A report conducted by expert analysts concludes that the recent videos targeting the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood were heavily manipulated and have “no evidentiary value.”
The deceptive smear videos, which have been posted online by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-abortion group, claim to provide evidence that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue for profit, among other accusations. However, an analysis conducted by Washington-based research firm Fusion GPS has concluded that the videos have been significantly edited, and that the transcripts provided are not accurate, thus confirming Planned Parenthood’s rejection of such vicious accusations.
“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” said the report.
Fusion GPS found over 40 instances in which the tapes were edited, including the so-called full versions of the undercover recordings. Interviews with Planned Parenthood were found to be missing over 30 minutes of material. This kind of manipulation makes the videos invalid as legal evidence. In addition, although CMP has claimed that one video shows Planned Parenthood technicians utter the phrases “it’s a baby” and “another boy” as they are analyzing tissue, the report shows that this is an illusion, and the audio is in fact unintelligible: “In our view, CMP created the purported statement, ‘it’s a baby,’ either through transcription error or intentional fabrication.”
The findings confirm Planned Parenthood’s claims that the smear campaign is a politically motivated attack that distorts reality in a conservative attempt to undermine an organization that supports women’s health. As Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said:
We’ve said all along that these videos were heavily edited to deceive the public, and that’s what this expert analysis now shows. The more the public learns about this fraudulent, baseless attack on women’s health, the better, and that’s why today we’re laying everything out for leaders in Congress and for the public.
David Daleiden, founder of CMP, began releasing the videos in mid-July, and plans to continue to roll out his materials piece by piece in the coming weeks. He is clearly attempting to manipulate not just the videos, but also Congress – the timeline for the video releases will lead up to the September 30 deadline for a government spending bill.
Sadly, the distorted videos have already made an impact amongst conservative Republicans, who have long waged a war against women’s health. Since the videos became public, many Republicans have called for an end to the publically funded organization. Speaking on Fox News, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul declared, “I’m going to do everything I can to stop it. We should stop all funding for Planned Parenthood.” Jeb Bush has even gone so far as to deny that Planned Parenthood has anything to do with women’s health: “they’re not actually doing women’s health issues.” As exposed by PolitiFact.com, if that statement is true, it’s hard to make sense of over 10 million services, not including abortions, that the organization offered in 2013.
Fortunately, although the smear videos may be fueling right-wing paranoia in some circles, a majority of Americans are still in support of funding the group that provided care to over 2.5 million Americans in 2013. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, over 70% of respondents, both Democrats and Republicans, were in favor of government funding for women’s health exams and other services.
It’s important to expose the lies that CMP are spreading as the Republican party threatens another government shutdown over their refusal to provide funding for services that are valued by a large majority of Americans.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.