Analysis

A comprehensive guide to Media Matters’ lies and spin on behalf of Planned Parenthood

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Pants on FireYet another undercover video is out introducing the world to the real Planned Parenthood and their associates. The worst revelation this time around pertains to babies who “just fell out” before they could be aborted…which, earlier videos suggest, is no impediment to slaughtering them anyway.

When not simply pretending they don’t exist, abortion apologists’ standard response to the videos has been to incessantly repeat “deceptively edited!” as if they’re magic words that make the videos’ content simply disappear. That works fine for the abortion faithful, but to everyone else, it just raises a red flag as the apologists tend to never specify what the “deceptive edits” are.

Enter the shameless pro-abortion propagandists of Media Matters, who’ve decided to fill that particular void with a “comprehensive guide” on how the Center for Medical Progress has supposedly misrepresented poor Planned Parenthood.

Video One: Media Matters’ Own Context Omission

Media Matters claims the transcript of the first video undermines allegations of profiting off fetal organs by revealing that Dr. Deborah Nucatola said that “this should not be seen as a new revenue stream, because that’s not what it is,” and that “nobody should be selling tissue, that’s just not the goal here.”

Nice try, but it depends on Media Matters engaging in a little context omission of their own.

First, while CMP mentioned that selling fetal tissue was a crime in their press release with the video, their actual focus was Nucatola’s admission that Planned Parenthood alters procedures and performs partial-birth abortions to obtain organs – crimes MM doesn’t mention. The question of profit came to the forefront with the StemExpress flyer CMP released on the same day repeatedly advertising the “financially profitable” nature of partnering with them on fetal organ procurement – which MM also doesn’t mention – and with the far more explicit statements in subsequent videos.

Second, Nucatola also says she doesn’t “think it’s a reservations issue so much as a perception issue,” and talks at length about how PP affiliates “want to come to a number that doesn’t look like they’re making money,” that “looks like it is a reasonable number for the effort that is allotted on their part” (emphasis added).

The context doesn’t prove that Planned Parenthood isn’t interested in profit; it just suggests they’re savvy about hiding it.

Video Two: Media Matters’ Complete Nonsense

Next, Media Matters claims the most explosive sound bytes of video #2 were “were cherry-picked to give the impression of illegal activity that was not taking place.” Of course, they don’t explain how the context of those statements — Dr. Mary Gatter saying “in negotiations whoever throws out the figure first is at a loss,” “it has to be big enough that it’s worthwhile for me,” and “we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini” — could possibly make them sound innocent. That’s because they can’t, for the simple fact that there is no negotiating or consideration of “worthwhile” in cost reimbursement; there’s tallying up expenses, and that’s it.

MM also alleges that the context reveals that Gatter’s statement, “logistically it was very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything. So there was compensation for this,” alludes not to organ procurement, but “the process of obtaining consent and sorting donations”…which is nonsense. Here’s that sentence without its first two-thirds chopped off:

So Heather, a Novogenix person would come to the site, and our staff would sign the patients up, and get consent. Heather would look at the tissue and take what she required, so logistically it was very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything.

“Take what she required.” Novogenix is another tissue procurement company, and the baby parts are exactly what she’s talking about.

MM also tries to spin Gatter’s explicit talk of altering procedures to “increase the odds that it will come out as an intact specimen” — which Gatter outright admits is “violating the protocol that says to the patient, ‘We’re not doing anything different in our care of you'” — by pointing out that “the longer video shows Gatter reiterating that she cannot modify procedure herself and that she would have to consult with a surgeon.”

No, she just repeatedly says she’s perfectly willing to ask her abortionist to do it. This is what’s known as a distinction without a difference. It’s also immaterial, because her abortionist isn’t legally supposed to even know whether the baby he’s killing is up for donation, precisely to prevent conflicts of interest like this.

Video Three: Media Matters Ignores Testimony

We then turn to the third video, which MM claims actually exonerates Planned Parenthood because it contains whistleblower Holly O’Donnell saying StemExpress “partner[s] with Planned Parenthood and they get part of the money because we pay them to use their facilities and they get paid from it. They get some kind of benefit.”

