Justice & Civil Liberties

Issues ››› Justice & Civil Liberties
  • The Danger Of Giving Anti-Choice Misinformation Equal Weight As Medical Consensus

    Rewire Explains False Equivalencies In Media Coverage Of Abortion Access

     

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In a May 23 article, Rewire president and Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson criticized journalists for creating false equivalencies between anti-choice extremists and medical experts to seemingly “represent both sides” of the debate over abortion access.

    Jacobson’s criticism centered on a May 18 article from the Associated Press about a bill passed by the South Carolina legislature to ban abortion after 19 weeks based on the false premise that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization. She noted that although AP fairly covered the bill’s political context it failed to accurately represent the most important part: “the medical accuracy of claims underlying such bans.”

    Jacobson wrote that the groups supporting 20-week abortion bans include a number of anti-choice organizations such as Americans United for Life, the National Right to Life Committee, and the Susan B. Anthony List -- all of which rely on “false science and unfounded claims of ‘fetal pain’ to pass legislation.” In contrast, “every relevant, respected, and recognized medical body in the world opposes such bans.” Jacobson argued that by reducing coverage of abortion access to a conversation between “supporters versus opponents” it gives false credibility to “a group of people with absolutely no legitimacy making and passing legislation rejected by the weight of the international medical and public health communities.”

    She concluded that given the importance of access to abortion and other basic reproductive health care, “The media’s reliance on false equivalencies has to stop. People’s lives are at risk, and we can’t afford it.”

    From Rewire’s May 23 article:

    Using false equivalencies effectively means giving equal time to those who spread misinformation and, in many cases, outright lies, abrogating the ethical responsibilities of journalists to be accurate and fair. And this is exactly what the Associated Press did last week when it published an article on 20-week abortion bans that epitomized the worst of reporting on abortion.

    [...]

    “Supporters” of 20-week abortion bans (and many other such laws) include groups like Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee (both of which have drafted model legislation for these bans), as well as others such as the Susan B. Anthony List. Each of these groups uses false science and unfounded claims of “fetal pain” to pass legislation that threatens access to critical reproductive health care; the anti-choice movement’s self-important “pro-life” designation elides the fact that women’s health and lives are in grave danger wherever such care is unavailable.

    Who are the “opponents” of 20-week abortion bans? These include the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and a range of international bodies such as the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. In other words, every relevant, respected, and recognized medical body in the world opposes such bans.

    [...]

    Is it “fair and accurate” to posit the assertions of anti-choice groups, which base their claims on ideology and contrived “evidence,” as equal to medical and public health experts? Is it in the public interest to suggest that an issue that is fundamental to both human rights and public health be decided by reducing a vast body of evidence to equal that of organizations with an overriding political agenda? Is it good journalism by any standard?

    There is only one answer to all of these questions, and it is “no.” AP’s piece was irresponsible, but it also reflects that current state of reporting on reproductive health care by many outlets, including NPR, the Washington Post, and others.

    No matter how strong the backlash from the small but loud contingent of people within the anti-choice movement, it is the media’s job to report fairly and responsibly. Making the claims of anti-choice “supporters” of abortion bans equivalent to the consensus of the medical and public health community not only abrogates the public trust, it puts all of us in danger.

  • The NRA’s Endorsement Of Donald Trump Is Premised On A Lie

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The NRA supported its endorsement of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump at the group’s annual meeting by repeatedly telling the lie that likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton opposes gun ownership and would confiscate guns as president.

    The NRA lying to its members -- and anyone else observing the annual meeting -- is anathema to the group’s 2016 election messaging, which is centered on the claim that the NRA “doesn’t lie” but that instead Americans are constantly lied to by “the political and media elites at the highest levels.”

    Moments before the NRA endorsed Donald Trump at its annual meeting on May 20, the NRA’s two top members of leadership, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, and Chris Cox, the group’s top lobbyist who also runs the NRA’s political efforts, told a series of lies about Clinton’s position on guns.

