The undercover footage of Planned Parenthood doctors discussing fetal tissue harvesting has led to a congressional probe and reignited a national abortion debate, but The New York Times has barely covered the videos.
The following is an in-depth look at how the Times is covering the story:
Live Action News broke the first Center for Medical Progress (CMP) video around 8 a.m. on July 14, showing a top Planned Parenthood doctor Deborah Nucatola frankly discussing the gruesome ins and outs of fetal harvesting. The story was quickly picked up, but almost exclusively by right-of-center sites.
After 6 p.m., the Times ran a short Associated Press story about Republicans postponing a vote in the House because of the video, though the video is not mentioned until the sixth paragraph.
About an hour later, the Times ran another AP story that focused on the video but did not contain it, instead linking to the extended footage, which runs more than two and a half hours. And just before 10 p.m., the Times ran a Reuters story that did not link to either version of the video and was headlined: “Planned Parenthood slams secret video as false portrayal of fetus tissue program.”
Times reporter Jackie Calmes covered the story the next day in a piece that only linked to the extended footage, headlined, “Video Accuses Planned Parenthood of Crime,” with this lede:
Abortion opponents on Tuesday renewed their campaign against Planned Parenthood, with immediate impact among Republicans in Congress and the presidential race, after the release of a video that surreptitiously captured an official from the group explaining how it provides fetal parts to medical researchers.
All three stories briefly describe the content of the video and the CMP allegations. None quote from the shorter viral version, but the Times and AP do quote Nucatola unwittingly defending herself in the extended version: “This is not something with any revenue stream that affiliates are looking at — this is a way to offer patients the services they want and do good for the medical community.”
The Times did not put a reporter on any of the other eight videos released by CMP, although the paper has run hundreds of stories about or related to Planned Parenthood since their reporter covered the first video.
The Times ran an AP story and a Reuters story on the second video, and ran an AP story on the fifth video released by CMP. None of these link to either the cut or extended footage, and they are dominated by statements from Planned Parenthood and comments from politicians.
The editorial board sided with Planned Parenthood in a July 22 editorial headlined, “The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood.” The Times has run seven opinion pieces supporting Planned Parenthood from a variety of sources, and four from a pro-life perspective by Times columnist Ross Douthat, as well as back and forth commentary from readers.
The editorial wrongly stated that CMP only released full footage of the first video in response to pressure from Planned Parenthood (Calmes had wrongly reported the same thing a few days earlier). More than two weeks later, the Times issued a correction to both pieces.
Most of the coverage centers on the political fallout, with a heavy focus on funding battles at the state and federal levels, and a good number of stories on how the issue could hurt the GOP and Republican presidential candidates. Comparatively few stories focused on the congressional and state investigations into Planned Parenthood.
The New York Times did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Here’s a breakdown of all the headlines on the issue since the story broke (aside from those on the videos already mentioned), most of which are from Reuters or AP.
Planned Parenthood’s response:
- Planned Parenthood Says Video Part Of Decade Long Harassment : AP
- Planned Parenthood Official Says No Profit From Fetal Organs : AP
- Americans Back Federal Funds for Planned Parenthood Health Services: Poll : Reuters
- Planned Parenthood Leader Defends Group As Senate Blocks Bill To End Its Funding : NYT
- Planned Parenthood Alleges ‘Smear’ In Letter To Congress : AP
- Planned Parenthood Report Says Fetal Tissue Videos Were Distorted : Reuters
On CMP and the response from pro-lifers:
- California To Review Video Targeting Planned Parenthood [to investigate CMP] : AP
- Group Behind Anti-Abortion Videos Is Something of a Mystery : AP
- With Planned Parenthood Videos, Activist Ignites Abortion Issue : NYT
- Anti-Abortion Protesters Rally at Planned Parenthood Sites : Reuters
- Conservatives Target Bust Of Planned Parenthood Founder : AP
A number of explainers, primarily on the importance of fetal tissue research:
- Fetal Tissue From Abortions for Research Is Traded in a Gray Zone : NYT
- Human Fetal Tissue Long Used for Variety of Medical Studies : AP
- Fetal Tissue Research Declining, Still Important : Reuters
- Scientists Say Fetal Tissue Essential for Medical Research : AP
- Republicans Alter Script On Abortion, Seeking to Shift Debate : NYT
Dozens of stories on funding fights, including:
- White House Opposes Congress Cutting Off Planned Parenthood Funds : Reuters
- Taking Aim At Planned Parenthood, Republicans Use Familiar Tactic : NYT
- Donnelly Loses Treasurer Over Planned Parenthood Vote : AP
- Arkansas: Health Centers to Lose Medicaid Funds : AP
- New Hampshire: A Vote Against Planned Parenthood : NYT
- Justice Department Sides with Planned Parenthood in Louisiana Lawsuit : AP
Another dozen on Hillary’s response and how the issue could damage Republicans, including:
- Hillary Clinton Defends Planned Parenthood In South Carolina : AP
- Hillary Clinton: Republican Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood ‘Regrettable’ : Reuters
- Fear That Debate Could Hurt G.O.P. In Women’s Eyes : NYT
- Trump Bombast Overshadows GOP Challenges with Women : AP
- Clinton Likens GOP’s Views on Women to Those of Terrorists : AP
- Hillary Clinton’s Unlikely Ally: Republicans’ Own Words : NYT
Every headline on the Congressional probe:
- Congress to Probe Planned Parenthood Use of Aborted Fetus Tissue : Reuters
- Congressional Panels Will Probe Planned Parenthood Video : AP
- House Republicans to Investigate Planned Parenthood Over Fetal Tissue : NYT
- House Panel Wants to Interview Planned Parenthood Official : AP
- Republicans Seek Probe of Abortion Rules After Planned Parenthood Videos : Reuters
- U.S. Congress Inquiry Into Planned Parenthood Widens : Reuters
- House Judiciary Panel Sets First Planned Parenthood Hearing : AP
- Congress Starts Planned Parenthood Hearings, Accusations Fly : AP
Every headline on the legal battles over release of the footage, which CMP is so far winning:
- Court Bars Anti-Abortion Group from Releasing Videos : AP
- Anti-Abortion Group Is Sued Over Video Releases : Reuters
- Federal Judge Blocks Release of Videos By Anti-Abortion Group : AP
- Abortion Supporters Get Help From Courts In Video Fight : AP
- Judge Extends Hold On Recordings Made By Anti-Abortion Group : AP
- Planned Parenthood Asks Judge for Emergency Ruling : AP
- California: Judge Allows Release Of Secretly Filmed Videos : AP
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