "women's health," the latter of course being code for the controversial issue of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
"Two very partisan political issues are essentially what is holding up whether or not there will be a government shutdown," Russert told anchor Thomas Roberts (emphasis mine):
NPR's Julie Rovner lined up proponents of the federal Title X program on Friday's Morning Edition, devoting most of her four-minute report to three employees at a Washington, DC health care clinic who all pushed for continuing the funding of the subsidy for contraceptives. Rovner left only 30 seconds for a conservative advocate of defunding the program.
During the bulk of her report, the correspondent featured Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Clinic in Washington, DC. She stated that it is locate in a "heavily Hispanic neighborhood" and accented this by playing a clip of one of the clinic's doctors, Andrea Anderson, speaking in Spanish with a patient. Dr. Anderson's female patient had a "sinus problem," according to Rovner, but continued by noting that the "family physician" also asked the patient "if she's happy with the birth control method she's using. Thanks to the Title X program, Unity has available a wide array of contraceptive options....Anderson says one of her favorite things about the family planning program is the way it lets her integrate contraceptive choices into her everyday practice."
In an interview with Congressman Mike Pence on Friday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer slammed a Republican proposal to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency: "...what it does not respect are women's rights, what it does not respect is the environment. Is it going to undermine potential success here if you force social issues on to the budget table?"
Brewer opened the 12PM ET hour segment with the Indiana Republican by blaming the Tea Party for the budget stalemate on Capitol Hill: "At issue, freshman Republicans, many with Tea Party support, who insist on slashing at least $61 billion. They also want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Social goals. Democrats are not on board."
Editor's Note: The following is a statement issued earlier today by NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell concerning an exposé of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ statements on CNN Headline News.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards appeared on CNN's Headline News channel claiming that de-funding Planned Parenthood would prevent if from providing women with mammogram services. This has been proven absolutely false. A group called Live Action has released an audio investigation with proof from numerous Planned Parenthood clinics whose staff clearly state they do not provide mammograms, yet the President of the organization went on national television and stated the exact opposite.
The evidence has been presented, and CNN’s Headline News (HLN) has the opportunity here to display true journalistic integrity. How will Headline News respond to the evidence of Cecile Richards’ lie on its network? We call on CNN’s HLN to correct the record, and it should be done by Joy Behar to her viewers. There should be consequences to lying on national television, and if CNN wants to maintain the respect and trust of their viewers, they should ban Cecile Richards and her lies from appearing again.
The Huffington Post reported "An anti-abortion group behind a controversial New York billboard targeting African Americans is now taking its message to the South Side of Chicago, in a billboard targeting supporters of President Obama." Next to Obama's face is the words "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted." The group Life Always will unveil the billboards on Tuesday.
"Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate. These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou," said Life Always Board Member Reverend Derek McCoy.
On Friday, Steven Ertelt at Life News, with video backup provided by prolife protesters who were on hand, relayed something New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg said at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in Englewood, New Jersey in response to the protesters:
They want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. These people (referring to the pro-life advocates) don’t deserve the freedoms in the Constitution, but we’ll give it to them anyway.
So how did the establishment press cover Lautenberg's tyranny-supportive remarks?
In the Sunday New York Times obituary for liberal Democrat 1984 vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, Douglas Martin presented her as "hounded" by sexist anti-abortion conservatives who would metaphorically persecute her to death:
The abortion issue, magnified because she was Roman Catholic and a woman, plagued her campaign. Though she opposed the procedure personally, she said, others had the right to choose for themselves. Abortion opponents hounded her at almost every stop with an intensity seldom experienced by male politicians.
Writing in The Washington Post in September 1984, the columnist Mary McGrory quoted an unnamed Roman Catholic priest as saying, “When the nuns in the fifth grade told Geraldine she would have to die for her faith, she didn’t know it would be this way.”
