Fox News host Martha MacCallum based a primary debate question on deceptively-edited videos that manufactured the smear that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal body parts, claiming they are “shedding new light on abortion practices” while moderating a debate forum for 2016 GOP hopefuls. In reality, the videos have been debunked as highly-edited and showing nothing but the organization being reimbursed for costs associated with the consensual procurement of fetal tissue, as federal law allows.
Fox News Hosts GOP Forum Before Prime Time Debate
GOP Candidates Who Didn't Qualify For Main Debate Participated In Earlier GOP Forum. Republican candidates who didn't “make the cut” for the first GOP prime-time debate participated in a 5 p.m. forum in which they faced questions from Fox News' Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer. As reported by Politico:
It was a tough environment for the candidates who didn't poll high enough to participate in the 9 p.m. Fox News prime-time edition, a list that includes current and former governors, senators and a business executive, many of whose campaigns have already bristled at the debate participation metrics -- and at being edged out of the bigger debate in part by the loud-mouthed Donald Trump.
And Fox News moderators Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer piled on by highlighting the candidates' underdog positions, opening with a series of questions that underscored the candidates' faltering poll numbers. [Politico, 8/6/15]
Martha MacCallum Claims Anti-Choice Videos Shed “New Light On Abortion” While Moderating Forum
MacCallum Claims Videos “Shed New Light On Abortion Practices” To Ask About Defunding Planned Parenthood. During the August 6 GOP forum, moderator Martha MacCallum steered the conversation towards Planned Parenthood in order to ask former New York Governor George Pataki about defunding the reproductive health organization. MacCallum cited CMP's deceptive videos, implying that they “shed new light on abortion practices” and asking Pataki if they “changed your heart when it comes to abortion?”:
MARTHA MACCALLUM: We want to get back to Planned Parenthood, and this question goes to Governor Pataki. Governor Pataki, you're the only pro-choice candidate running. A Republican holding that position has not won a single primary in 35 years. With the recent Planned Parenthood videos that we have all seen, shedding new light on abortion practices, I know that you have said that you would defund Planned Parenthood .
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI: Yes.
MACCALLUM: But has this story changed your heart when it comes to abortion?
PATAKI: My heart has not changed because I've always been appalled by abortion. I'm a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception. But as Bill said earlier, Roe v. Wade has been the law for 42 years, and I don't think we should continue to try to change it. But what we can do is defund Planned Parenthood, and by the way, put in place an absolute permanent ban on any taxpayer dollars ever being used to fund abortions. Also, when you look at these videos, they are horrific and show just a hideous disrespect for life. [Fox News, Republican Presidential Candidates Forum, 8/6/15]
Videos Cited By MacCallum Are Deceptively-Edited And Misleading
The Videos Are Full Of Deceptive Edits Aimed At Smearing Planned Parenthood. The videos released by Center for Medical Progress have been highly-edited in an effort to smear Planned Parenthood. The full, unedited versions of the videos show that Planned Parenthood has done nothing illegal and participates in consensual, legal tissue donation for medical research. [Media Matters, 7/14/15, 7/21/15, 7/28/15, 7/30/15, 8/4/15]
FactCheck.org Debunked The First Deceptively Edited Video. In a July 21 post, Factcheck.org demolished the credibility of the first video released by Center for Medical Progress, noting that the video's claim that Planned Parenthood was “selling aborted baby parts” was inaccurate and unfounded. [Factcheck.org, 7/21/15]
Investigations In Two States Have Cleared Planned Parenthood Of Any Wrongdoing. An investigation by the Indiana State Department of Health found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood clinics in the state and “no evidence of any laws being broken.” Similarly, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that they had also “found no evidence” of wrongdoingduring their investigation into the health provider, and noted that the health centers “are fully compliant with state and federal laws.” [Media Matters, 7/31/15]