    According to repeated campaign trail statements, Clinton has expressed support for both people being allowed to own guns and for regulations on firearms, such as expanded background checks. PolitiFact found there is “no evidence” for the claim Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment and that Clinton’s position on whether the Second Amendment confers an individual right to gun ownership is “more or less in line with the George W. Bush administration’s position” on the landmark Second Amendment decision District of Columbia v. Heller.

    In his remarks, Cox claimed that Clinton thinks it’s “wrong” that “the Supreme Court said you have a right to protect your life against a murderer in your own home.” (Clinton actually believes Heller was “wrongly decided” because it “may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future” such as a child access provision that was struck down in the ruling, not because she opposes firearm ownership for lawful self-defense.)

    Cox continued, claiming Clinton “wants us to surrender our firearms,” “to live in a place where only law enforcement has guns,” and made repeated references to his claim Clinton wants “to take our guns.”

    Then, moments before the NRA’s formal endorsement of Trump, LaPierre took the stage to claim that “if she could, Hillary would ban every gun” and that Clinton “craves” gun confiscation. The next day at the official meeting of members, LaPierre grouped in Clinton with other entities the NRA claims don’t support self-defense, saying, “We will not give up our God-given right to defend ourselves, our families, to the elites, to Obama, to the media, and sure as hell not to another Clinton.”

    None of these claims are true. Yet, the NRA has increasingly positioned itself as a truth-teller about the 2016 elections. In an article in the March edition of the NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom that attacked the honesty of Clinton and President Obama, the NRA wrote, “Let’s get something straight: The NRA doesn’t lie. The NRA tells the truth, no matter how unpopular, how politically incorrect or how much the truth might offend those who fear or hate freedom.”

    LaPierre made similar remarks during his March 3 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, claiming, “At a time when all of us are bombarded with media agenda, their web of spin and political conniving, the very best, most effective and surest way to defend freedom is found in those four little words: Thou Shalt Not Lie” and that “History proves that if you give the American people the straight truth, they will choose honest freedom every time. That is why, for decades, the NRA has been the guiding light for American gun owners and those who treasure our constitutional freedom. … We’ve been exposing the liars about our freedom for decades, telling the truth that most Americans know in their hearts to be right.” In sum, LaPierre referenced “the truth” 11 times during his speech.

    LaPierre spoke on the same theme during a March 23 address to Liberty University, claiming, “The lies go on and on, an epidemic of untruth at the highest levels of our country. Everybody spins a fabric of lies, and the American public sits out there and goes, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s got to stop!’ Yet when someone does tell the truth, they get clobbered. It’s all upside-down. Lies seem normal and the truth seems like bizarre, crazy talk.”

    What the NRA has said about its endorsement of Trump also speaks to the organization’s dishonesty.

    While the NRA’s endorsement of Trump -- given his willingness to adopt the NRA’s extreme agenda -- makes sense, NRA top lobbyist Cox attempted to sugarcoat the endorsement for members, calling the decision “easy” and claiming “show me a Republican presidential nominee in our lifetimes, or for that matter, in the past 100 years, who has spoken so forcefully about not only the right to own a gun, but the right to use it to defend yourself.”

     

     

    This is the same presumptive nominee who said after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that NRA nemesis President Obama “spoke for me and every American in his remarks in [Newtown] Connecticut” -- remarks that sent the NRA into a still-ongoing fury.

     

     

  • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.

    During a May 21 meeting of members  at the NRA's annual meeting in Louisville, KY, NRA election committee chairman Carl T. Rowan announced that Nugent was one of 25 individuals elected to a three-year term on the NRA's board, terminating in 2019. Nugent received the second most votes:

     

     

    As a musician and conservative commentator, Nugent is to many the most recognizable member of NRA leadership. He has served on the gun group's board of directors for more than 20 years. In the group's 2013 board elections Nugent was second only to Iran-Contra figure Oliver North for most votes in favor of reelection. He frequently mixes his pitches for the NRA with inflammatory commentary, such as when he told people to join the NRA while calling for the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other progressive politicians.

    Nugent is a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. During his speech at last year’s meeting, Nugent talked about shooting Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called the president “Osama Obama” and offered to charter a boat ride to take Obama “back to Kenya.” At the 2012 meeting, Nugent set in motion a visit with the Secret Service after telling NRA members he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected as president.

