When we speak of organ or tissue donation in children and adults we say just that, kidneys or liver or skin grafts. Even face transplants. We do not call them body parts we use their anatomic terms. When fetal tissue is donated for medical research (much in same way a kidney or a liver is donated) a rational person interested in accuracy would say just that, “fetal tissue” and “donation.” Those with agendas other than accurate reporting and health care use the term baby parts, specifically harvesting baby parts to go for a maximum illusion of morbidity as if the medical care at Planned Parenthood were really a sequel to Robin Cook’s Coma. My BFF George Will, ever the wordsmith, took it to the next level calling Planned Parenthood a “meat market.”
The idea that there was no proof of anything illegal in the videos, they were illegally obtained and highly edited, and that fetal tissue is integral in medical research didn’t matter to those with agendas, be they motivated by anti-choice extremism, page clicks, or press time to pump up their run for President. Slagging on Planned Parenthood lead to press time and attention. The “harvesting baby parts” meme was championed by every GOP candidate, almost every Republican, and many democrats and amplified by the media. The fact that the lies about Planned Parenthood were accompanied by graphic images meant most people looked at an image out of context or worse, an image that wasn’t even from a Planned Parenthood or representative of an abortion, and listened to the shocking headlines and moved on. We know that about 60% of people just read the headlines and move on that’s why journalists almost never get to craft their own headlines. If you invest time in reading an article or two you soon realize that headlines are often only marginally related to the piece they represent. Headlines are a brilliant form of false advertising and the more graphic the better. Even media that doesn’t have an anti-choice agenda started using the term “aborted baby parts.” Whether it was to compete in searches (trying to get those interested in finding the truth to a source more interested in facts) or just page clicks I can’t say, but even if the headline talks about “baby parts” being inaccurate it still contributes to the lies more than it does the truth. Read the following headline and tell me what words stick in your mind, “shady anti-choice actors” or “selling aborted baby parts?”
The fact that no one sells baby parts at Planned Parenthood was lost in the graphic headlines and the even more graphic stills from the videos. Even staunch liberal friends of mine whispered things like, “But those videos!” or “So what about all that stuff at Planned Parenthood?” Rational people predisposed to think good of Planned Parenthood were left wondering, so the campaign of misinformation was clearly highly effective. Many readers of this blog and friends thanked me for taking the time to spell it out here in my blog or in person, but given the assault of the headlines it was a bit like shoveling shit at the Aegean stables. Many people didn’t invest that time, perhaps because the idea of abortion makes many people squeamish so they are predisposed to have a negative view and others were simply not interested in the facts. Given the voracious assault on facts, led by champions like Carly Flora and Bill O’Reilly, it should be no surprise that this misinformation enraged some and helped radicalize someone with an anti-choice agenda and a tenacious grasp of how normal people act.
I managed to write about the deceptive videos without using the term “baby parts” in the headline at least six times (there was a seventh but it appeared on another site and I didn’t write the headline so I can’t take credit), so it can be done.
Goading a marginal person to commit an act of violence is not an unheard of anti-choice tactic, a fact that those who run fast and free with facts in the press should remember.