A new conservative activist hidden-camera video dropped on the internet Tuesday as part of a multi-state effort to catch Planned Parenthood staff on tape offering assistance to men running a child prostitution ring. The immediate aim of the video and its wide distribution is to strip Planned Parenthood of government funding. The larger aim is to blow wind into the sails of the dramatic anti-abortion legislation the new Republican-controlled Congress has introduced that seeks to radically limit funding for abortions in cases of rape, end private insurance policies that provide abortion coverage and defund organizations that provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation but also one of the largest non-abortion reproductive and sexual health care providers coast to coast.
The rough edited video of an apparently criminally floundering New Jersey Planned Parenthood staffer posted today on Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment right-wing politics blogsite. The video is the work of Live Action Films led by pro-life activist Lila Rose. The video closely follows the pattern set by Breitbart and James O’Keefe in their debunked and illegal ACORN-sting videos, where the heavily edited footage appears to show a prostitute and pimp receiving advice on how to run their business from the low-income housing and voter-registration group staffers.
Live Action reportedly sent activists posing as sex traffickers into 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in six states this month– Virginia, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Arizona. When the pretend sex-traffickers began arriving at the clinics this month, Planned Parenthood filed a report with Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI, which launched an investigation. The FBI found no multi-state child prostitution ring. In its own dogging around, Planned Parenthood likewise found no sex ring but only links to Rose and Live Action.
As in the ACORN case, the video caught by Live Action would appear to be fairly damning and has already provided pro-life groups with plenty of ammunition against Planned Parenthood. Yet the country has learned much in the years since Breitbart pushed the hoax ACORN video into the mainstream mediasphere to such great effect.
After lawmakers and members of the media tried and convicted ACORN of grave wrongdoing according to the lightning-fast cable news schedule, evidence related to the ACORN videos was presented to judges working according to schedules and rules of evidence established by the law. Judges presented with the unedited footage came to a conclusion opposite the one rushed into by politicians and cable commentators. ACORN did nothing illegal. The tapes backed by Breitbart and edited by disgraced activist James O’Keefe, they said, were videotape patchwork stitched into lies. Indeed, judges on the east coast and the west coast suggested that, if there were any criminal wrongdoing captured in the tapes, it was on the part of O’Keefe, who had likely at least violated wiretapping laws.
O’Keefe was subsequently arrested for breaking into Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans, where he was again attempting to produce a hoax video. Breitbart was condemned for pushing the phony ACORN story and also for pushing an egregiously edited and defamatory video of U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod, a black woman who Breitbart made to seem an anti-white racist and who was fired as a result. Sherrod was no racist, a fact the full footage of the video Breitbart cut up and patched together to condemn her proved beyond a doubt.
In the Sherrod case, Breitbart was targeting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, making the argument that the NAACP is racist.
This latest video targeting Planned Parenthood, underlines a pattern: Breitbart-promoted undercover video “exposés” target organizations established to provide service to minority groups and the poor.
Live Action and Lila Rose have tried repeatedly to discredit Planned Parenthood, its videos thus far lauded by pro-life activists and dismissed by the larger public and media.
Planned Parenthood spokespeople told the AP that its management is investigating whether the New Jersey clinic employee in the latest video may have violated Planned Parenthood policies. The group will certainly have to ask for the full unedited video footage to make that decision.