Will the right-wing perpetrators and co-conspirators pay any price for their bogus smear campaign against Planned Parenthood?
Attack Of The O'Keefe Clones
Rob Tornoe, Media Matters for America blog (click to enlarge)
"Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky pledged to “introduce an amendment to pending Senate legislation to immediately strip every dollar of Planned Parenthood funding.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas called for defunding and for “an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee is undertaking an investigation, and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have ordered investigations in their states."
-- from the New York Times editorial "The Campaign
of Deception Against Planned Parenthood"
of Deception Against Planned Parenthood"
This is the story we should be reading today:
Today, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Rafael "Ted from Alberta" Cruz (R-TX), Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee (R-UpTheirButts), Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), and Gov. Booby Jindal (R-LA) all announced that they are quitting their jobs and contemplating applying a Second Amendment solution to ther personal shitsuckitude, on the ground that, while they have long known that they are enemies of all truth and decency, their role in the 100 percent fraudulent attack on Planned Parenthood is simply one monumental abuse too many, and makes their continued presence in public life, and probably life of any sort, not merely unjustifiable but intolerable to any person of even the slightest good faith. They all insisted on offering belated apologies for having been born, and everything they have said and done since.Instead, despite having been thoroughly discredited, this conspiracy of liars and imbeciles -- centered around a front group called "Center for Medical Progress," which appears to have no reason to exist except to spread likes -- not only will go unpunished but will likely remain lodged in the heads of the gullible targets of the right-wing lie factory as "truth." Yeah, Planned Parenthood gets rich by illegally selling fetal tissue, we got it on video.
No. Not true. None of it.
Let's jump to the conclusion of the New York Times editorial I've already referenced above, "The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood":
The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.Just to be clear: There's nothing ambiguous about this case. Two videos have been released which were fabricated by persons engaged in a calculated, knowing, deliberate fraud. Every second of time put into this scheme by everyone connected with the manufacture of the hoax had no intention except to create and disseminate a package of total lies for the purpose of creating a furor among gullible right-wing followers and also discrediting Planned Parenthood for no legitimate reason. (No, their hatred is not a "legitimate" reason.) There are probably crimes for which they could be prosecuted, but that won't happen, and the crimes they could be prosecuted for probably wouldn't carry much in the way of punishment -- certainly nothing like the punishment they deserve for the massive fraud they perpetrated.
Let's say it again: There is no limit to the contempt and loathing right-wing demagogues feel for the American they spend all their waking hours shitting on. They hate the people they manipulate almost as much as they hate the truth. But only "almost," because the people they manipulate are their key to power and riches, whereas the truth is always their enemy and must always be destroyed.
And in this case, it seems safe to say that as far as the bulk of the American public is concerned, the truth has been safely destroyed. The perpetrators of the fraud attempted to lure the Planned Parenthood people they video-recorded into some sort of misdeed, and completely failed. So they edited the video into lies. None of the accusations cobbled together is true. But right-wingers know that truth is for saps. They have something better than truth. Their ideological insanity.
Not just the perpetrators but their co-conspirators -- for starters, see the names up top -- will go unscathed. I suppose it could be said that the co-conspirators weren't part of the original fraud and had no way of knowing that every word they said was a lie. Except that the same thing happens almost every time one of these frauds is perpetrated, and these corrupt pols continue to trumpet every new one without regard to the quantity of lies they have already championed. There is, apparently, no limit to their passion for truthlessness, and there never will be as long as the American public not only tolerates but rewards their unremitting assault on truth and decency.
THE NYT EDITORIAL
The editorial does such a good job of "unpacking" the story that it really needs to be taken whole (links onsite):
The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | JULY 22, 2015
A hidden-camera video released last week purported to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. It shows nothing of the sort. But it is the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood, which offers health care services to millions of people every year. The politicians howling to defund Planned Parenthood care nothing about the truth here, being perfectly willing to undermine women’s reproductive rights any way they can.
The nine-minute video clip released by the Center for Medical Progress, an outfit apparently created in 2013, invites viewers to “Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their illegal sale of baby parts.” In it, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, is seen discussing the collection of fetal tissue in a lunch meeting with two people posing as potential tissue buyers. A second video, released on Tuesday, shows another Planned Parenthood staff member discussing fetal tissue.