    As the NRA annual meeting wraps up tomorrow, Nugent will deliver a talk called “2016 Election Do or Die for America and Freedom.”

    Nugent’s 2016 has so far been marked by particularly ugly rhetoric.

    • In January, Nugent called for Obama and Hillary Clinton to be hanged for treason for their supposed malfeasance during the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.

    • Nugent caused widespread controversy in February after sharing an image on his Facebook page that suggested Jews are behind a conspiracy to enact stricter gun laws. After coming under fire from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups, Nugent further claimed that Jewish supporters of gun safety laws are “Nazis in disguise.” As condemnations continued to roll in, even from far-right pro-gun organizations (but not the NRA), Nugent eventually apologized, claiming he did not realize the image he shared that placed Israeli flags next to faces of 12 Jewish American politicians and gun violence prevention advocates had a "connection whatsoever to any religious affiliation."

    • In March, Nugent called a critic with a Hispanic name a "beanochimp" and suggested the man should die.

    • Later that same month, Nugent shared a misogynist chain message about why men supposedly prefer guns over women, which included claims like "guns function normally every day of the month” and “A gun doesn't mind if you go to sleep after you use it.”

    • On March 31, Nugent posted a racially derogatory image on his Facebook page that he said was an advertisement for a moving company called "2 niggers and a stolen truck."

    • In a May 10 post to his Facebook page, Nugent shared a fake video that showed Hillary Clinton being graphically shot to death by Bernie Sanders. He added his own comment: “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”

     

  • VIDEO: The Repugnant Way The NRA Talks About Hillary Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› COLEMAN LOWNDES & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association will surely attack Hillary Clinton during its annual meeting. Members of the NRA’s leadership have attacked Clinton for years with vile and paranoid claims.

    The NRA is holding its annual meeting from May 19-22 in Louisville, KY. On May 20, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other conservative figures will speak at the meeting’s biggest event, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum.

    The NRA began its opposition to Clinton in earnest during its 2015 meeting with a gender-based attack. While addressing the NRA’s members, LaPierre said of the prospect of electing Clinton after President Obama’s term, “I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” During that year's leadership forum, LaPierre claimed that Clinton “will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair” to America.

    While LaPierre supplies many of the NRA’s paranoid claims about Clinton and gun confiscation, the organization’s best-known leadership figure, board member Ted Nugent, offers disgusting attacks. Nugent has called Clinton a “toxic cunt,” a “two-bit whore,” and a “worthless bitch,” among other insults.

    Here is how the NRA leadership talks about Clinton:

     

     

     

  • South Carolina’s Anti-Choice Fetal Pain Bill Is “Turning Lies Into Law”

    Nineteen-Week Abortion Ban Contradicts “Medical Consensus” About Fetal Development

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On May 17, South Carolina’s legislature passed a bill to ban abortion after 19 weeks based on the false premise that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization. Armed with a wealth of anti-choice propaganda and right-wing media myths, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) is likely to sign the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” into law with no exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.

    Despite the wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary, assertions about fetal pain have framed right-wing media’s coverage of abortion and supplied talking points for anti-choice politicians to push medically unnecessary laws targeting abortion access. In March,  Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) invoked the idea of fetal pain to sign a dangerous bill requiring Utah doctors to administer anesthesia during abortions performed after 20 weeks. Although South Carolina’s bill does not mandate the use of anesthesia, it is based on the same disputed premise about fetal pain.

    Samantha Allen explained in an article for the Daily Beast that by signing this bill, Gov. Haley not only would make South Carolina “the 17th state in the country to institute a 20-week abortion ban,” but she would “also be turning lies into law.” According to Allen, although the South Carolina bill states that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by twenty weeks after fertilization,” the majority of credible scientific evidence undermines this fallacious claim.

    Anti-choice legislators claim in the South Carolina bill that fetal reactions to stimuli at 20 weeks post-fertilization prove that the fetuses are capable of feeling pain. In particular, they claim research shows that “a functioning cortex is not necessary to experience pain.” There is little evidence to support this claim, or other claims of fetal pain prior to 24 weeks of development.

