While Republican leaders and the conservative media continue to try to capitalize on the fraudulent video "sting" showing a Planned Parenthood official discussing fetal tissue donation over a salad, the rest of the world is apparently unimpressed with the entire spectacle. The conservative group Center for Medical Progress released a video last week that purported to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing the "sale of body parts," a claim that fell apart as soon as anyone watched the unedited version of their undercover "sting."
The stunt did, however, get the story into the news, and gave abortion rights opponents a new bloody shirt to wave in their quest to defund Planned Parenthood, and to regain control of the collective American vaginae.
It has also given the political media another shot at Hillary Clinton, who strongly defended the organization during a campaign stop Thursday. On Friday morning, Bloomberg's Mark Halperin tried to cast Clinton's handling of the issue as a politically risky play to the base, and the completely fraudulent video sting as a head-scratching question-raiser:
"There are moral and ethical issues that should be front and center. On the politics of it, for Hillary Clinton, she did come in support for them, and make no mistake, despite the video, Planned Parenthood is extraordinarily popular with the people that Hillary Clinton needs to vote for her for president."
Of course, it matters a great deal if laws were broken (they were not), but Scarborough's premise is essentially correct, the point of this "sting" was not to uncover wrongdoing, it was to push soft supporters of abortion rights the same way they always do, with ickyness. Just like Randall Terry's fetus-festooned panel trucks, the point of this video was to show a doctor talking the way doctors do about any medical issue. Doctors are gross. I dated a nurse for seven years, and even with a "no shop talk during meals" policy, they just can't help themselves. Cecile Richards apologizing for a doctor sounding insensitive during a private conversation is like apologizing for a fish swimming.
But Halperin is dead wrong, there are no "moral and ethical" issues around this video, it is morally, ethically, and legally settled. This isn't about abortion (which is legal, but over which you could claim a legitimate debate), it is about the use of fetal tissue in research, and the costs associated with that. Preventing research would not prevent a single abortion.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood isn't just "popular with the people that Hillary Clinton needs to vote for her for president," it is popular with... people. Even after all of the press being devoted to the CMP video, and even after being asked a completely false question about "the sale of body organs from aborted babies for use in medical research," 53% of respondents to a new Rasmussen poll held a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, versus 37% unfavorable. From Life News:
The polling firm asked 1,000 Americans three questions. First, it asked: “Do you favor or oppose the sale of body organs from aborted babies for use in medical research?”
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the sale of body organs from aborted babies for use in medical research. Fifty-four percent (54%) oppose the sale of fetal body organs. But a sizable 22% are undecided,” the polling firm indicated.
Rasmussen followed up with another question referring to the body parts of aborted babies as tissue. That elicited even more support when it asked: “Do you favor or oppose the use of fetal tissue in medical research?”
“However, when it comes to the use of fetal tissue in medical research, 43% favor it, while 34% are opposed. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure,” Rasmussen reported...
...“Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters share a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, including 28% with a Very Favorable view. The organization is seen unfavorably by 37%, with 25% who hold a Very Unfavorable opinion of it,” Rasmussen indicated.
That result, even after all of the pollsters' efforts to push the anti-choice narrative, even after all the fugazi video stings, is almost exactly what it was in a poll conducted two years ago (53% fav-33% unfav), and three years ago. By an even wider margin, Americans have consistently opposed defunding Planned Parenthood, by as much as 69%. Planned Parenthood has also maintained this consistent level of support despite the fact that half of the people being asked do not even have vaginae.
The problem is that at least 70% of the people responsible for reporting on these stories are Testo-Americans, and so you get this kind of inaccurate framing. Stick a bun in Mark Halperin's oven, and watch how clear his reporting becomes.