Sunday Shows Let GOP Candidates Get Away With Lies About Planned Parenthood After Deadly Colorado Shooting

Sunday Shows Let Guests Falsely Claim Planned Parenthood Sells "Baby Parts"

››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

Following the November 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood location that killed three people and wounded nine others, three major Sunday political shows -- Fox News Sunday, Meet The Press, and State Of The Union -- allowed guests to hype the false claim that Planned Parenthood sells "baby parts" based on a series of deceptively-edited videos from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

Gunman Attacks Colorado Planned Parenthood Health Center

CNN: Shooter Refered To "Baby Parts" After Killing Three At Colorado Planned Parenthood. A gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 27, killing three people and wounding nine others. According to reports, the shooter "made remarks about 'baby parts' to investigators after his surrender" though officials say it is "too early to tell" what his motivations were:

What moved a man to kill three people and wound nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado has not been disclosed. But the suspect accused of carrying out the shooting spree, Robert Lewis Dear, made remarks about "baby parts" to investigators after his surrender, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Dear, 57, told them he has anti-abortion and anti-government views, but that doesn't mean those opinions were his motive for allegedly shooting up the Colorado Springs clinic on Friday, the official said. It's too early to tell, as investigators are still processing evidence.

After a nearly six-hour bloody standoff that left three people dead and nine others wounded, the accused shooter dropped his gun when a SWAT team drove up in an armored police vehicle, a BearCat, and cornered him, the official said. [CNN.com, 11/29/15]

Discussing Shooting, Sunday Show Guests Falsely Claim Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts

Mike Huckabee On State Of The Union: Planned Parenthood Is "Dismembering" And "Selling" Baby Body Parts. During the November 29 edition of CNN's State of The Union, guest host Brianna Keilar failed to correct Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's false claim that Planned Parenthood participates in "the dismembering of human babies and with the selling of body parts," instead moving on to Huckabee's anti-choice views on abortion:

BRIANNA KEILAR (HOST): Planned Parenthood seems to be -- well, it is blaming the rhetoric that popped up following the videos that came out that were taped, various videos of Planned Parenthood. And they say the rhetoric really has created this environment where this happened. Do you agree with that?

MIKE HUCKABEE: Brianna, I don't know of any pro-life leader, any -- if you can tell me one, please correct me, but I don't know of anybody who has suggested violence toward Planned Parenthood personnel or some act of violence toward their clinics. I have not heard that, not from one single pro-life person. I have heard universal condemnation, whether it's from the Centers for Medical Progress that put out the videos, whether it's from pro-life advocates. And I consider myself one of them. I know of nobody who has ever suggested that Planned Parenthood be the target of some type of violent attack. So, I think that's a little bit disingenuous on the part of Planned Parenthood to blame people who have a strong philosophical disagreement with the dismembering of human babies and with the selling of body parts to say that we would like to retaliate by sending some madman into a clinic to kill people. God knows that's not what anybody would want. And this person, apparently, from everything we know, very unstable person, and just a terrible tragedy, especially for that police officer and his family.

KEILAR: This shooting has certainly revived the debate over abortion. You support banning abortion by declaring that a fetus is a person that has rights under the Constitution. [CNN, State Of The Union, 11/29/15, via Nexis]

Donald Trump on Meet The Press: Planned Parenthood Talks Like They're "Selling Parts To A Car." During the November 29 edition of NBC's Meet The Press, host Chuck Todd failed to correct Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's assertion that "these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you`re selling parts to a car" and "talking about parts to some machine," instead moving onto whether Trump was surprised that Planned Parenthood was the target of attacks:

CHUCK TODD (HOST): We have reporting that he was talking about baby parts and things like that from law enforcement officials during his interview.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I will tell you, there is a tremendous group of people that think it`s terrible all of the videos that they`ve seen with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you`re selling parts to a car. I mean, there are a lot of people that are very unhappy about that. Now, I know some of the tapes were perhaps not pertinent. I know that a couple people running for office or are running for office on the Republican side were commenting on tapes that weren`t appropriate. But there were many tapes that are appropriate and in terms of commenting on and there are people that are extremely upset about it. It looks like you`re talking about parts to some machine or something and they`re not happy about it.

TODD: So that means you`re not surprised that someone might take an extreme reaction to this?

TRUMP: Well, this was an extremist and this was a man who obviously -- and they said prior to this that he was mentally disturbed so he`s a mentally disturbed person -- there`s no question about that. [NBC, Meet The Press, 11/29/15, via Nexis]

Hugh Hewitt On Meet The Press: Planned Parenthood Was "Selling Baby Parts." During a roundtable discussion about the shooting on the November 29 edition of Meet The Press, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt falsely claimed Planned Parenthood was "selling baby parts." No one at the roundtable corrected him, and instead the discussion moved on to the biography of one of the shooter's victims:

CHUCK TODD (HOST): Should we describing these - it`s interesting you say that. These are domestic terrorist attacks?