    As Allen explained, the so-called science behind anti-choice legislators’ claims contradicts “the current medical consensus that fetal pain depends on the functioning of pathways in the brain between the thalamus and the cortex.” A 2015 article in FactCheck.org found there was no causal relationship between fetal withdrawal from stimuli and feelings of pain because any “recoil is more of a reflex” that is distinct from “the experience of pain” itself.

    In an interview with Salon, Columbia University Medical Center’s Dr. Anne Davis said these warnings about fetal pain and brain development are “created concerns” that are “based in politics,” not science. According to Davis, a fetus’s brain is not sufficiently developed to perceive pain until 24 weeks gestation. Politicians “can have an opinion about that, but it doesn’t change the information,” she told Salon. A March 2010 report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists affirmed that “research shows that the sensory structures are not developed or specialised enough to experience pain in a fetus less than 24 weeks.”

    Furthermore, Allen noted, two of the three researchers whose work is cited to support fetal pain bills “have already publicly disagreed with the way in which their findings have been used by anti-abortion advocates”:

    In 2013, Dr. Merker told The New York Times that his frequently-cited research “did not deal with pain specifically.” Even Dr. Anand, who believes that fetal pain could start earlier than the literature suggests, told the Times that he used to testify in court cases on abortion bans but that he stopped because “it’s just gotten completely out of hand.”

    In Slate, writer Nora Caplan-Bricker warned that there are compounding negative effects when 20-week bans operate in conjunction with other targeted restrictions on abortion care. She argued that South Carolina’s bill “constricts an already narrow window of opportunity” for patients to access abortion because in “states with multiple restrictions on abortion -- of which South Carolina is one -- women who decide to terminate early in pregnancy can be delayed for weeks or months as they scrape together money or contend with logistics.”

    South Carolina’s anti-choice lawmakers aren’t stopping with a ban on abortion at 19 weeks. As ABC reported, the South Carolina legislature is already hard at work on its next attack on abortion access: “a bill opponents say would essentially ban abortion past 13 weeks.”

  • Sponsor Of NRA Leadership Forum Routinely Smears Slain Black Youths And Their Families

    Trump To Address NRA Faithful At Forum

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The co-sponsor of the NRA’s upcoming leadership forum routinely attacks African-American youths killed in controversial shootings, and he has more than once smeared the mothers of two deceased Florida teenagers as liars motivated by money in their opposition to Stand Your Ground laws.

    On May 20, Donald Trump and other Republican politicians will speak at the National Rifle Association's annual Institute for Legislative Action leadership forum. The event is being held at the NRA’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY, which runs from May 19-22.

    According to the NRA’s website, the forum will be co-sponsored by Bearing Arms and Townhall Media. Bearing Arms is a well-known gun blog run by Bob Owens.

    Owens frequently makes inflammatory claims. In October 2015, he authored a post on his blog suggesting that “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war against Republicans over issues including gun ownership. Owens illustrated his post with an image of gallows. In 2010, when Media Matters documented another instance in which Owens fantasized about a second civil war in the U.S., Owens responded by writing that he hopes the "propagandists" at Media Matters “feel threatened.”

    Owens has weighed in on the shooting deaths of African-American youths Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Tamir Rice, in each instance also attacking a member or members of the deceased’s family.

    In a recent post on his website, Owens called Martin “a semi-literate violent criminal,” among other insults. Owens has also claimed that Martin’s mother opposes controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense laws because she wishes to enrich herself through a lawsuit.

    Owens has also attacked the mother of Jordan Davis, a Florida teenager who was killed in a gas station parking lot by a man angry about the volume of Davis’ music. Owens called Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath, a “serial liar” for accurately noting that Stand Your Ground played a role in the George Zimmerman trial.

    Owens has also attacked Tamir Rice, blaming both the 12-year-old and his parents for Rice’s death.

    Trayvon Martin

    Owens frequently directs invective toward deceased Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. In February 2012, Martin, then 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman occurred after Zimmerman began to follow Martin as the high school student walked from a convenience store to his father’s house.

