Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Don't blame GOP as much as I do the media for #PlannedParenthood shooting. It was the media that gave the GOP a microphone for their lies
— SportsGirl101 (@Arianna8927) November 29, 2015
I blame both for contributing to the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting but SportsGirl101 does make an excellent point about the mainstream media’s complicity in anti-choice violence due to their giving them a mostly uncritical platform to peddle lies about reproductive health and insidiously attack women’s autonomy. Because it’s often done under the banner of “balance”, news people who do this don’t see themselves as playing an aiding and abetting role. But they are. Witness how it’s done in this Reuter’s piece:
Planned Parenthood said on Sunday that news reports that the gunman who attacked its Colorado health clinic had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest showed that the suspect was motivated by an anti-abortion agenda.
The remark attributed to suspect Robert Lewis Dear was an apparent reference to Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities and its role in delivering fetal tissue to medical researchers, a hot button issue in the 2016 race for the presidency.
“We now know the man responsible for the tragic shooting at PP’s health center in Colorado was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion,” the organization said on Twitter.
Conservatives have accused Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides a range of health services, including abortion, of illegally selling baby parts, an accusation it has strenuously denied.
This is a typical cowardly “he said, she said” elision of the facts that gives more oxygen to the lie that “Planned Parenthood sells body parts”, when numerous state investigations (by hostile Republican administrations, no less) have cleared the organization of such activity. Planned Parenthood is simply not selling baby parts for profit so there’s no reason to weasel out of stating that with “an accusation it has strenuously denied”, which sows suspicion and allows conservatives like Carly Fiorina to continue to make the baseless charges with impunity. Reuters can’t even bring themselves to acknowledge that the guy who said he shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic because of “baby parts” was probably motivated by the bogus video coverage. No, they put that on Planned Parenthood, making it appear to be solely their opinion, while managing the neat trick of getting out the “its role in delivering fetal tissue to medical researchers, a hot button issue in the 2016 race for the presidency” talking point like that’s an immutable fact of nature and not a matter of opinion.
From the very beginning the MSM have given the Center for Medical Progress charlatans a shocking amount of deference and credulity, such as they’d never extend to any other group making outrageous claims backed by edited videos and with a known advocate for violence in a leadership position in the organization. When the video “scandal” broke and GOP Arizona politicians predictably jumped on it to denounce Planned Parenthood and Democrats, Phoenix newscaster Brahm Resnik thought the most important question to ask on his Sunday Square Off political show was if Planned Parenthood was “toxic” to the Democrats. After which, he gave “pro-choice” AZ Republic columnist Laurie Roberts airtime to rend garments over “crushed baby parts” and the former AZ Right to Life director the opportunity to impugn Planned Parenthood and its President Bryan Howard.
As of this writing since the attack in Colorado, neither Resnik nor Roberts have made any statements about it on social media. It was the holiday weekend so perhaps one or both get around to a mea culpa for helping to stoke the bogus Planned Parenthood smear and in advancing the anti-choice cause. It’s not likely they will, though, because unlike Republican presidential candidates who (due to their unequivocal hostility to reproductive rights and embrace of the false accusations against Planned Parenthood) have at least been put on the spot to issue responses (self-serving and unhelpful ones that they are but, still), it doesn’t even seem to occur to MSM people that treating the Center for Medical Progress and their bogus videos as a legitimate story served to favor the anti-choice side.
Some MSM people are adding injury to their lack of self-reflection by really doubling down on the “both sides” equivalence. MSNBC afternoon anchor Thomas Roberts pressed NOW President Terry O’Neill about how the “rhetoric on both sides” has contributed to clinic violence and what the pro-choice movement needs to do to reach to the millions of Americans who oppose abortion (the opposite is rarely, if ever, asked of anti-abortion leaders). O’Neill politely but firmly rebuffed Thomas’ line of questions, but it was absurd that she had to spend time doing that.
Mark Sappenfield of the Christian Science Monitor took it one further by basically holding the pro-choice side equally culpable for Friday’s clinic shooting due to our unwillingness to find “middle ground” with anti-abortion forces. Neither Sappenfield nor the writers he interviewed gave any definition of what such middle ground would look like in practice. If the people who want women to be able to access legal medical procedures in peace did try to find middle ground with people who want to criminalize that and are sometimes known to resort to violence it might resemble a “middle ground” on domestic violence involving wives agreeing to work on getting dinner ready in time and not talking back so much.
Enough is enough, MSM. Either report on and discuss this subject honestly or stop. There is no “extreme” pro-choice position. We’re the moderates here and there have been 70,000 reported incidents of anti-abortion violence toward providers since the 1970s versus maybe a handful by pro-choice activists. There’s simply no equivalence and you are giving dangerous people cover by suggesting there is.