Paul Wilson of NewsBusters writes about the lack of coverage of Planned Parenthood’s scandals and congressional investigation by the major television networks.
The excerpt below is a section focusing on AUL’s report and the subsequent investigation of Planned Parenthood started by Rep. Cliff Stearns:
Even a congressional probe into the finances of Planned Parenthood could not spark the networks’ interest.
Americans United for Life (AUL) published a report on July 7, 2011, alleging that Planned Parenthood engaged in potentially illegal activity – including the systematic cover-up of sex crimes and misuse of federal funds to support abortion.
The AUL report, titled “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” alleges that Planned Parenthood engaged in illegal and potentially criminal activities. It documents multiple instances where Planned Parenthood clinics allegedly covered up sex trafficking and child abuse and misappropriated federal funds for abortions.
AUL spokeswoman Kristi Hamrick told CMI: “Our report documents evidence of financial improprieties within Planned Parenthood and instances in which laws requiring notification of public officials of suspected sexual abuse were not followed. Congress has the right and the duty to make sure that all institutions receiving federal funds deserve that support.”
Congress has taken the report seriously. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL., chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for a government investigation of the organization, based on the findings of the AUL report. On Sept. 15, 2011, Stearns sent a letter to Planned Parenthood, demanding that the organization hand over its records to a congressional investigation.
Network coverage of the report and congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood has been sparse. The broadcast networks completely ignored the AUL report when it came out in July, perhaps because they were too focused on actress Mila Kunis being asked to the Marine Corps Ball. Ten stories were aired about Kunis’ invite in the week after the report came out – including an ABC interview with the Marine’s parents.
NBC briefly mentioned that Congress was investigating Planned Parenthood, in 80 words on the Sept. 28 “Today.” ABC and CBS did not mention the Planned Parenthood probe.
Even left-leaning MSNBC covered the Planned Parenthood congressional investigation, bringing on AUL president Charmaine Yoest for an interview on October 1, 2011.
Hamrick told CMI: “This report on Planned Parenthood is an opportunity for the media to decide whether or not it is an honest arbitrator in the abortion debate.”
The three major networks have made their decision. They aren’t.