Only Fox News Reported Planned Parenthood Was Cleared of ‘Selling Baby Parts’

It really is hard to tell which is worse: the media ignoring this, or conservatives' attempt to spin it.
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It really is hard to tell which is worse: the media ignoring this, or conservatives' attempt to spin it.
baier

You might think that, on the heels of a terrorist attack in which the gunman specifically stated he was inspired to act by lies and false accusations, it would be a pretty big deal for the media to find out that those accusations were once again proven false. You would think that after Planned Parenthood clinic mass-shooter Rob Dear cited the lies of Carly Fiorina and scores of elected Republicans that the women's health organization was "selling baby parts" that a report by a Republican Attorney General completely clearing them of that charge would be worth reporting.

You would be wrong unless, surprisingly, you were watching Fox News this week and saw this:

"Ohio's Republican Attorney General says there is no evidence Planned Parenthood organizations in the state have sold fetal tissue."

There you have it, folks. Case closed. In fact, this is just the latest in a series of investigations, all of which have cleared Planned Parenthood, and none of which found evidence of Carly Fiorina's fantasy fetus kicking on a Planned Parenthood table to the strains of Kung Fu Fighting (or something). According to a cable news transcript search, Fox News was the only outlet to report on the investigation, although they only ran the one package.

Before you break your arm patting Fox News on the back, though, let me explain why the rest of the media is probably not reporting this, which is because they lack the courage or the skill to call out the bullshit that Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine attached to his report. In his very next breath, Brett Baier let the other shoe drop:

"But Mike Dewine says the group has been disposing of aborted fetuses in landfills, which is a violation of the law."

The only part of that statement that's true is that Mike Dewine said something, but I'll get to that in a minute.

In fairness to Baier, he might explain that he meant Dewine says the disposal is a violation of the law, but it sounds to the viewer like Baier's own conclusion. The facts are, though, that Planned Parenthood isn't disposing of fetuses at all, and those who are doing so are not violating the law, or at least not conclusively.

Dewine's own report says only that remains ended up in landfills, and that Planned Parenthood contracts with medical waste companies who perform the disposals, not that they performed the disposals themselves. The law he cites as proof of a violation is one which has no definition and no penalties:

“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”

...

The investigation showed that the disposal methods documented by the Planned Parenthood affiliates violate Ohio Administrative Code 3701-47-05, adopted in 1975, which requires that a “fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner.”

3701-47-05 Humane disposition of the product of conception:

(A) The fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner.

That's just a little bit subjective, but as long as they're not making Fetus Tartare or shooting them out of paintball guns, I think they're in the clear.

Well, that first analogy isn't all that far off the mark, if you listen to Dewine. Here's how he describes the disposal process his investigation "uncovered":

"I think it will come as a shock to Ohioans to find out that fetuses are being cooked and then they're being put in a landfill and they're going to be mixed in with yesterday's garbage. and whatever else goes into a landfill."

That's the way a resident of 17th century Salem might have described it, but those of us who have spurned leeches and ducking stools would say that the fetuses are autoclaved to neutralize any potential biohazardous effects, and disposed of in the same manner as all treated medical waste. The alternative to autoclaving is incineration (or as Dewine might call it, "Cajun-style"), or, you know, donating the tissue to help save lives. There is no process by which the biomedical waste is then mixed into a gumbo with "yesterday's garbage," it just ends up in the same landfill, just like the embryos from 94% of fertility clinics.

I'm not sure what Dewine is looking for, a fetus honor guard complete with tiny bagpipes?

Planned Parenthood of Ohio released a statement on Dewine's report:

In response to the report released by Attorney General Mike DeWine this morning:

"This is simply not true. Planned Parenthood has contracts with vendors to handle fetal tissue in a respectful manner and in accordance with the law. It is irresponsible for the AG to say otherwise."

This is where I would like to think the other cable nets are erring on the side of caution by choosing not to cover this story, because they don't want to fill the Rob Dears of the world with visions of Top Chef: Fetus, but I don't think that's it. The print and online outlets who have covered it have done a crummy, "he said/she said" job of explaining the disposal issue, and have almost completely ignored the fact that Planned Parenthood has been cleared of the Fiorina lie.

No, my suspicion is that explaining the realities of science to their audiences is too heavy a lift for them, and they are too afraid to be seen as defending a fetus fricasee. They just don't want to hear it. As a result, no one gets to hear that Republican Mike Dewine has cleared Planned Parenthood of a blood libel.

cross-posted from Mediaite