A Tale of Two Planned Parenthood Controversies: Wall-to-Wall Komen vs. Silence for Live Action
Editor’s note. This analysis by Paul Wilson of the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute first appeared on www.mrc.org/articles/tale-two-planned-parenthood-controversies-wall-wall-komen-vs-silence-live-action
Susan G. Komen Foundation withdraws its proportionally small endowment to Planned Parenthood, in just the first 48 hours, ABC, CBS and NBC devote four separate stories totaling nearly ten broadcast minutes to the uproar.
Pro-life group Live Action releases a video showing a Planned Parenthood staffer helping a Live Action actor obtain a sex-selection abortion. In the first 48 hours, the same networks aired no stories and spent no time on the controversy.
When cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure prepared to withdraw less than a million dollars of funding per year from Planned Parenthood, the three broadcast networks went ballistic, devoting a host of stories to the “explosion of anger” against Komen. But when videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood’s complicity in sex-selection abortions were released by a pro-life group, the major networks completely and predictably buried the story.
Pro-life group Live Action released a video on May 29 showing a Planned Parenthood staffer helping a Live Action actor obtain a sex-selection abortion. On the morning of May 31, they released a second video with similar content. But the networks buried the story: not a single second of coverage was devoted to the Live Action videos by ABC, CBS, and NBC, on both the evening shows of May 29 and 30, and the morning shows of May 30 and 31.
But it’s not as if the networks don’t think stories involving Planned Parenthood are important. AP broke the news on January 31 that Komen was going to cease allocating funds to Planned Parenthood. Within days, the networks launched a barrage of unrelenting negative coverage at Komen, until the group caved to intense media pressure and reinstated funding for Planned Parenthood.
In the first 48 hours alone after the news broke, the networks swarmed to Planned Parenthood’s defense. On the evening shows on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and the morning shows of Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, the three major networks did 4 full stories (not including brief mentions) about the Komen decision, and gave 9 minutes and 53 seconds of coverage to the Komen flap.
The funding Komen was prepared to withdraw from Planned Parenthood amounted to less than a tenth of one percent of Planned Parenthood’s yearly revenue. Yet the networks painted the Komen decision as a crushing blow to Planned Parenthood, claiming that the defunding would “cut off funds for critical breast cancer screenings.”
But a taxpayer-funded organization assisting the practice of sex-selection abortion has not garnered even a whiff of interest from the networks. This is unsurprising, considering the media has made a practice of burying controversies reflecting badly on Planned Parenthood. In 2011, when another Planned Parenthood video scandal broke, the networks were too busy reporting on every sordid detail of actor Charlie Sheen’s meltdown to mention it.
The major networks have chosen to act as press agents for Planned Parenthood, tamping down any hint of scandal that might harm the abortion giant, and amplifying the complaints of Planned Parenthood supporters.