NY Times: Ripping babies apart not “subpar medical techniques”

For my first story at Live Action News, I wanted to take on a task that’s very close to my heart: setting the record straight for woefully misguided media outlets who report on our work. And on the scale of fish to fry, today’s subject falls into the “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” category.

Enter The New York Times. In a story titled “Undercover Video Targets Abortion Doctor,” Erik Eckholm sets up a miasma of weird assumptions, bizarre word choice, and flat-out omissions that begs to be contested.

Let’s start with the omissions. In analyzing a video on late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, we would expect the Times to provide the reader with…well, all the info (as we have).  But when it comes to Carhart’s sphere of influence, Times readers get only half the story: yes, he operates in Nebraska, where we filmed him, and yes, he’s got a troubling 28-week-limit abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland, where his handiwork sent Jennifer Morbelli and her daughter Madison to the morgue.

But Carhart also operates Affiliated Women’s Services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Granted, this one goes up to only 9 weeks, so there’s considerably less “meat” marinating in “Crock-Pots” there. But the Times might have seen fit to report on Carhart’s entire grisly domain – and, for that matter, the fact that he’s hoping to install new Crock-Pots in southwest Iowa. (Iowans, how do you feel about the guy who calls your pre-born grandchildren “meat” throwing a grand opening party in your state?)

(And by the way, the Times goes pretty easy on Kermit Gosnell, Carhart’s brother in “instruments,” as well. Gosnell’s trial “include[s] evidence of unsterile tools and untrained workers,” the Times reports, “and charges that he killed babies born live by snipping their spines[.]” No mention of Gosnell having killed a woman [or two].)

So let’s talk about how the Times treats Carhart’s vile and callous comments: “But in a few spots, Dr. Carhart seems to be trying to find simple metaphors, and uses language that his critics called grossly inappropriate and revealing.” So as far as the Times is concerned, Carhart calling a pre-born human being, fully developed, at 26 weeks’ gestation – whom he has just killed with an intrauterine poison injection and left to sit in the mother’s womb for three days – “meat” in a “slow cooker” is just a metaphor that Carhart is trying to find.

Well, three points here:

1. The comment sure is “revealing” – probably more revealing than Carhart (or the Times) would like. Meanwhile, Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications (How big is the communications hierarchy at Planned Parenthood, anyway?), offers a tepid finger-wag at Carhart’s “offensive and inappropriate comment.” Note well the singular – because by my count, there are at least half a dozen “offensive and inappropriate” comments in our Carhart release (and the transcript is full of them). So which one were you referring to, Mr. Ferrero – and more importantly, which ones weren’t you referring to?

2. Considering the “laying on of hands” photo of Carhart the Times elected to use, I’m surprised they used “metaphors” instead of “parables.”

3. Finally – and this is the editor in me talking – “It’s like putting meat in a Crock-Pot” is a simile, not a metaphor.

To bolster its parable…er, metaphor argument, the Times trots out University of California sociologist Tracy Weitz, who says, “Doctors struggle to find terminology to help a client understand what’s happening, and while it may seem wrong to us, it may be appropriate for that conversation[.]” That’s quite a lot of ambiguous language (in the editing profession, we call them “weasel words”) from Weitz. But there’s not much room for “may be” in this case. Are these particular remarks “appropriate,” or aren’t they?

Now, as I take a breath, I have to admit that as necessary (and fun) as it is to expose it, none of this substantial slipshod reporting even approaches the real problem. The real problem is right here:

The release, by the activist group Live Action, is part of a new effort by abortion foes to portray clinics that perform later abortions, in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, as being riddled with illegal or cruel practices. …

The new video captures the doctor, LeRoy H. Carhart, using some imprudent phrases while discussing the process of a late-term abortion with women posing as patients. At one point he describes a fetus that has died after an injection in the womb as softening like “meat in a Crock-Pot.” But the video provides no evidence of illegal action or subpar medical techniques.

…And that’s it. Nothing about our D.C. video, where abortionist Cesare Santangelo declares that he will not take any action to help an infant born after a failed abortion. Nothing about the Bronx worker who waves away the thought of a breathing, born-alive baby: “The solution will make it stop. That’s the whole purpose of the solution.” Nothing about abortionist Laura “we literally go in and grab and pull pieces out” Mercer’s acolyte stating flat-out that “[t]hey will not resuscitate.”

No, the gentle Times reader is led to believe that our investigation, with all its kooky allegations, can’t possibly have any merit, because look how by-the-book Carhart is!

See, here’s what the NYT desperately wants you not to think about: we’re living in a nation where a man can stick piercing instruments into a woman, snag her child, and rip his limbs off – and that’s legal. A man can shoot a long needle deep into a woman’s abdomen and stab poison into her baby’s heart (if he’s lucky – it’s more common for the needle to penetrate the head) – and that’s legal. That “pickaxe” and “drill bit” Carhart “tries to joke” about?  Legal.

The fact that Carhart’s operation is legal is the problem.

“In the video, Dr. Carhart repeatedly emphasizes that he must abide by the law[.]” Yes, NYT, that’s the problem.

“But the video provides no evidence of illegal action or subpar medical techniques.” Yes, NYT, that’s the problem.

One of Live Action’s goals in releasing this stomach-turning video is, as Tracy Weitz might say, “to find terminology to help a client [i.e., a customer] understand what’s happening” to her when she goes in for that shot, for that three-day dead baby, for those pickaxes and drill bits. We want Nebraskans to know what their daughters and grandchildren are in for when Carhart shuttles them off to abortion-tourism paradise Maryland to endure a gruesome procedure that the Cornhusker State abhors by law.

Yes, we’ve unearthed straight-up horrifying testimony from abortion facilities where staff are willing to commit the basest illegal acts, up to and including infanticide, whether the Times wants to report that or not. But you know what else is straight-up horrifying? The fact that our nation sanctions by law Carhart’s tactics – and that the “Paper of Record” sees fit to suggest that those tactics are “par.”

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