NPR's Liz Halloran touted the federal government's Title X subsidy of contraceptives as "largely noncontroversial" in a Monday article on NPR.org, despite the House of Representatives' 240-185 vote in February to defund the program. Halloran also quoted exclusively from liberal Title X supporters or from conservatives who had second thoughts about targeting the program.
It only took her two paragraphs for the correspondent to use this slanted label of the federal program in her article, "Abortion Foes Target Family Planning Program." She also highlighted the longstanding funding of "family planning programs that provide contraceptive and related health and family services to millions of low-income women and men" and noted how Title X passed with "bipartisan support in Congress."
Halloran continued that "Title X, which serves more than 5 million men and women annually, is on House Republicans' chopping block. Supporters of defunding have characterized it as an effort to strip funds from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that use other funds to provide legal abortions, without singling out any particular group. The House in February voted 240-185 to defund Title X in the current budget year." But instead of tracking down one of the representatives who voted for this, or from one of their allies in the conservative movement, the journalist turned to a Republican skeptic:
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Morley Safer interviewed New York Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan and pressed him on the his commitment to traditional Church teachings: "No question that you're conciliatory, that you like to have dialog, but underneath that you're an old-fashioned conservative. I mean, in the sense of right-wing conservative."
Dolan turned Safer's characterization around: "I would bristle at being termed 'right-wing.' But if somebody means enthusiastically committed and grateful for the timeless heritage of the Church, and feeling that my best service is when I try to preserve that and pass that on in its fullness and beauty and radiance, I'm a conservative, no doubt."
The Post dismissed as unprincipled and slippery the manner with which pro-life state legislators had pushed through a law that would require the Old Dominion's abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals:
Cizik, you may recall, is a bit of a media favorite because he hails from a generally theologically conservative tradition but has been moving leftward politically over the past few years.
Haffner is liberal theologically and politically, a Unitarian-Universalist minister and the former president of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a group that lobbies to end federal funding of abstinence-until-marriage sex ed programs.
As we've noted, the On Faith feature often skews liberal in theology and politics, and the Cizik/Haffner tag-team fits hand-in-glove with the leftward tack of the site.
Here's the duo's argument against defunding Planned Parenthood (emphases mine):
Wouldn't blame you for doubting this, so fantastical is the proposition. But Cenk Uygur has claimed that given the chance, unborn babies would oppose restrictions on their mothers' right to abort them.
Cenk made his grotesque suggestion in the course of discussing an Ohio bill that would forbid abortions as soon as a baby's heartbeat can be detected. Proponents plan to let a nine-week old unborn baby symbolically testify.
On Tuesday's World News, ABC's David Wright highlighted actress Jane Russell's "botched back-alley abortion in high school," which led her to push "hard to expand adoption," but he failed to mention that she described herself as "vigorously pro-life," and that she was a conservative activist.
Wright's report aired at the end of the evening news program. The correspondent spent most of the segment on Russell's movie career, specifically her roles in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Outlaw." Near the end, however, Wright noted that the actress was "also politically active," and continued with the abortion issue: "She wrote in her memoirs that a botched back-alley abortion in high school left her unable to have children. Throughout her life, she fought hard to expand adoption."
Michael Thurston of Agencee France-Presse took a similar path in his Tuesday report on the movie star, but more explicitly noted that Russell was not only pro-life, but also a conservative:
A Texas group put up a pro-life billboard with a provocative message showing a black girl under the words “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” The billboard was taken down a week later after pressure was applied by influential city officials.
Haberman hit out at the city’s phony facade of tolerance.
New York, never at a loss for self-congratulatory words, regards itself as the most tolerant of cities, a place where one may express any thought freely. It is true. In New York, one may articulate any idea whatsoever -- as long as that idea parallels popular opinion.
Stray too far from generally accepted wisdom, though, and you are asking for trouble.
Providing Washington Post Metro section readers a review of the just-closed legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly, staff writers Rosalind Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle today deployed some colorfully loaded language that portrayed conservative Republicans in an unfavorable light.
