Another Fake Conservative “Sting” Operation

David Daleiden - The Face of EvilIt seems that the conservatives have done another one of the undercover videos that we so love from James O’Keefe. And here we have the same thing with questionable edits. But the main thing is that it shows Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood talking about selling fetal body parts from abortions.

Snopes gives the claim a rating of “undetermined” because they are careful and lack much of a backbone. But the article is pretty damning. To begin with, it notes that even in the full length video, it isn’t clear what Nucatola is talking about. But this should tell you everything you need to know, “Nucatola states a price of ‘$30 to $100’…” For body parts?! No wonder Planned Parenthood is in so much trouble: they clearly aren’t good at business if they are going to sell off body parts at this price.

Planned Parenthood has made clear what’s going on in a statement:

In healthcare, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality healthcare provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards…

So what’s with the money? Healthcare providers charge for the storage and transportation of the material. That’s why Nucatola said, “It has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there who is doing everything, or is their staff, what exactly are they going to do, is there shipping involved or are you coming to pick it up.” And certainly the people who have produced this undercover “sting” know this. Back in 2003, Planned Parenthood went through the same thing — being accused of selling body parts.

After Planned Parenthood pointed this out, the group (laughably calling itself “Center for Medical Progress”) responded more or less triumphantly. They claimed that the reproductive healthcare group had admitted to this heinous act of selling body parts. This is pretty typical of conservatives. Accuse an enemy of doing something that is completely standard and ethical, and pretend that it is a big deal. And it is: to conservative outlets. The Federalist reported, BLACKOUT: Media Go Dark on Planned Parenthood Organ Trafficking. Yes, if only the mainstream press would credulously repeat every conservative hoax, the world would be so much better! (Note: the mainstream press has on many occasions done exactly that.)

So what is this Center for Medical Progress? Well, it seems to have only been in existence for about two months. It is the brainchild of David Daleiden, an anti-choice activist. And Daleiden is — Wait for it! — a college buddy of James O’Keefe. So it’s the same old thing. Throw a bunch of tape together and hope that you can make the nation far worse off before anyone notices that it was a total scam. Will it work in this case? I don’t know. I thought International Business Times did a good job with the subject, Who Is Deborah Nucatola? 5 Things To Know After Planned Parenthood Director Is Accused Of Selling Baby Body Parts. But I’m a bit concerned about just how seriously The Washington Post took it, Undercover Video Shows Planned Parenthood Official Discussing Fetal Organs Used for Research. The fact that anyone is even talking about it is pretty bad. How long will these chicanery artists be given a fair hearing?


H/T: Paul Bibeau is a comedic genius with a bit of a political bent. He is, for example, the guy who brought us the hilarious Ayn Rand and L Ron Hubbard short stories. I don’t go to him for politics, however. But the other day he brought my attention to this, Snopes Thinks That Planned Parenthood Black-Market-Baby-Parts-Story Might Be Bullshit.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

9 thoughts on “Another Fake Conservative “Sting” Operation

  1. Like the “Center for Medical Progress,” so many conservative front groups have laughably euphemistic names. Some of these organizations utilize the clever tactic of giving themselves titles that imply grassroots support but in such a way that they cannot be accused of flagrant misrepresentation. The Wise Use Movement, for example, is an anti-environmental lobbying organization that is primarily funded by big lumber but is presented as a populist mobilization of workers victimized by big, bad government regulation. Another good example is The National Wetlands Coalition, which is another anti-environmental advocacy group whose agenda is to restrict or eliminate regulations designed to protect fragile wetland ecosystems. It is sponsored by a number of fossil fuel companies, especially those in the oil and natural gas sectors.

    All of these front groups have names that are vague and at least a little misrepresentative, but some are more deceptive than others. Take for example The Environmental Conservation Association: based on the name, one would assume that it is another environmental advocacy group. Harmless enough, right? In reality, it is “a coalition of farm associations, builders, and developers that lobbies against wetland protection legislation”[1], and is funded by big corporations, especially those in agribusiness and large-scale development. The Marine Preservation Association also has an agenda that explicitly contradicts that implied by its name. The MPA is a consortium of big oil companies that lobbies for the elimination of restrictions on the exploitation of offshore oil reserves.

    I find the whole tactic of using deceptively named front groups to be quite telling. The conservative movement does this because their agenda and policies are so vile and unpopular that there is no way they could endorse them explicitly and still maintain political capital. This represents a fundamental difference between the Left and the Right in this country.

    [1]Quoted from Communication and the Natural World by Judith Hendry

    • That’s a good rundown. It’s true: the hardest thing about being a conservative is knowing that you can’t be very honest because your ideas are really unpopular. Say what you will, at least Ayn Rand was willing to make the argument in favor of her totally elitist philosophy. All we get today is a lot of “compassionate” conservatism, which is basically just Ayn Rand but refusing to admit it.

  2. Mack — I think part of the reason for the front groups is that, once upon a time, no serious media outlet gave any time to the established conservative groups because everyone knew they were so dishonest. Of course, now the media accepts the Heritage Foundation and its ilk as real sources, so there would seem to be less need for disingenuously named groups — but as you point out, we’re still chock full of ’em!

    • Are you sure that’s true? It seems to me that the media have always bent over backwards to include conservative ideas. What’s changed, probably, is that in the past, the ideas came from the likes of the John Birch Society — and even they got a tremendous amount of coverage. But conservatives have gotten a lot better at cloaking their vile gut reactions into something that sounds like actual scholarship. Heritage, as you mention, is a total joke. Yet it is now presented as the conservative version of the centrist Brookings Institution (because now “centrist” means “liberal”).

      • I dunno. I got that from “One Nation Under God,” which I’m reading. But it was describing the media laughing off silly conservative think tanks in the 30s/40s. It’s quite possible you’re right and the media has given equal time to loons since the McCarthy era. More time by far in recent memory. I’ve heard the “Fairness Doctrine” being tossed around as a reason for this (I guess it was discarded years ago?) but I don’t know much about it, and I doubt FCC guidelines had more impact than societal/legislative changes favoring the uber-wealthy.

        • Oh, that’s very different. I was thinking in the 1960s and 1970s. I think the press has gotten a lot worse in some ways from the 1930s. I think the big change is the embrace of “objectivity” — which is something that no one has. And the pretense is really dangerous. And that’s especially so when all it really means is reporting “both sides” regardless of how ridiculous one or both may be.

          How is the book? It sounds really interesting.

          • So far (I’m through half) the book is intelligent and informative . . . not written in a super-entertaining style, but that’s not something I can do either, so I won’t carp. Basically the Christian right took shape earlier than the civil-rights era; it was born in response to the New Deal. (You’ll remember that Bryan and the anti-Scopes folks were political liberals.) Billy Graham considered all union members atheists before he considered blacks subhuman. I’m hoping the book gets to how this early Christian libertarianism (what it was called at the time, when pastors were reading Hayek) went from a fringe movement popular only among the super-rich to a mainstream movement. If it does, I’ll let you know. But the introduction is worth reading on its own.

            • I’ve requested it. It sounds interesting. Along these lines is Wrapped in the Flag, which is about growing up John Birch. And that’s all about the link between Christianity and anti-communism. I’m sure I’ll write about the book if I manage to read it. I just had Injustices — but I only made it half way through before I had to return it. I’ve been so busy — and tired. But it was great. It also really depressed me, reading about the lives of people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And this is what conservatives want to take us back to. This is the “authentic” America!

  3. Pingback: Republicans Pushing Far Right on Abortion | Frankly Curious

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