As the media mouthpiece for those who are waging a war on women, Fox News has consistently waged on war on Planned Parenthood which is seen, by the anti-choice movement, as an "abortion mill" which uses tax dollars to "kill babies" rather than a place where low income women can access a range of reproductive health care services. In his vilification of Planned Parenthood, Bill O'Reilly has used the lies and propaganda of the anti-abortion movement. He supported the GOP effort to defund it. The Anti-Planned Parenthood sting videographer Lila Rose was warmly welcomed by Mike Huckabee. But these examples of anti-choice bias are from Fox "opinion" shows as opposed to official Fox news which is always "fair & balanced." (!?) Yet, Megyn Kelly used her "news" show to advance the newest anti-choice meme that Pres. Obama shouldn't be speaking before Planned Parenthood because they're just as bad as Gosnell. And, as we've seen on Fox opinion, any Gosnell discussion leads to the old Obama supports infanticide lie - a lie being peddled on a Kelly's fair & balanced "news" show!
As soon as the anti-choice zealots learned about President Obama's upcoming speech at Planned Parenthood, they went Code Red and sent out a media blast to their homies. And never wasting an opportunity to trash Planned Parenthood, they tried to say that Obama shouldn't be speaking to this organization because the Gosnell trial is still going on. Of course, Gosnell and Planned Parenthood have no connection except to the anti-choicers who see them as no different - but who cares about details when trashing Obama and Planned Parenthood. The false nexus also provided an opportunity to claim that Obama supported the same kind of thing that Gosnell was allegedly doing which is a big, fat lie. Aother lie, being exploited by Breitbart and Rush, is about how Planned Parenthood knew what Gosnell was doing "all along" but didn't report it. This was picked up by alleged "news" host Megyn Kelly.
Kelly reported, OMG, that Obama will be speaking at a Planned Parenthood event even "just as the group comes under fire [from anti-choice zealots] for "reportedly knowing about some of the horror stories from the Gosnell clinic but not doing more." Kelly cited a Philadelphia Inquirer story about how women showed up at Planned Parenthood with horrific injuries from Gosnell's clinic but they were told to report their injuries to the Dept. of Health and "that's about it." Kelly got agitated when she recounted the popular anti-choice, Fox enabled anti-choice narrative about the Florida Planned Parenthood lobbyist whose answer to a GOP "gotcha question" wasn't good enough - a narrative used, on Fox, to accuse Obama of supporting infanticide. Kirsten Powers, Fox's "pro-life" Democrat, validated Kelly.
Kelly said that "it's very in your face" for the President to speak before "such a controversial group, even if you support them, you gotta admit they're controversial." (Uh, no Megyn, we don't gotta admit it and it's only controversial because of you and your anti-choice pals.) Kelly, a lawyer, then described how Gosnell has "reportedly killed hundreds of not thousands of babies born alive" - an assertion not borne out by the indictment.
*Monica Crowley accused Planned Parenthood of using "self serving language" in their condemnation of Gosnell in order to "justify their inaction" about Gosnell. She then went for the metaphorical kill: “It’s no mystery why the president is speaking at this fundraising gala.” She added, “this is a man who has consistently supported this kind of thing." She claimed that Obama had the opportunity to vote for the Illinois born alive act. Kelly interjected "he didn't do it" and added that he declined, when asked, about the trial but "he had a different view on some other trials."
What "fair & balanced" Kelly didn't say was that "there was nothing" in the Philadelphia Inquirer article, which indicated that Planned Parenthood "had any detailed knowledge" of what was happening in Gosnell's clinic. Responsibility for reporting the abuses rested with Gosnell's patients and not with Planned Parenthood. Medical professionals do not have the responsibility to report on each other and if they do, they could be sued as their reports could be considered hearsay.
