Bozell Column: Planned Parenthood, Spiked

The networks haven't been interested in a pro-life group's video sting of Planned Parenthood. But in 1991, all three networks took their own hidden cameras into crisis pregnancy centers to expose the "scandal" of talking women out of abortions.

Those censorious liberals who truly hate the very existence of the Fox News Channel denounce it for being a political organization, not truly a news network. Behind that line is decades of liberals being able to strangle, smother, and spike news stories they didn't like. Liberals defined what "news" was, and what it wasn't. They're still at it today.

Take the pro-life group Live Action. On February 1, they released shocking videos showing what they found when they brought hidden cameras into Planned Parenthood clinics, with a man and woman posing as pimp and prostitute. An office manager was taped telling the "pimp" how to evade the law, such as lying about prostitutes' ages if they were children 14 or under. Any older and the clinic would be obligated to report to the authorities. "We want as little information as possible," she said conspiratorially.

That matches very nicely with the mindsets of ABC, CBS, and NBC, which absolutely refused to acknowledge the existence of this damning video. (Fox News did cover it, and so did CNN.)

The same gaggle of broadcast TV watchdogs which has mustered endless outrage over the notion that the Catholic Church would fail to alert authorities about sexual abuse of minors is utterly uninterested in the sexual abuse of minors when someone more pleasing to secular progressives - like that abortion factory Planned Parenthood - is caught on camera.

Live Action has been exposing Planned Parenthood since 2007. You would think that by 2011, their clinic personnel would be more careful. It is just the opposite. Their disinterest toward statutory rape and child sexual abuse is shocking.

The latest Live Action exposes began with a visit to a clinic in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The office manager advised the "pimp" that underage girls should lie about their age to get around any troublesome questions about statutory rape. She also insisted an underage girl is "entitled to care without Mom knowing what the hell is going on."

This woman has now been fired. But lying and squashing information is apparently Planned Parenthood policy. Another video broke, this time from Falls Church, Virginia, where a clinic worker told the man "We don't necessarily look at the legal status, like I said. Abortion appointments do require photo ID. It's nothing as far as records. It's just photo ID that's ever going to be required."

In Roanoke, Virginia, a Planned Parenthood staffer suggested the man consider going to the Health Department with his little girls, since it would be cheapier and easier: "They're discreet. They're confidential. They, you know, don't tell people what's going on, because - frankly - it's nobody's business."

The video exposes continued. In Charlottesville, another clinic worker sympathized with the pimp: "Anybody here can help you. Everything here is confidential. We can't give any information out."

The networks refused to acknowledge these stings. But it's not a matter of journalistic principle, objecting to hidden cameras. It's all about politics.

Twenty years ago, on the night of Halloween, 1991, ABC's "Prime Time Live" aired a story based on its own investigation, complete with hidden cameras, of...crisis pregnancy centers. They were out to expose the allegedly awful practice of pro-lifers advising pregnant women

against abortions. Within days of the ABC story, CBS and NBC also aired reports with hidden cameras and female producers lying about being pregnant.

What caused this perfect storm of stings?

Ron Fitzsimmons, then the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, wrote in a September 4, 1991 memo: "I went to the ABC program Prime Time several weeks ago and they immediately agreed to do an 'expose' on the issue of crisis pregnancy centers."

Fitzsimmons told the Media Research Center that "[Prime Time producer] Ben Sherwood is mad at me about that memo, those words I used. It looked like I was directing that whole show. But I was on the phone every day. I gave him all of that stuff. I gave him all of those names and clinics. Ben would call me every day and ask me about the situation in certain states."

Last December, Ben Sherwood became the new president of ABC News. Now you understand why it's not surprising that ABC spiked the pro-life story, even if it proves they are complete hypocrites.

But there's more. In 1991, all three networks used a congressional hearing chaired by liberal then-Rep. Ron Wyden as the news hook for their hidden-camera probes. Fitzsimmons said the hearing was his work, too: "This story would not have been possible without the hearing," he said, "and that was my idea."

This is why liberals sound so phony when they say Fox is a political organization - and by contrast imply that ABC, CBS, and NBC never act like ideological cogs in someone else's publicity machine. They've been at it for decades.