But as anyone can see, this does not say the “only” benefit is cost reimbursement. Indeed, the rest of O’Donnell’s testimony — about StemExpress “looking for someone who could get as much money” as possible, SE owner Cate Dyer “making a lot of money based off the poor girls who half the time don’t even want to get abortions,” and Planned Parenthood personnel being adamant about making sure every last scrap of “tissue” was accounted for because “for whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage” — make that clear.

Video Four: Media Matters Doesn’t Understand “Illegal”

Next comes video #4, which MM claims “does not show any evidence of illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood” — that is, if you just ignore Dr. Savita Ginde’s talk of getting an “intact” baby “if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure,” “training” abortionists “to make sure that they don’t crush” organs, or categorizing all this under “research” for appearances even though she concedes it’s not.

They also seize upon Ginde’s talk of “processing and time” to make the baseless leap that the money goes no further than that — when, again, the other videos show it does.

Video Five: Media Matters Cherry Picks Context

On video #5, Media Matters claims the context shows Melissa Farrell “explaining that everything done ‘is there for the safety of the patient’ and under ‘our standard process’ and that the clinic would not alter or delay a procedure for the sake of fetal tissue donation.” But she says almost immediately afterward that that’s exactly what they do:

We can do it in a way that we’re still verifying that everything is there for the safety of the patient, but then we maintain the integrity of that sample. So yeah, that’s definitely something we can do. So as far as, this is our standard process, telling you then we can get creative about when and where and under what conditions can we interject something that is specific to the tissue needs.

CMP’s interviewer seeks clarification right away, asking, “can you get creative” or “adjust the procedure” if “we need a liver,” and Farrell immediately affirms that they can indeed. And again, MM simply ignores her talk of how “my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here.”

Video Six: Media Matters Doesn’t Care What Happened Inside Planned Parenthood

The sixth video revisits Holly O’Donnell, who says “if there was a higher gestation, and the technicians needed it, there were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know.” Media Matters incredibly claims it “offers no evidence that Planned Parenthood broke any law,” based solely on the fact that O’Donnell “never worked for Planned Parenthood.”

I don’t know which is more pathetic: their insinuation that her not being employed by Planned Parenthood somehow trumps the fact that she was physically present at one and personally witnessed what she’s talking about, or the implication that firsthand eyewitness testimony does not constitute “evidence.”

Video Seven: Media Matters’ Dismissal of Born-Alive Babies

Video #7 is part three of the talk with Holly, which MM claims fails to implicate Planned Parenthood in any illegal activity. Unless you count managing to restart an aborted baby’s heartbeat, raising questions of whether he or she was born alive before being killed, of course. But hey, why should that sort of thing give Media Matters pause?

Video Eight: Media Matters Only Wants to See Planned Parenthood

The eighth video is the final installment Media Matters mentions, and it’s here that they apparently decided that even faking honesty was just too much hassle. The only point they mention is that “no Planned Parenthood officials are seen on camera.” No, StemExpress’s Dyer “only” lavishes praise on Planned Parenthood for being a “volume institution” and suggests Planned Parenthood is satisfied that the enterprise “has been profitable for them” (the CMP actor’s words, which Dyer affirms). Totally different!

Conclusion

Media Matters pads things out by giving a shout-out to the “independent analysis” that supposedly cleared Planned Parenthood (which wasn’t independent at all), a round of “look at all these other pro-abortion hit pieces that agree with us!” regurgitating the smear that the Center for Medical Progress is tied to “violent extremists,” and noting that several state investigations have failed to find wrongdoing. But as Live Action’s own Danny Burton pointed out a few days ago, Florida inspectors found otherwise, and “California – where the majority of the Center for Medical Progress’s investigations revealed fetal body parts trafficking to be taking place – has thus far refused to investigate PP.”

Media Matters is a self-described “progressive” mouthpiece spawned by disgruntled leftist David Brock, Democratic operatives including Clinton Administration flunky John Podesta, and radical financial backers such as George Soros. Rather than an objective, principled watchdog of the powerful, it has gone so far as to coordinate with the Obama Justice Department to spin and discourage coverage of the White House’s scandals.

For anyone to turn to Media Matters as a credible voice on Planned Parenthood’s activities is a bad joke.

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