How the Right Launched a Coordinated, All-Fronts Attack on Planned Parenthood.
Ryan Grim connects some of the dots on the assault against Planned Parenthood and it just shows how well organized and disciplined the conservatives can be around issues upon which they all agree:
The House Republican move to strip federal funds from the nation's most well-known reproductive health care provider as part of its budget last week was the culmination of a multi-year effort that involved parallel action by top Republicans and conservative media operatives playing up the work of a California college student who has been creating surreptitious videos of Planned Parenthood employees for years. The student, Lila Rose, is the president of an organization called Live Action that pays actors to walk into Planned Parenthood offices with hidden cameras, much as James O'Keefe did to undermine the community-organizing group ACORN. The Live Action stars pretend to be a pimp and a prostitute engaged in human trafficking and looking for birth control, STD testing and abortions. The videos that the organization puts out can be convincing and disturbing -- and in at least two cases were found by Planned Parenthood to be legitimate cause for dismissals -- but thorough, frame-by-frame reviews of the full-length videos show that what is posted on YouTube often bears little relation to what happened in reality, due to heavy editing that alters the meaning of conversations.
Last Friday, the day the House moved to defund Planned Parenthood, Glenn Beck devoted the entirety of his hourlong Fox News show to the organization and brought Rose into the studio to narrate some of her videos -- clips that were spliced to create conversations that never happened. Along with Fox News, the conservative blog Big Government, which played a leading role in promoting the ACORN videos, has been pushing Rose's productions. In a column written for Big Government less than a week before the funding vote, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, laid out the case against Planned Parenthood.
Grim also makes the important point that groups like ACORN and Planned Parenthood are also seen as institutions that benefit Democrats, which puts them in the cross hairs of the "defund the left" strategy. The right understands how important that is, particularly now in the age of Citizens United. If they can simultaneously dry up the funding and delegitimize government functions among the people who need them, it is going to be increasingly difficult for progressives to compete. It's a smart move.
Update: And in other news, here's a Koch front group Americans for Prosperity spokesman spelling it all out:
Speaking at CPAC’s “Panel for Labor Policy,” Hagerstrom said that AFP really wants to do is to “take the unions out at the knees”:
HAGERSTROM: It’s easy to go out there and fight taxes and increased regulation, you know we send out an action alert on taxes to AFP and we get thousands of people to respond. You send out one on a more complicated issue and it just doesn’t quite resonate…We fight these battles on taxes and regulation but reallywhat we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.