I was glad to read the LifeNews.com article by Steven Ertelt about this response to the Houston grand jury indictment of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, especially one day after reading an outrageous USA Today op-ed titled “The great deception behind the anti-Planned Parenthood videos: Column” by Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President and Chief Experience Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Ms. Laguens’s op-ed claims that
“Daleiden, working in concert with other well-known anti-abortion extremists including Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, who has documented ties to violence, spent nearly three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities (including fake government IDs), obtaining a credit card using a fake name and information, trespassing onto private property and illegally recording conversations without consent with the express goal of finding a way to attack Planned Parenthood and the health care services we provide.”
Unfortunately, almost all mainstream media have supported the Planned Parenthood explanation of the surprising Houston grand jury’s indictment of Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merrit rather than investigating whether a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic had sold the organs of aborted babies, the original purpose of the grand jury.
Journalism and Ethics
As a former reporter myself, I am constantly amazed by the lack of investigative reporting on abortion-related as well as other “politically incorrect” issues.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines investigative journalism as “a type of journalism that tries to discover information of public interest that someone is trying to hide.”
The mission statement for the Center for Medical Progress that was founded by David Daleidan shows how important this is:
The Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity, and we oppose any interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings. We envision a world in which medical practice and biotechnology ally with and serve the goods of human nature and do not destroy, disfigure, or work against them.
Investigative journalism itself has had a long and mostly proud history and for many years there has even been a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.
While Planned Parenthood criticizes David Daleiden’s and his Center for Medical Progress’ “deception” in making the undercover videos about selling fetal tissue from aborted babies, the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics states that journalists should:
Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public. (Emphasis added)
The Center for Medical Progress’ undercover investigation undoubtedly meets this criteria.
Planned Parenthood has long gone to great lengths to keep negative information about its activities from the public while taking over $500 million dollars a year in taxpayer money. Planned Parenthood is now endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and its’ “advocacy and political organizations have plans to spend at least $20 million in the upcoming election cycle”.
It seems the real problem with the undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood is not really the alleged “crimes” of the investigators but rather a fear of damaging information undermining Planned Parenthood’s carefully crafted public façade as a benevolent, “top-ranked non-profit” organization that helps women and families.
But even the threat of a lawsuit such as Planned Parenthood’s against the Center for Medical Progress has caused many individuals and organizations to settle cases rather than potentially be imprisoned and/or bankrupted by legal fees. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to such intimidation tactics by an entrenched, politically connected and well-funded organization like Planned Parenthood.
Good for David Daleidan and the Center for Medical Progress!