    While Zimmerman has a well-documented history of violence -- both before and after the Martin shooting, including an assault on a police officer and multiple domestic violence allegations -- Owens routinely attacks Martin’s character.

    In a May 11 blog post, Owens called Martin “a violent, drug-abusing thug who appeared to get off on hurting people” and “a semi-literate violent criminal,” and he slammed an upcoming musical about Martin’s life, which he claimed would be “whitewashing a black heart” and which he called an attempt to “whitewash a thug’s death.”

    In a 2014 post, Owens argued that “good people … will arm themselves against violent young predators like Trayvon Martin” because “any society that hopes to survive simply has no choice.”

    Owens has also attacked Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. In a 2013 post, he claimed that Fulton had raised a “monster” and that her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws, like the one cited by a juror in explaining Zimmerman’s acquittal, was really about personal enrichment.

    Owens wrote:

    As for why Fulton and her attorneys and Democratic lawmakers in general want Stand Your Ground laws repealed, that’s blisteringly obvious as well.

    Money.

    A provision of Stand Your Ground law in many states is that if a person is found not guilty during a criminal trial, then that defendant win (sic) civil immunity, and that keeps the families of deceased street thugs from suing the survivors for millions of dollars in civil court.

    Jordan Davis

    Owens called the mother of slain Florida teenager Jordan Davis a “serial liar” over her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws following Davis’ killing. In fact, Owens is the one lying about Stand Your Ground.

    In November 2012, Davis, 17, was murdered by Michael Dunn in a Jacksonville, FL, gas station parking lot. Dunn had told Davis and his friends to turn down their music before he fired 10 rounds into the car Davis was sitting in.

    In February 2014, Dunn was found guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder on the other teens in the car, but the jury could not come to a decision on the first-degree murder charge tied to Davis' death. During closing arguments, Dunn’s attorney cited Stand Your Ground in arguing against a murder conviction for Davis’ death. A mistrial was declared on the murder charge, and Dunn was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder during a second trial that concluded in October 2014.

    Following Davis’ killing, his mother, Lucy McBath, has become an outspoken advocate against Stand Your Ground laws. Owens attacked McBath for this advocacy in a May 13 post, claiming, “She has become radicalized, and now travels the nation attempting to strip law-abiding citizens of their most basic natural right as a human being, the right [to] bear arms for self defense.”

    According to Owens, “McBath has become a serial liar, and sadly seems to be more comfortable with her lies as time goes on,” because she wrote an opinion piece that said Stand Your Ground played a role in the Zimmerman trial.

    While Owens claimed McBath is a liar because “Stand Your Ground laws had nothing at all do do (sic) with the [Zimmerman] case,” he is wrong.

    The language of Stand Your Ground was included in instructions to the jury considering whether to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. Prior to the law’s enactment in 2005, the instructions given to the jury were much different. As explained by a former Florida state senator, the change in the letter of the law “fundamentally changed the analysis used by juries to assign blame in these cases.” Following Zimmerman’s acquittal, a juror told CNN that Zimmerman was found not guilty “because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground.” Zimmerman also benefited from Stand Your Ground pre-trial, as local government officials cited the law as the reason Zimmerman was not initially arrested.

    Owens also called McBath a liar because she wrote that Stand Your Ground laws “promote a culture of shoot first, ask questions later, a culture that upends traditional self-defense law and emboldens individuals to settle conflicts by reaching for their firearms, even when they can safely walk away from danger.” But McBath is correct; academic research has established that Stand Your Ground laws increase homicide by “lower[ing] the cost of using lethal force.”

    Tamir Rice

    Owens frequently defends the widely criticized police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In November 2014, Rice was shot in a public park in Cleveland, OH, after a 911 caller reported seeing Rice waving around an Airsoft replica pistol. Police shot Rice within two seconds of coming onto the scene, apparently mistaking the toy gun for a real firearm (the 911 caller’s repeated suggestion that the gun was “probably fake” was not relayed to the responding officers).

