Republican presidential candidates are attempting to capitalize on right-wing media's manufactured outrage over a deceptively edited video attacking Planned Parenthood, using conservative media platforms to call for investigations into Planned Parenthood and fundraising off of the drummed up outrage.
On July 14, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a deceptively edited video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortion. But the full, unedited video makes it clear that Planned Parenthood actually facilitates tissue donation with full patient consent, at no financial benefit to the organization, and in full compliance with the law.
Right-wing media seized on the video, with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly calling for an FBI investigation into Planned Parenthood, and Megyn Kelly accusing the organization of “celebrating its practice of harvesting the organs of aborted fetuses for money.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) along with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called for a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to conduct the investigation.
Republican presidential candidates are following suit. Ted Cruz advocated for federal and state criminal investigations and Senate hearings, pledging to hold congressional hearings himself to defund Planned Parenthood on the July 15 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File.
On Twitter, Jeb Bush called the video “shocking and horrific,” Ben Carson urged Congress to “eliminate every last dime” of funding for Planned Parenthood, and Bobby Jindal called the video “disgusting.” Jindal also ordered an investigation in Louisiana as governor.
Some candidates are even hoping to cash in on the right-wing media frenzy with fundraising emails. Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul are both urging donors to “chip in a contribution” to defund Planned Parenthood.
UPDATE: CQ Roll Call reported that at least two Republican members of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) -- who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that is conducting an investigation following the video -- viewed the video attacking Planned Parenthood weeks before CMP officially released it.