Also unsaid was that the reason why Obama didn't support the Illinois legislation was because the state already had a "born alive" act and Obama felt that this legislation, promoted by pro-life crazies and based on lies (Jill Stanek) would have criminalized abortion and forced doctors to revive no viable fetuses. She and her guests might have mentioned that the real issue here is accessibility and affordability of abortion for poor, desperate women. But for Fox, the real issue is promoting anti-abortion propaganda and defaming Obama. It wasn't Planned Parenthood's responsibility to report on Gosnell. But If abortion is criminalized, nice Catholic women with money, like Kelly and Crowley, would have a nice doctor do a legal "D&C." (wink, wink,) Other women would turn to doctors like Gosnell. Nuff said!
President Obama’s remarks today at Planned Parenthood directly addressed the bad behavior we’ve been noting here. He stated in more diplomatic terms that the anti-choice crowd pretty clearly wants to find any way they can to take us back to the 1950s, sending women who need abortions to back alley “doctors” like Kermit Gosnell. And he’s right. These guys have never been happy with the fact that abortion is legal and is protected as a right by Supreme Court rulings.
I agree with Priscilla that it’s outrageous to try to somehow tie Planned Parenthood to Kermit Gosnell. But that’s been the intent all along of the coverage the right wing has been giving the Gosnell case. The whole “outrage” silliness about networks not covering the trial was really intended by the right wing to promote the gory accounts of Gosnell’s crimes as typical of abortion clinics and of Planned Parenthood. No matter that Gosnell has been acknowledged as being a very rare case, one that was full of criminality under existing law, and one that tells a different story than the right wing is trying to spin. No, these guys just want to get the whole idea lumped in together.
And the continuing attempts to tie in the testimony of Alisa LaPolt Snow in Florida can’t be allowed to stand either. Snow was dealing with a Florida House bill (759) that GOP legislators crafted as an attempted public gotcha about fetuses born alive during a botched abortion. Except that 759 doesn’t establish anything not already covered by existing laws, including a federal law. (Aren’t right wingers supposed to not like adding more and more superfluous laws to the books?) The only difference was that 759 had a clause in it forcing the mother to surrender any baby born in this extremely unlikely situation and making it criminal for the doctor not to succeed in saving the life of that baby. Planned Parenthood opposed both of those bits of language, as the former was intended to publicly shame women who have abortions and the latter was intended to scare doctors away from their patients. The Florida GOP caved and dropped at least the former part of the language while softening the latter. At which point, Planned Parenthood dropped its opposition while noting the law is still superfluous.
So what does this have to do with President Obama speaking at PP today? Nothing, other than Fox trying to play the gotcha footage of Snow avoiding the pitfalls being thrown at her by no less than 3 Florida GOP state legislators. As I noted in the past, had she gone along with the semantics the GOP was using, the Fox News headline would have screamed that Planned Parenthood was admitting to infanticide. (The GOP legislators were trying to trick her into saying that the fetus was an infant.)
And Priscilla’s done a good job of showing that the Illinois state legislation was another gotcha attempt, which was sidestepped as usual by the Dems in that house, including President Obama.
Frankly, it’s disturbing how many times the GOP keeps trying this semantic game – proposing laws that are intended only to rile up their base but which have very little real effect in the end. They propose laws that are obviously objectionable and offensive to women, and then act morally outraged when they are called on their behavior. Or they act morally outraged when their political targets don’t take their bait.
In the end, the real purpose here winds up not being to get anything done but to do what Fox News does best – try to score some cheap political points at the expense of anyone they don’t like. In this case, it’s women who have abortions and politicians who protect womens’ rights. The GOP (and Fox News) knows that if they were to ever succeed in somehow banning abortion, the backlash against the GOP would be catastrophic. Women on all sides would oppose GOP candidates until the right to choose was restored, and the GOP brand would be tarnished for decades. They’d essentially be throwing away any chance at the Presidency or any voice in Congress for the rest of our lifetimes. And they know it. But if they bang the drum about it and chip away at the edges of it, they can rile up their base without ever having to take the big step that would finish them. Of course, some of the wackier GOP folk think they can get away with somehow banning it, but those guys are not taken seriously even by Fox News.