Lila Rose is back, accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects a recent Indiana law would have on health-care access, without actually demonstrating anything of the sort.
Instead, Rose has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood's concerns - that women on Medicaid who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive health care would lose that access under the Indiana law denying funds to Planned Parenthood - were accurate.
The video features Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, discussing Indiana's controversial law to withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood during a June CNN interview. Richards explained that she has received letters from women saying, "I can't believe that the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress is going to tell me I can't get - where I've been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control - and they are telling me now that I can't go to the health provider that I trust for my health."
Immediately after airing those comments, Rose played what she says is a recorded phone call to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a woman who claimed to be a Medicaid recipient tried to schedule a preventive health-care examination. A voice, identified as belonging to a Planned Parenthood clinic worker, responded:
Right now we can't see new Medicaid people, just with the new law that's going on right now.
She then directed the caller to contact a primary care physician.
To recap: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards warned that women would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventive care if they lost their funding. Rose claimed that she has "caught on tape" a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana saying that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. She then presented this as evidence that Planned Parenthood has been lying.
This type of deception is par for the course with anti-abortion hoaxster Lila Rose. Of course, the usual cast of right-wing media characters are once again promoting Lila Rose's false smears of Planned Parenthood.
From the April 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Tonight, Bill O'Reilly decided to promote the latest Lila Rose Planned Parenthood hoax video that falsely claimed to have caught Planned Parenthood's CEO Cecile Richards lying when she said her organization provides patients with access to cancer screenings including mammograms. O'Reilly said: "Apparently Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms" and "they called dozens, I guess, and none of them had mammograms."
However, this time Mr. O'Reilly was met with some (possibly unexpected) push back. His guests, Fox News host Gretchen Carlson and Fox News regular Margaret Hoover both disagreed with O'Reilly's arguments about Planned Parenthood. Carlson pointed out that Planned Parenthood "give[s] breast exams" and that Planned Parenthood "will refer you to a mammogram if necessary."
Hoover stated: "And what happens as a result of their screenings, they refer women to have mammograms." Hoover added that Richards "was not saying that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms." Carlson's and Hoover's case would have been even stronger if they had been aware that some Planned Parenthood affiliates do provide mammograms.
Amazingly, O'Reilly refused to be won over by the facts, and claimed that Richards statement was an "intentional attempt to mislead, and they caught her."
However, given how quick Fox News has been to run with Lila Rose's false smears against Planned Parenthood, it was astonishing to see Carlson and Hoover push back against O'Reilly.
In a blog post notable for its shocking simplemindedness, Breitbart blogger Lee Stranahan accused Media Matters of using "logically invalid, distorted, and deceptive argumentative techniques" to refute Lila Rose's latest video hoax.
The video, anxiously promoted by the right, shows Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards discussing how the organization provides millions of women with access to health care services, including cancer screenings and mammograms. Rose called a few Planned Parenthood centers, found out that they did not have mammogram equipment on site, and declared that this refuted Richards' comments.
As Media Matters showed, Planned Parenthood does, in fact, help make sure that millions of women have access to these services. This is, quite simply, not in dispute.
Enter Lee Stranahan and illogic.
From the March 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Why isn't Eric Holder's Justice Department investigating Planned Parenthood? Maybe because there's nothing to investigate.
A couple of weeks ago, Lila Rose penned a strange, thoroughly misleading letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate Planned Parenthood's alleged complicity in the sex trafficking of minors. Of course, Rose's letter could cite only two pieces of "evidence." Exhibit A: A series of videos that do absolutely nothing to support her outlandish and irresponsible claims. Exhibit B: A letter from Planned Parenthood alerting law enforcement authorities of suspected sex trafficking. Whereas Exhibit A is completely irrelevant, Exhibit B completely undermines Rose's case. If Planned Parenthood were aiding and abetting sex trafficking, why would they report suspected sex trafficking to the FBI? Rose's response to that simple question was completely incoherent, and only underscored just how ludicrous her accusations her.
So in a development shocking to no sentient being, the Justice Department will not be prosecuting anyone based on Rose's little conspiracy theory. And Rose, rather than just letting it go, has decided to accuse the DoJ of "looking the other way."