For example [emphasis mine], the "divided legislature reached a compromise on budget amendments that mollified Republicans bent on paring government to its core services and Democrats eager to restore spending on schools, health care and other priorities as the economy improves."
But what really struck me was the part a few paragraphs later where Helderman and Kunkle described the successful effort Republicans waged to pass a bill opposed by pro-choice activists and politicians [emphasis mine]:
While NBC was quick to cover a prank phone call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by a left-wing website on Wednesday, it did not give one word of reporting to a video sting earlier this month that showed Planned Parenthood employees agreeing to abortions for hypothetical underage girls involved in sex trafficking.
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News featured a report by correspondent Michael Isikoff, who argued that the prank call on Walker "provided his critics with evidence that his real motivation is what they've been saying all along, to crush public unions." On Thursday's Today, news reader Natalie Morales similarly declared: "Wisconsin Democrats say a recording of a prank call to Governor Scott Walker is proof that he plans to crush public worker unions."
You can lead a network to a story, but you can't make it report. Certainly not if the story reveals the disturbing truth about one of liberalism's sacrosanct institutions - the largest abortion-provider in the United States. The broadcast networks' coverage of the scandal and potential defunding of Planned Parenthood by the House of Representatives has been disgraceful.
On Feb. 1, pro-life activist group Live Action released a video covertly filmed at a New Jersey Planned Parenthood office. The footage documented a Planned Parenthood employee giving advice to a man posing as a pimp about obtaining abortions and birth control for the underage foreign prostitutes he traffics.
ABC's The View on Thursday neglected one side of the abortion debate by bringing on two staunch supporters of Planned Parenthood in Congress without any other guests arguing the pro-life side. As the two championed giving tax money to the abortion provider, Barbara Walters herself defended the organization, while Whoopi Goldberg assisted in spreading a falsehood about "federal dollars" for abortion (audio clips available here).
The show's co-hosts brought on Representatives Gwen Moore and Jackie Speier, two of the current "pro-choice" heroes in Congress supporting Planned Parenthood funding, near the end of their 11 am Eastern hour program to discuss the controversial issue. After playing clips from two of their recent floor speeches in the House of Representatives (they omitted Moore's infamous "ramen noodles" remark), co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck echoed her colleague Joy Behar's compliment from earlier in the week: "We're glad you're both here. Courageous, indeed, what you did to bring your own personal stories....I think it touched many women, including us."
Journalist Karen Hunter belittled Pastor Stephen Broden over his provocative pro-life billboard on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Thursday, calling the ad "racial," "sexist," and "completely offensive." Host Chris Jansing didn't do much moderating over the segment, essentially giving Hunter a pass for her statements and further pressing Broden on the billboard.
Pastor Broden is a board member of pro-life group Life Always that sponsored a billboard in New York City claiming that "The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American Is In the Womb." From the start of the interview, Jansing pressed Broden to admit that the ad may be offensive to minority communities.
"Can you understand why some people say this ad offends communities of color?" Jansing asked. She later turned to Hunter, who is a journalist and has co-authored multiple best-selling books with African-American celebrities. Jansing threw her a softball, simply asking her if she thought it racist, sexist, and/or offensive.
Catching up on an item from last weekend, Friday’s World News on ABC, Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, Saturday’s CBS Evening News, and Saturday’s NBC Nightly News all highlighted California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s defense of partial birth abortion as a procedure she had herself gone through as she berated New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith for describing the horrific nature of the procedure during a debate over federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The sympathetic treatment of Speier's outrage over having to hear the technique's description contrasts with media eagerness to describe rough interrogation techniques used on detainees in the War on Terrorism during the Bush administration.
These same shows devoted little to no time to showing Smith’s description of the controversial abortion technique or his reading from the book, Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who famously turned against abortion after observing the ultrasound of an abortion as it was carried out. Rep. Smith had given a speech on the House floor that was over eight minutes long.