Numb to the sale of body parts? Pretend they’re flags

The Center for Medical Progress isn’t finished documenting Planned Parenthood professionals talking about trafficking in body parts. Here’s today’s release.

News coverage? Journalist and commentator Mollie Hemingway has a piece in The Federalist today headlined “Ideas for reporters struggling to cover Planned Parenthood,” which indicates the apparent trouble her professional colleagues are having with the PP news.

Hemingway sees a difference between press coverage on CMS’s Planned Parenthood videos and another recent news story. Nine people in Charleston, South Carolina were murdered on June 17 by a white supremacist (I’m not even going to say “alleged,” in view of the shooter’s statements). The murders were followed by a controversy over the Confederate flag that (God help us) has virtually eclipsed the people who were murdered. What Hemingway cites from The New York Times gives you an idea of what she found:

“The New York Times has run stories and essays on the Confederate flag 149 times since June 17 (and only 39 of those mention [the murderer]), 41 of those in the first six days. That compares to three stories on Planned Parenthood during the same window, just 7 percent of what you’d expect if the New York Times considered those stories merely of equal importance.”


What would it take for the Planned Parenthood medical professionals in these videos to get the same kind of attention as the Confederate flag, never mind the Charleston murderer? Maybe if the health care [sic] professionals been discussing the sale of Confederate flags rather than body parts, they’d have been hounded out of their jobs and even professions by now. Would PP’s president have apologized merely for the “tone” of the conversations? Would she have doubted the veracity of a video showing her own employees if they’d been discussing procurement of a symbol of the slave-dependent Confederacy?

But no, Dr. Nucatola (the physician in the first video) wasn’t talking about flags. She was talking about intact livers from preborn children. She still has her job, and PP has circled its wagons. And now there’s a new phrase in PP’s vocabulary: “lifesaving medical research.” That’s what intact organs are for, and if you have a problem with that, then … I’ll let PP lobbyists finish the sentence.

Hemingway doesn’t stop with noting a disparity in news coverage. She goes on to suggest to her colleagues that there are some unexplored angles to the PP story. She lists a couple of dozen. For example:

“How far along in a pregnancy must a woman be for her child’s organs to be considered worthwhile for procurement, sale and transfer? How much does the value of a child’s liver, heart, lungs, etc., increase with time? Do the sales of baby organs form a significant enough part of Planned Parenthood’s business model to result in, say, filibustering of protections for late-term unborn children?…How did the Center for Medical Progress obtain the video? Who are they? Why haven’t the media ask[ed] tough questions of abortion clinics, historically? When Indiana passed a religious freedom bill, various media outlets roamed the countryside searching for vendors with religious objections to same-sex marriage, such as the owners of Memories Pizza. What questions might be posed to abortion clinic owners and managers around the country? Does the failure of the media to cover abortion well encourage undercover journalism operations, such as the one by Center for Medical Progress?”

I think this is too important to leave to The New York Times. It took a national reporter (Kirsten Powers) to shame major media outlets into covering Kermit Gosnell – but while the press benches at the Gosnell trial were nearly empty, the Philadelphia Inquirer was there to cover the trial, albeit as a local story. Maybe local reporters need to ask questions of local PP officials – questions like the ones Hemingway proposes.