Carly Fiorina was the standout winner in both the first and second Republican debates, and with that achievement comes a higher profile. That's perfectly understandable. But the condemnation that has been focused on her since the second debate has been so intellectually dishonest that it serves as a case study in media bias.
Virtually all of the criticism has been focused on her comments about Planned Parenthood — comments that consumed 29 seconds of the thirteen and a half minutes that she spoke. Nearly nothing has been written about what she said about foreign policy, the need for a strong military, the need for America to be reliable as an ally, the value of her being an outsider to the political process, immigration, her business record, Benghazi, the scandals at the Veterans Administration, the need for better drug treatment, or her powerful closing statement invoking the images of Lady Liberty and Lady Justice.
She devoted more time in the debate to every one of those topics than the 29 seconds in which she challenged Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the rest of the nation to watch some of the undercover videos that have recently come to light concerning Planned Parenthood's trafficking in fetal tissue and organs.
Yet those 29 seconds of comments concerning Planned Parenthood unleashed a vicious torrent of attacks on her — a torrent that is itself comprised of such dishonesty and lack of journalistic integrity that it fully eclipses any minor errors in Mrs. Fiorina's remarks.
First, let's look at what Carly Fiorina actually said:
"As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."
Here are a few of the more egregious charges by the so-called "fact checkers."
From the Washington Post: "No video has surfaced showing the scene Fiorina describes taking place inside a Planned Parenthood facility." But Fiorina never claimed that! She claimed that she had seen a video describing the scene, not that she had seen a video of the actual abortion. Logicians call this a "straw man argument," the definition of which is that it is a fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent. It is outrageous for a so-called fact checker of a widely respected news medium like the Washington Post to engage in such chicanery.
The website Slate said "There is nothing in the videos made by CMP, either in the edited or full-length versions, that has anything approaching images of legs kicking or hearts beating." But there is…and it's not hard to find. Just click here, and you can see it for yourself. What's more, you will see Holly O'Donnell, identified as a "procurement technician" for a company called StemExpress, precisely describe the scene that Fiorina recounted in the debate. She uses the words "And I'm sitting here and I'm looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don't know what to think."
The same short video clip also shows an aborted fully-formed fetus's legs kicking. Did that scene come from a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic? Does it matter? Does it matter that Holly O'Donnell is a subcontractor to Planned Parenthood rather than an employee when she describes this harrowing scene? Fiorina's argument is about funding, and funding is totally relevant because funding flows from Planned Parenthood to the subcontractor StemExpress. How can Slate stand by its claim that the videos have nothing, quote, "approaching images of legs beating or hearts beating." Nothing? How about clear testimony from Holly O'Donnell on the video saying just what Fiorina claims?
And when Holly O'Donnell talks about being directed by her supervisor to cut through the face of a fetus to get at the brain, are we not repelled and even nauseated? Yet somehow the "fact-checkers" never get around to exposing that inconvenient fact. When Holly O'Donnell goes on to quote the supervisor saying "this is a really good fetus, and it looks like we can procure a lot from it. We're going to procure brains" is that not almost exactly what Fiorina said? Further study on the Internet will also reveal that StemExpress was a known supplier of fetal organs used for what's called Langendorff perfusion, which keeps a heart beating after it is excised from the body. Check it out for yourself here.
This is all very shocking stuff, but that's precisely the point. What Carly Fiorina said in those 29 seconds was a highly accurate summary of several hours of very gruesome and difficult videos she watched, most of which came from the Centers for Medical Progress' undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, and some of which came from other similar sources, such as the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
The actions and procedures she described are in fact performed by Planned Parenthood and its partners and subcontractors. Each of the claims that the videos do not exist is an exercise in journalistic dishonesty that must be carefully parsed in order to understand the deception that is occurring. MSNBC produced an article headlined "Fiorina defends citing nonexistent video," under which is an article that actually does describe some but not all of the video evidence cited here. Of course many people never get past the headline. And that's the point. There is a pro-abortion ethic among the majority of mainstream journalists today that totally overwhelms their responsibility to tell the truth.
Carly Fiorina's 29 seconds of criticism of Planned Parenthood are far more accurate than the many thousands of words written since that attempt to discredit it.
* * * Colin Hanna is President of Let Freedom Ring, USA.