After the first video’s release, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky pledged to “introduce an amendment to pending Senate legislation to immediately strip every dollar of Planned Parenthood funding.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas called for defunding and for “an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee is undertaking an investigation, and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have ordered investigations in their states.
The full video of the lunch meeting, over two hours long and released by the Center for Medical Progress after complaints by Planned Parenthood, shows something very different from what these critics claim. Clearly, the shorter version was edited to eliminate statements by Dr. Nucatola explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donation, which requires the clear consent of the patient. Planned Parenthood affiliates only accept money — between $30 and $100 per specimen, according to Dr. Nucatola — to cover costs associated with collecting and transporting the tissue. “This is not something with any revenue stream that affiliates are looking at,” she said. Under federal law, facilities may be reimbursed for costs associated with fetal tissue donation, like transportation and storage.
According to a letter sent by Roger Evans, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood, to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the video is a result of a yearslong campaign of deception. The head of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, created a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services almost three years ago for the purpose of tricking Planned Parenthood employees, the letter alleges, even setting up exhibits at Planned Parenthood’s national conferences. The letter also says Biomax offered a Planned Parenthood affiliate $1,600 for a fetal liver and thymus, presumably to trap the affiliate in the act of accepting a high payment for fetal tissue. The affiliate declined.
In a statement on its website, the Center for Medical Progress says it “follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work.”
Anti-abortion groups have long pushed to defund Planned Parenthood, even though no federal money is used to provide abortions. But that hasn’t stopped their efforts to shut down the clinics, which provide services like contraception, cancer screening and other tests.
The Center for Medical Progress — which managed to get tax-exempt status in 2013 as a biomedicine charity, according to a report by The Huffington Post — appears to have done little beyond producing the undercover video. According to its registration form with the California attorney general, it has three officers: Mr. Daleiden; Albin Rhomberg, who has participated in anti-abortion protests; and Troy Newman, the president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.
In a statement last week, Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that “our donation programs — like any other high-quality health care providers — follow all laws and ethical guidelines” and that “Planned Parenthood stands behind our work to help women and families donate tissue for medical research when they wish to.”
Researchers use fetal tissue to study and develop treatments for diseases and conditions like H.I.V., hepatitis, congenital heart defects, retinal degeneration and Parkinson’s. Last year, the National Institutes of Health gave $76 million in grants for fetal tissue research. Planned Parenthood is certainly not the only collector of fetal tissue — clinics associated with universities also supply tissue for research.
The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.
WHO OR WHAT IS THE "CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS"?
In real-world terms, there doesn't appear to be any such thing as the "Center for Medical Progress." As Amanda Marcotte reported on Slate, it appears to be a created-for-the-smear front created by a band of right-wing crazies called Live Action, which pushed the "news" hard while managing mostly to keep its own name out of the story. Amanda notes:
Despite years of effort, Lila Rose and her crew have never been able to prove any of their accusations of illegal behavior. The organization has a credibility problem, one that might have interfered with getting mainstream media traction for a video with its name on it. But the Center for Medical Progress didn't have the same name recognition problem—or it didn't until now.
Amanda's Slate piece is cited by Laura Bassett in the HuffPost piece cited by the NYT editorial, "Group Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Video May Have Tricked IRS, Donors," which notes that the IRS would have had no reason to understand CMP as merely a "front group" for Live Action "when considering the group's application for tax-exempt status, and not how the group originally presented itself to the public in soliciting donations." Laura cites reporting by the Bridge Project that it was granted tax-exempt status under a code used by the IRS for "biomedicine charities," as CMP claimed to be in a now-deleted version of its website viewable via the Wayback Machine. (There's a different code for nonprofit propaganda outlets like Live Action.)
Since being approved by the IRS in 2013 as a "biomedicine charity," CMP doesn't seem to have done anything except release these videos. The current site has a completely different "about us" description, claiming to be "a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity, and we oppose any interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings."
Of course if the IRS were to investigate the case and find that CMP has committed fraud, against both the IRS and potential donors, and apply the legally available penalties (shutting the operation down and seeking fines or prison time for the individuals responsible) the Right-Wing Noise Machine would no doubt howl about political persecution.