Turns out all the Planned Parenthood “sting” videos were deceptively edited. Will some mainstream reporters who legitimized the story care?

31 Aug 2015 06:32 am
Posted by: Donna


Planned Parenthood isn’t taking the bogus “sells baby parts!” attacks on them sitting down, and commissioned an independent expert to analyze the supposed full video footage released by the fake Center for Medical Progress outfit.

Per Sarah Kliff of Vox.com:

Planned Parenthood hired a forensic research firm to analyze about 12 hours of footage that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) secretly taped when it had actors pose as employees of a fetal tissue procurement company.

“This analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation, but we did identify cuts, skips, missing tape, and changes in camera angle,” the report from Fusion GPS, the firm that Planned Parenthood hired, concludes.

CMP took no steps to hide the fact that it edited its shorter, more widely viewed clips of undercover meetings with Planned Parenthood. The group interspersed news clips and overlaid text on top of the video; there’s clear evidence of production work.

But the group held that these “full footage” tapes were complete, unbiased presentations of its Planned Parenthood meetings. If CMP also edited these “full” tapes — ones that it told viewers were complete footage — then the group is guilty of deceiving the public the exact same way it deceived Planned Parenthood.

It appears CMS altered the transcripts they released in addition to the videos:

CMP has published, alongside its videos, what it has said to be full transcripts of each undercover meeting. It hosts those transcripts here. I relied on these transcripts for an article I wrote last week, particularly to double-check a quote I’d written down while watching the video.

The new report suggests, however, that the transcript has inaccuracies. Fusion GPS had an independent transcription agency make its own transcription. Comparing the two, it found that the CMP transcript had “over 4,000 words of dialog that does not appear in the independent transcript or the video.” In that dialogue, a Planned Parenthood official “allegedly discusses her ‘a la carte’ budget … and engages in a detailed discussion of intact fetuses and the use of medically induced abortions.”

This could suggest a few things. Most innocently it could show that CMP did a sloppy job transcribing the long videos. Or it could show that there is either fabricated dialogue in the transcript, or possibly transcription of dialogue that did indeed happen but was cut from the video labeled as “full footage.”

Per Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times on how it was CMP reps, not those of Planned Parenthood, who were doing the “haggling”:

From the start, CMP’s video campaign against Planned Parenthood depended on its target audience not taking the time to examine the complete videos or transcripts (or supposedly complete versions). That’s because its misrepresentations are evident, sometimes even in the short versions.

Consider the video of a Feb. 6, 2015, meeting between Planned Parenthood official Mary Gatter and two CMP representatives masquerading as reps of a company interested in buying fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood clinics. (One is possibly Daleiden himself.) CMP’s video is here. Its full transcript is here.

CMP’s heading on this video is: “Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods.” In fact, viewing the video and reading the transcript shows that all the “haggling” is done by CMP’s own people, who keep trying to get Gatter to raise her price for fetal tissue.

Contrary to CMP’s assertion that Planned Parenthood is aiming to profit from fetal tissue, which would be illegal, the transcript shows Gatter stating: “We’re not in it for the money, and we don’t want to be in a position of being accused of selling tissue, and stuff like that. On the other hand, there are costs associated with the use of our space.” The law says that providers of fetal tissue can recover their costs.

As for “changing abortion methods,” Gatter reminds them that the rules forbid changing abortion procedures to preserve tissue samples if it would alter the treatment of the mother. She doesn’t agree to do that, despite the wheedling of the CMP plants but says she would ask the clinic’s doctor if one or another technique would be equivalent. It’s a CMP plant who calls the distinction “technicalities.”

I am completely unsurprised at these revelations, as anti-choicers will sometimes freely admit that dishonesty is a perfectly acceptable means to the end of legal abortion. What I would like to see, and sadly probably won’t, is for the mainstream journos and pundits – you know, those who hold themselves out as objective arbiters of truth and reason – who ate up the bogus video “scandal” to take heed of how they were bamboozled by a bunch of misogynistic charlatans.

There is the potential of millions of women being harmed due to the mainstream media legitimizing the Center for Medical Progress the way they did. Not only because of the immediate threat to Planned Parenthood funding but also because of how it laid the groundwork for right wingers to push for ever more grotesque positions on abortion rights in the most widely public forums possible. Would Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee feel so comfortable proposing invoking the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to protect “human life” from the moment of conception at a nationally televised GOP Presidential debate? Would Marco Rubio feel so free to inveigh against rape and incest exceptions and Scott Walker to claim that exceptions for the life of the woman are never necessary at that same debate had so many in the mainstream media not so generously provided the CMP cretins a respectful platform and allowed them to spread ghoulish narratives about abortion? Doubtful.

It is one thing to acknowledge that people of good faith can object to abortion*. It is quite another to ignore how the organized anti-abortion movement has a long history of acting in bad faith and in a menacing manner toward women and their health care providers.

*I have always maintained that such people exist and have always maintained that such people should join with us pro-choice people in supporting sex ed, contraception access, and a safety net and not join with anti-choice people in opposing those things and in supporting criminal bans on abortion. This is not that hard.

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