Members of Congress Cite MRC, Slam Nets for ‘Practical Blackout’ of Planned Parenthood Vids

October 21st, 2015 11:27 AM

Members of Congress are speaking out against the “defense of the indefensible” – and calling out those in the media who refuse to do the same.

On Tuesday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and other members of Congress wrote to the presidents of ABC, NBC and CBS News regarding their “glaring lack of coverage” on the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of aborted baby parts. In their letter, they cited Media Research Center (MRC) data as evidence of the “practical blackout.”

Besides Rep. Gohmert, seven representatives signed the Oct. 20 letter sent to the three broadcast networks:

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)

These members of Congress addressed Steve Burke of NBC Universal, David Rhodes of CBS News and Ben Sherwood of Disney-ABC Television Group.

“[N]ational attention has been drawn to a collection of undercover videos exposing a gruesome network of trafficking of infant body parts in America by abortion provider, Planned Parenthood,” the letter began. “Astonishingly, your networks are effectively ignoring the entire affair, or worse, contributing to [the] defense of the indefensible.”

Citing MRC numbers, the representatives stated that in the two months after the release of the first video July 14,  ABC, NBC and CBS aired a mere one minute and 13 seconds of these videos (with audio) during their news shows.

“This amounts to 0.13% of the more than 16 hours of footage released by CMP,” they wrote, calling it “a practical blackout.”

Furthermore, they added, the video footage the networks showed was a “white-washed version” that censored “horrific elements,” including technicians “callously picking through a pile of babies legs, arms and hands in a Petri dish.”

The above numbers show a “glaring truth” about the networks’ priorities, the members wrote. “[R]ather than inform the public about the potentially unlawful activities of Planned Parenthood exposed in the CMP videos, network leaders have deliberately misrepresented the content.”

The videos “deserve to sit in the media spotlight,” they added. “We see no excuse for your failure to cover these stories and no merit to any claims that they are not newsworthy.”

The letter cited an August letter to the networks from MRC president Brent Bozell along with two dozen other pro-life leaders with the same complaints. “To date, those inquiries remain ignored,” the members noted. “Whether you think the Media Research Center deserves a response, Americans across the country certainly do.”

The representatives drew the following conclusion from the networks’ censorship:

In failing to cover this story, you provide unequivocal evidence that your coverage is politically driven and that journalistic integrity has been abandoned. It is imperative that you cover this dramatic assault on women and children. The public relies upon your national reporting of stories that affect our nation. We as lawmakers depend on the free press for the truth – at least about vital stories such as this. Please do not continue to deprive people of that. We urge your networks to shine your journalistic light where you have thus far shown neglect and darkness.

In an Oct. 20 statement, Rep. Gohmert added comments on the “glaring lack of coverage,” by citing MRC data and calling the networks’ blackout “appalling”:

It is absolutely outrageous that mainstream media stations such as ABC, NBC and CBS have chosen not to report on the disturbing undercover Planned Parenthood videos which depict the trafficking of infant body parts in the United States. These practices are not only grotesque; they shock the conscience of anyone who appreciates the miracle and beauty of a child.

Last month, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) similarly slammed media coverage of the videos by referencing MRC information.

Media History of the Planned Parenthood Videos

Since the release of CMP’s first video on July 14, the broadcast networks have proven hesitant to publicize the story – and when they did, they refused to even utter the word “baby.”

Two months after the first video’s release, MRC Culture found that ABC, NBC and CBS had aired a mere 0.13% of the CMP footage during their news shows – or 1 minute, 13 seconds of more than 16 hours.

From the beginning, the liberal media raced to defend Planned Parenthood. In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of news shows broadcast after the story broke, ABC, NBC and CBS, spent only 39 seconds on the first video. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the story. In the week after the first video, the networks gave a mere 9 minutes and 11 seconds to the story (in contrast, the nets devoted more than three times that to the Susan G. Komen controversy, when the charity temporarily decided to defund the abortion giant).

ABC, NBC and CBS prioritized animals over aborted babies, by covering the shooting of Cecil the lion more in one day than they did these videos in two weeks and in their reporting on birth of the National Zoo’s panda cubs.

Not only that, but also they refused to cover the tens of thousands of Americans speaking out against Planned Parenthood during nationwide rallies held in late August – except as a side note when CBS tried to connect the event to arson.

The media similarly stayed silent on the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell's trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming" in toilets “to get out,” attracted a scant 12–15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.