In the first week of February 2012, the Big Three networks lunged to the defense of Planned Parenthood when the Susan G. Komen Foundation (very temporarily) withdrew its donation to abortion giant (about $680,000 the previous year). Network reporters whacked Komen, promoting “outrage and disappointment engulfing the Internet.”
But Mollie Hemingway of Get Religion pointed out that Planned Parenthood in Texas was recently forced to pay the state of Texas $4.3 million for Medicaid fraud. Where was the “outrage and disappointment” engulfing the media? The networks didn’t notice. Even the local newspaper coverage was terrible.
Hemingway noticed two small wire-service bulletins and ten reports from pro-life and Christian websites represented the media coverage.
Good for Reuters, I guess? Their story frames the fraud charge not as part of a national fraud problem for the abortion provider but as just the latest in a battle between Republican legislators and the abortion provider. But, again, at least they mentioned it. As for the Associated Press, their story is seven sentences long, includes no quotes, and could not be drier or less interesting if it tried.
It didn’t come up in my Google search but I thought I’d see about any stories in The Houston Chronicle. Well, that newsroom did report on it, sort of.
There’s a whopping four-paragraph story headlined “Planned Parenthood finalizes $4.3 million lawsuit settlement.” That was an update of the earlier story they ran — the seven-sentence AP story that said the settlement was $1.3 million. Way to put those local resources to work, fellas!
Planned Parenthood trotted out the usual corporate line that settlement wasn't an admission of guilt -- which might be the shriveled fig leaf the "mainstream media" would use to say it's not newsworthy. But wait -- Texas isn't the only state where this fraud might be occurring, as the Heritage Foundation reported:
Alliance Defending Freedom’s recent analysis of state and federal audits of family planning programs suggests that in 12 states, Planned Parenthood affiliates overbilled Medicaid for more than $8 million. One federal audit of New York’s Medicaid family planning program reported that certain providers, “especially Planned Parenthoods,” had engaged in improper practices resulting in overpayment.
Despite mounting accusations of fraud, the organization that performs roughly one out of every four abortions in the U.S. has continued to ride the waves of taxpayer funding to annual surpluses. During its last reporting year alone, Planned Parenthood received over half a billion dollars in taxpayer government funding, all the while performing a record 333,964 abortions.
Hemingway summarized it perfectly:
Isn’t it just fascinating, though, that a private breast cancer charity choosing to not give money to a massively federally funded group (that provides 300,000 abortions a year but zero mammograms) is top of the news for weeks — complete with breathless advocacy from reporters and anchors — but Medicaid fraud in the millions of dollars barely registers even the tiniest of blips in the news cycle? What’s the journalistic defense, if any?