    After the city of Cleveland agreed to a monetary settlement with Rice’s family, the local police union caused controversy by arguing that some of the money should be used “to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”

    Owens weighed in on the controversy, attacking the deceased 12-year-old and his family. Of Rice, Owens wrote that “it is entirely fair to ‘blame the victim’ when it was the specific actions of the victim that led to his demise” and that “Tamir Rice died because he made poor choices.”

    He also suggested that Rice’s family was responsible for his death, claiming that the Rice family’s outrage over the police union suggestion means “perhaps the Rice family doesn’t care any more about being responsible after Tamir’s death than they did about teaching him to be responsible with realistic toy guns while he was alive.”

  • Columbia Journalism Review Dismantles Daleiden’s Claim That He’s A Journalist

    CMP Videos Merely Prove Daleiden Was “Masquerading As An Investigative Journalist, With The Aim Of Damaging Planned Parenthood”

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Starting in July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of deceptively edited videos, baselessly alleging that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue. This smear campaign was so fraudulent it earned CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, the title of Media Matters’ 2015 Misinformer of the Year. Although right-wing media baselessly insist that Daleiden is a journalist, in a May 12 report for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), Ted Anderson concluded after “a close analysis of his video footage and his actions” that the work produced by Daleiden “doesn’t qualify as journalism on legal or ethical grounds.”

    Daleiden and his lawyers have argued that CMP’s work is journalism because it “uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades.” Right-wing media have consistently carried water for these claims.

    Anderson thoroughly dismantled this argument and debunked Daleiden’s attempt at “pleading journalism” to cover his illegal and fraudulent activities. Citing a previous investigation by the Los Angeles Times -- which he participated in -- as well as several legal precedents, Anderson argued that Daleiden was not a journalist and merely “produced an intentionally emotional provocation that led to an investigation of smoke where there was no fire.”

    This latest debunk reaffirms statements and findings by journalists, a judge, and a grand jury and proves the only wrongdoing Daleiden “documented was the alleged fraud that he engaged in as an anti-abortion activist masquerading as an investigative journalist, with the aim of damaging Planned Parenthood.

    In one example, Anderson explained that Daleiden's description of CMP's work on its website didn't originally include the words "investigative journalism." He noted it was only after the deceptive videos garnered public attention that the term “suddenly appeared on the homepage” when Daleiden “altered the stated purpose of the organization.” According to Andersen, this means that it is unlikely "Daleiden would have qualified as a journalist" during CMP's so-called investigation. 

    From the May 12 CJR report:

    More problematic for Daleiden is that no privileges protect journalists who break the law to get the news. Before entering the private meetings he filmed, he signed nondisclosure agreements with the National Abortion Federation that prohibited audio and image recording. Further, 12 states, including California, require the consent of all parties when recording audio or phone conversations. In making the secret recordings, Daleiden has been accused of violating both the nondisclosure agreement and the California consent law.

    [...]

    Daleiden’s ethics, and particularly his choices in editing the videos, raise other questions. An undercover investigation, like any inquiry that hopes to qualify as journalism, has an obligation to present information that doesn’t necessarily fit into a preconceived thesis. In the videos that Daleiden published on his website, he failed to show the audience key sequences, such as the time he attempted unsuccessfully to get one of his targets drunk in an effort to elicit damaging or inappropriate statements. He touted one video as the “harrowing story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male fetus whose heart was still beating”—even though outtakes show that he edited out statements indicating the fetus was dead before the brain tissue was removed.

    [...]

    A real “citizen journalist,” as Daleiden calls himself, could have created a truthful story using information he found in his investigation: the size of the fetal-tissue market, the amount of money Planned Parenthood charged private medical-research companies for samples, the types of activities that are deemed illegal and why, and thorny ethical issues involving subjects like embryonic stem cell research and patient care in clinics. He might have mentioned that the fetal-tissue market has been around for nearly a century and has led to major medical advancements. And he could have done all this while also representing the voices that decry the very existence of the tissue trade. But Daleiden did not pursue that story, just as he didn’t use undercover cameras as a last resort. The story he went after didn’t even require those James Bond techniques. Instead, he produced an intentionally emotional provocation that led to an investigation of smoke where there was no fire.