But Rose isn't the only person who's mad that the DoJ for deciding to spend their time on actual law enforcement instead of right-wing witch hunts. Glenn Beck, who previously gave Rose a massive platform on which to lob hysterical falsehoods at Planned Parenthood, had this to say:
BECK: Let's take a look here at Lila Rose. Here she is exposing Planned Parenthood. And when she did this, US Attorney General Eric Holder -- who said he's not pursuing the voter intimidation case down in Philadelphia or the Defense of Marriage act, which is the law of the land -- also says the DOJ is not gonna pursue this one either. No, he's not going to.
If you want one last example of just how untethered from reality the right's Planned Parenthood smears have become, here's a doozy: Beck also said Planned Parenthood "doesn't mind helping a pimp impregnating a 13 year-old with taxpayer dollars." Good luck figuring out what that means -- not even Lila Rose has made any accusations like that.
Beck is furious with Eric Holder for opting to not play along with two fake scandals dreamed up by the conservative fringe: Live Action's attempted smear of Planned Parenthood and the manufactured New Black Panther case. He's even angrier because Holder won't enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, despite the fact that Holder actually will. But the actual facts in these cases are irrelevant. All that matters is that the Attorney General refuses to turn the Justice Department into the enforcement arm of the conservative movement.
Glenn Beck devoted the February 18 edition of his Fox News show to promoting the false claim that Live Action's undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood abetting the sex trafficking of underage girls. Beck did not mention once during his hour-long show that, before any of the hoax videos were released, Planned Parenthood contacted the FBI to report the possibility that sex trafficking was occurring.
From the February 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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Lila Rose, having failed to produce results through her strategy of releasing innocuous videos and making stuff up about their contents, is now playing a different angle: she's dropped the whole pretense of "evidence" and is now just straight-up begging the Justice Department to investigate Planned Parenthood for reasons that make absolutely no sense.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Rose finally responds directly to the facts laid out by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecil Richards almost a month ago. In a January letter to Holder, Richards wrote that Planned Parenthood health centers had been visited by either suspected sex traffickers or undercover anti-abortion hoaxsters in "Arizona, Indiana, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, D.C." Richards asked the Justice Department to investigate potential sex trafficking based on those visits.
Rose replied (emphasis in the original), "Live Action did not visit any Planned Parenthood facility in Indiana. ... Since Ms. Richards' letter suggests that Planned Parenthood may have hosted actual sex traffickers at one or more of its Indiana facilities, and given that we have video and audio proof of its institutionalized willingness to aid and abet such sex traffickers, Live Action requests that your office begin an immediate and thorough investigation in Planned Parenthood of Indiana -- and elsewhere."
A few problems with Rose's letter. The most obvious one is this: Despite Rose's repeated claims to the contrary, she has never once provided "video and audio proof" of Planned Parenthood's "institutionalized willingness to aid and abet such sex traffickers." None of the videos she's released have even hinted that this is the case. In fact, the letter which Rose today finally responded to directly is the very same letter in which Richards reported suspected sex trafficking to the FBI. No matter how much Rose tries to confuse the issue, the fact of the matter is that reporting evidence of crimes to the authorities is pretty much the opposite of aiding and abetting.
But let's put Rose's prior crimes against logic aside and focus on the new information Rose presents in this letter. She claims that Live Action never visited any Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana. All we know about those visits is that Planned Parenthood says they happened -- and that Planned Parenthood reported them to the FBI.
So Rose's case amounts to this: an organization discovered evidence of a possible crime and reported it to the authorities; therefore, that organization should be investigated for possibly aiding and abetting. On what planet does that make any sense at all?
In an interview at CPAC yesterday, disgraced conservative video prankster James O'Keefe praised Lila Rose for her hoax videos attacking Planned Parenthood. After discussing their previous work together, O'Keefe said he thought Rose was "incredibly talented" and "just getting started." He also said that he was sure the "incredible" Rose would "change the world" on the abortion issue.
As we've previously documented, Lila Rose began her anti-choice activism as a protege of O'Keefe, infiltrating Planned Parenthood clinics. Like O'Keefe, Rose's videos are deceptively edited and her descriptions of them don't match up with reality. Both have been promoted by Andrew Breitbart as well, so if Rose keeps following the O'Keefe pattern perhaps an arrest is in her future.
