Media Matters is at it again, and boy, do they have a whopper for us today.
Their latest study, published on Alternet, makes the, er, creative claim that the overwhelming majority of cable news—not just their hated Fox News, but CNN and MSNBC too—is guilty of promoting “anti-choice myths.”
Yes, that would be the same media whose own voting habits and personal views are disproportionately pro-abortion; that presents Planned Parenthood as heroic; that dutifully pushes the abortion lobby’s misinformation on embryology, fetal pain, late-term abortion, abortion risks, Planned Parenthood’s crimes, taxpayer funding for abortion, pre-Roe history, and more; that promotes pro-abortion narratives, politicians, and personalities; that downplays pro-life activism while hyping pro-abortion events; that mocks the concept of pro-woman abortion opponents; and that ignored the Kermit Gosnell case.
At this point, it’s only natural to start squinting for a signpost up ahead and listening for Rod Serling to start narrating, but I assure you, we have not crossed over into the Twilight Zone. Somebody really did spend time and money on such an insane thesis, and really got people to publish it.
How do they rationalize this farce? For starters, by padding it out with some good old-fashioned sexism. You see, in the 1-year period they studied (March 2016 to March 2017), “men were participants in 60 percent of conversations about abortion and reproductive rights” (58 percent at CNN, 68 percent at Fox, and 57 percent at MSNBC). Never mind that at least half of those men were pro-abortion (and certainly way more than half at CNN & MSNBC); you just can’t trust someone who doesn’t have the right parts, chromosomes, or self-identity!
Almost as ridiculous is the “study’s”—and I use the term loosely—complaint that when the networks talked about abortion in the context of the presidential election, it was overwhelmingly to discuss Donald Trump’s position on the issue rather than Hillary Clinton’s. We’re apparently meant to infer that the consequence of this was their audiences hearing Trump’s eeeeeevil anti-choice rhetoric but none of Hillary’s compassionate wisdom, as if the media wasn’t nakedly trying to demolish Trump and boost Clinton.
Of course, the real reason for this discrepancy is obvious—they focused on Trump’s abortion positions for the purpose of painting him as a heartless lunatic who wanted to throw women in jail and just made stuff up about abortion, whereas Clinton’s didn’t need closer study because to them, there was nothing remarkable about her any-time, any-reason, any-method abortion fanaticism. That was simply the default position of any enlightened person in their eyes. She was the normal one.
Media Matters also whines that the “Networks Hardly Covered Anti-Choice Violence or the Economic and Logistical Barriers to Abortion Access.” Well, as far as violence goes, maybe that’s simply a result of the fact that—shocking though it may be, depending on what blogs one gets one’s fake news from—anti-abortion violence simply doesn’t happen often enough to warrant more mentions?
As for “access,” what the networks may have lacked in quantity (a point on which Media Matters’ counting strikes me as highly suspect), they more than made up for in pro-abortion “quality,” such as CNN and MSNBC celebrating when the Supreme Court chose “access” over patient safety when striking down Texas’s abortion facility regulations.
Notably, all of these complaints, even if one makes the mistake of taking them at face value, at best come down to a question of focus. Even if Media Matters was correct about all of them, it still would not show that the channels’ coverage of abortion tended to benefit pro-lifers, or that whatever pro-life messages that got through were untrue.
So let’s conclude our tour of this farce with the only part of it that really matters: Media Matters’ claim that 64 percent of abortion-related statements in the time period were “inaccurate” (38 percent at CNN, 80 percent at Fox, and 47 percent at MSNBC). They claim to have vetted the accuracy of statements falling into four categories: “the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), abortion funding rules, Planned Parenthood’s essential services, or late-term abortion.”
Predictably, they don’t bother to define their idea of “accuracy” in any of those areas, with the exception of CMP (I guess that’s a sign of how much angrier they are about it than they are about topics that don’t implicate their beloved Planned Parenthood in multiple felonies). There’s a reason for that, of course—in each category, Media Matters’ version of the truth is a lie. See here for the truth about taxpayer funding, here for the truth about Planned Parenthood’s “care,” here for the truth about late-term abortion, and here for the truth about a rich assortment of other abortion-related lies they’ve told over the years.
As for CMP and the baby-parts scandal, let’s return the favor for the special attention Media Matters gives it. They write:
Ninety percent of Fox’s statements about the discredited anti-choice group were inaccurate, with the network usually describing its work as “investigative journalism” or failing to mention that it had been refuted by multiple congressional and state investigations […]
This is a lie. Some state investigations have turned up empty-handed in states where CMP didn’t accuse PP of having an organ-transfer program in the first place. But most of the CMP footage was taken in California, which never opened an investigation into the charges.
As for the congressional investigation—a half GOP, half Democrat committee that was always going to be limited in what it could accomplish compared to an actual Justice Department investigation—rather than refuting the charges, it still managed to recommend “that prosecutors investigate one Planned Parenthood affiliate” and refer “a handful of other organizations for criminal or regulatory probes.” Here’s hoping Attorney General Jeff Sessions pursues a real investigation and prosecution sooner rather than later. Media Matters goes on:
Sean Hannity was the only host to invite discredited CMP founder David Daleiden on his show during the 12-month study period. On the April 4 edition of Hannity, the host gave Daleiden an entire segment to propagate his inaccurate, anti-choice claim that Planned Parenthood illicitly sold fetal tissue, which multiple investigations have disproved.
Naturally, Media Matters cites no sources for its claims that Daleiden has been “discredited” or that Planned Parenthood never “illicitly sold fetal tissue,” because they’re lies, too. First, the fact that the organization sold baby parts was never even in dispute—Planned Parenthood admitted it did so; it simply maintains that the amount for which it sold the fetal body parts only covered reimbursement and didn’t make them a profit.
Second, as detailed in my comprehensive deconstruction of Media Matters’ 2015 attempt to exonerate Planned Parenthood, multiple direct quotes strongly suggest that Planned Parenthood did indeed seek profit from the sales—Dr. Deborah Nucatola saying some Planned Parenthood affiliates would like to “do a little better than break even,” Dr. Mary Gatter negotiating prices because “it has to be big enough that it is worthwhile,” and StemExpress flyers advertising the “financially profitable” nature of partnering with them on fetal organ procurement.
No government investigation has turned up an innocent, lawful explanation for these comments, and neither Media Matters nor any other Planned Parenthood apologists have ever seriously accounted for them. As I explained in the piece linked above, the most Media Matters’ spin managed to do was show Planned Parenthood’s efforts to avoid the perception of profiting—not that they didn’t profit.
Many abortion proponents truly live in their own fantasy world, and Media Matters has a knack for unintentionally demonstrating just how detached from reality it is. That the movement’s propaganda organs can promote such baseless fictions with a straight face—and get fellow travelers to unblinkingly adopt them—is yet another demonstration that the cult of abortion cannot be reasoned with; it can only be defeated.