by Thomas Lifson
Oops! Admitting criminal violations on undercover video does present a bit of a PR problem. And boy, does PP have a PR problem.
The undercover videos created by the Center for Medical Progress get worse and worse for the organization. Obviously, thought and care have gone into the sequencing of the release of the dozen or so videos they reportedly have made. The latest installment, number five, takes gruesomeness and potential criminality to new levels. As to the latter, as Fox News reports:
A Planned Parenthood executive admits in an undercover video that her doctors alter abortion procedures and she manipulates prices to accommodate specific fetal tissue harvesting requests -- including delivering fully intact fetuses -- though doing so may violate federal law.Oops! Admitting criminal violations on undercover video does present a bit of a PR problem. And boy, does PP have a PR problem. Fortunately, for them, they’ve called in one of the best (and best-connected) PR firms in the world to tamp down the crisis. In one of the best reads of the day, at onepeterfive.com, Steve Skojec (hat tip: Clarice Feldman) who formerly worked in a high powered PR firm, discusses the techniques brought to bear to shape public perceptions of scandals involving powerful institutions and people.
In the nearly 16-minute, edited video, the fifth released by Center for Medical Progress, a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses pricing for specimens -- ranging from intact fetuses to tissue and organs -- for outside tissue procurement companies.
“Yeah, and so if we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this,” Farrell said. “I mean it’s all just a matter of line items.”
Altering abortion procedures to procure fetal tissue, delivering intact fetuses and selling fetal tissue for profit are all against federal law.
Not long after Planned Parenthood hired SKDKnickerbocker to help them weather the storm, journalists and media outlets started receiving memos telling them that they shouldn’t cover the story at all.It seems as though the major theme of the current presidential election cycle is the power of the elites to determine political outcomes, regardless of underlying facts, popular opinion, and objective threats, crimes, and other matters of proper public concern. For instance, as Sean Davis of The Federalist writes:
Why would they listen? Isn’t it the job of the press to expose corruption like this?
Not really. Not anymore. The majority of individuals who work in the news media self-identify as liberal. This is a given. They have become, to the country’s detriment, the unofficial propaganda arm of leftist politics. But we also need to understand the incestuous nature of PR, the intermixing of politics and journalism, and the long-standing relationships that drive the industry. I mentioned that the people I worked with had reached a very elite status in the world. That wasn’t to elevate myself by association. One of the chief attributes that makes a person good at PR (beyond a nose for what kind of story will play well with the general public) is their contact list. If you don’t have strong media relationships, you don’t make it far in this business. I personally saw fellow employees call up primetime anchors and journalists that everyone in America would know by name. They had their personal cell phone numbers. They handed them stories and told them what they thought the highlights were. The people on the other end of the line listened, and often as not, respected and responded to what they were being told. Frequently, we got the coverage we asked for.
Look at the staff roster at SKDKnickerbocker. Who do you think Olivia Alair Dalton, former spokeswoman for Michelle Obama, knows? What about Josh Isay, who worked closely with Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, and President Barack Obama? How about Bill Knapp, who knows the Clintons and the Obamas, and was also a producer at NBC News? And then there’s Anita Dunn, the former Communications Director for the Obama White House. How about Nell Callahan, whose bio was scrubbed of her work on behalf of Planned Parenthood “during the 2012 election cycle”? There’s quite a group over at SKDKnickerbocker, and each one of them brings invaluable experience and relationships to the table on behalf of their clients. Most are no doubt extremely talented professionals. Many of them have the journalists who serve Americans their news on speed dial.
But for every apparently faked hack on the Planned Parenthood website to garner sympathy and donations, for every deflection that this is about “life-saving medical research,” for every failed attempt to block Planned Parenthood’s half-billion dollars of federal funding in Congress, there will be the unforgettable exclamation, when sorting through a pile of baby parts, that it’s “another boy!” For every attempt to tell us that they do not traffic in baby parts, there will be the impossible to erase mental image of that hand.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s top abortion provider, swears up and down that notwithstanding the numerous admissions made on tape by its top officials, the organization doesn’t buy or sell organs and body parts harvested from aborted babies. Then, in order to defend its reputation, Planned Parenthood points to other medical procedures performed by the group that don’t result in body counts. One of its top rhetorical gimmicks is to reference all the mammograms that women can receive by visiting Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood helps women nationwide get access to mammograms, as part of the range of health care Planned Parenthood health centers provide to nearly three million people a year.There’s only one problem: Planned Parenthood does not manage a single licensed mammography facility in the U.S. Not one. Of the 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in America, Planned Parenthood operates exactly zero.
How do we know this? Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration keeps a list of every licensed facility in the country. It updates this list weekly. And the most recent list of the more than 8,700 licensed mammogram facilities in the U.S. shows that not one is operated by Planned Parenthood.
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