Live Action's Lila Rose continues to misrepresent data in a desperate attempt to smear Planned Parenthood as a "friend" to sex traffickers.
Her latest "evidence" is an audio file of a short conversation that Live Action claims is between a woman who describes herself as a "sex worker" and a Planned Parenthood employee in Washington, D.C.
In a statement accompanying the release, Rose claims:
An institutional crisis has consumed Planned Parenthood at the highest levels. The reason their story has changed five times in reaction to our investigation is because they know they're guilty.
Sex trafficking in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years, and the pattern revealed by our investigation shows sex traffickers have no better friend than Planned Parenthood. Untold damage has already been done to countless girls and young women, whose safety and health are clearly at risk because organizations like Planned Parenthood provide confidentiality and safe haven for sex traffickers.
Yet again, she has utterly failed to show anything close to an "institutional crisis" in which Planned Parenthood is a "friend" to sex traffickers.
What this audio -- like all of the videos before it -- can't provide is anything to contradict the fact that Planned Parenthood contacted law enforcement and asked them to investigate potential sex trafficking before Lila Rose released any of her videos. Rose herself has even acknowledged this.
Yesterday, CBS Evening News lent its credibility to the thoroughly discredited hoax that Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood helping to cover up sex trafficking.
CBS reported that "in the past week" Live Action "released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers all too eager to help reported teenage sex workers get abortions and contraception" that are "troubling."
But as CBS's Jan Craword herself reported, Planned Parenthood "reported the incidents to Attorney General Eric Holder." Crawford did not make clear, however, that Planned Parenthood actually contacted law enforcement and asked them to investigate potential sex trafficking before Lila Rose released any of her video accusing them of covering up sexual abuse of minors.
This fact completely undermines Live Action's accusation that Planned Parenthood is helping to cover up sex trafficking.
What's actually troubling is that CBS is all too willing to promote Live Action's discredited videos.
Glenn Beck took a break from pushing Egypt hysteria today to field a call from fringe right-wing activist Lila Rose for quite possibly the most dishonest ten minutes of radio you'll hear.
The impetus for Rose's call was her thoroughly discredited video hoax, where she falsely accuses Planned Parenthood of covering up child sex trafficking. Of course, Rose's videos prove no such thing. Moreover, her claim to have exposed Planned Parenthood for "covering up sex trafficking" is completely nonsensical: it is an undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood officials had already contacted law enforcement officials asking them to investigate potential sex trafficking.
Not once during his interview with Rose did Beck point out this fact - a fact that completely contradicts Becks' own claim that "Planned Parenthood now is being exposed" for illegally helping sex workers cover up the abuse of minors. They're not. Beck also claimed that the videos show that pimps can "trust the people at Planned Parenthood" to look the other way when confronted with evidence of sexual abuse. The videos don't in any way show this - which is evidenced by the fact that Planned Parenthood officials asked the FBI to investigate a possible sex trafficking ring.
I don't mean to be repetitive here, but this is pretty critical information that Beck is withholding.
Yet, despite Beck's willful deceit in not disclosing fully established facts that belie his claims, he was the least dishonest person in this interview.
From the February 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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The right-wing's undercover sting campaign targeting Planned Parenthood failed in its attempt to unearth some sort of elaborate sex trafficking ring supported by the venerable health care organization. And the parade of hidden camera, pimp-n-hoe videos released by Lila Rose and Live Action failed to create any sort of large scale furor over the issue.
But what the heavily orchestrated campaign did accomplish was highlight the ways in which Fox News-friendly politicians often make use of the right wing's steady diet of undercover sting operations, and how once politicians take interest in the resultsthey help, in fleeting ways, to lend some much-needed credibility to the gotcha endeavors, thereby creating a self-sustaining loop.
In terms of Live Action, the first two undercover video were filmed in New Jersey and Virginia. After looking at the evidence, NJ's Star-Ledger called Lila Rose's accusations against Planned Parenthood "silly," while the Roanoke Times condemned Rose's gotcha work as "a lie." In other words, there's no there, there.
Faced with a gotcha campaign that didn't deliver much gotcha, the challenge is how to boost and extend the story. Enter Republican politicians who have a history of hyping Republican Noise Machine offerings. Politicians like Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who immediately jumped into the Planned Parenthood fray and helped juice the story.