HUGH HEWITT: Absolutely.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Absolutely.

TODD: And we should be using that language?

ROBINSON: Absolutely. We should be. And you`re right to cite that earlier incident and this incident. They`re both domestic terrorism and terrorism incidents and we need to use that word. It`s a scary word for people, but that`s what it is. It`s violence to achieve political aim.

HEWITT: And a lot of crazy people out there are impacted by rhetoric and so when you...

TODD: Well, that`s what I`m thinking here. I`m wondering - we call it this, but you`re right. I mean, the mentally disturbed are the ones that are looking to create a rationalization for themselves.

JOE MCQUAID: Well, what was the impact in the 1970s when the rate of domestic terrorism in this country was far from what it is now? Much, much higher with bombings. And these were people with political ends, they weren`t terror...

HEWITT: Well, the rhetoric of the [Students for a Democratic Society] did have an impact on the Weathermen. They went underground and they did kill people. And that`s why rhetoric matters, but at the same time, we can`t sanitize an issue. I will talk about the Planned Parenthood practice. They were selling baby parts. I would be happy to engage people, but I think we do have to recognize there are disturbed people on both ends of the spectrum who can be impacted by this...

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, what`s fascinating was to see the internal video, the live camera security that Planned Parenthood now has, which is how the police were able to document in realtime where he was, where the hostages were, how to save people. The security that they have now...

MCQUAID: Well, they Officer Swasey, who gave his life, should be remembered this morning for...

MITCHELL: It`s extraordinary...

HEWITT: He`s a pro-life pastor.

TODD: Let me move a little bit and close it with ISIS. [NBC, Meet The Press, 11/29/15, via Nexis]

Carly Fiorina On Fox News Sunday: Planned Parenthood "Sounds Like" They Admitted They Sold Baby Parts. During the November 29 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace brought up the "alleged harvesting of body parts" by Planned Parenthood and failed to correct Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's false claim that Planned Parenthood's decision to no longer accept compensation for tissue samples amounts to an admission by the organization that it sold body parts:

CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): You have been one of the toughest critics, as we've said, of Planned Parenthood's alleged harvesting of body parts, selling for fetal research. Some of the pro-choice advocates are saying language like yours, not specifically singling you out, but language like yours, has incited violence. I'd like to get your reaction to that. But also, what would you say to protesters, people outside these clinics, about the limits of their opposition?

CARLY FIORINA: Well, first, it is not alleged. Planned Parenthood acknowledged several weeks ago they would no longer take compensation for body parts, which sounds like an admission that they were doing so. Secondly, this is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing the messenger, because they don't agree with the message. The vast majority of Americans agree, what Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong. That's why the vast majority of Americans are prepared not only to defund Planned Parenthood, but also to stop abortion for any reason at all after five months. So, what I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is, this is typical left-wing tactics.

WALLACE: And what would you say to the protesters, the people that are outside the clinics and oppose it?

FIORINA: Well, any protesters should always be peaceful, whether it's Black Lives Matter or pro-life protesters, protesters should always be peaceful and respectful. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 11/29/15, via Nexis]

Media Have Called Out Misleading CMP Videos And Multiple State Investigations Have Cleared Planned Parenthood Of Any Illegal Activity

Multiple Media Outlets Have Called Out CMP's Videos For Showing "Nothing Illegal" And Taking Planned Parenthood Staff "Grossly Out Of Context." Multiple media outlets, including The New York Times¸ The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast, have condemned the CMP release of deceptively-edited videos purporting to show illegal organ harvesting and trafficking by Planned Parenthood affiliates. After the first video appeared, FactCheck.org debunked CMP's claim that Planned Parenthood was "selling aborted baby parts," and detailed the ways in which the allegation was inaccurate and unfounded. The videos have been condemned for taking Planned Parenthood personnel's words "grossly out of context" and for showing "nothing illegal." The New York Times' editorial board wrote the videos were part of a "campaign of deception" and said those who use the videos for political purposes care "nothing about the truth." [Media Matters, 7/15/15; 7/21/15; 7/22/15]

Growing List Of Planned Parenthood Investigations Clear Organization Of Any Wrongdoing. The deceptively-edited and secretly-recorded videos released by CMP have spurred at least 11 states to launch investigations into Planned Parenthood's operations. Seven states -- Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Washington -- and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have all announced that they found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood or known violations of federal fetal tissue laws. [Media Matters, 8/24/15]

Julie Alderman contributed research to this item.

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