In a blog post notable for its shocking simplemindedness, Breitbart blogger Lee Stranahan accused Media Matters of using “logically invalid, distorted, and deceptive argumentative techniques” to refute Lila Rose's latest video hoax.
The video, anxiously promoted by the right, shows Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards discussing how the organization provides millions of women with access to health care services, including cancer screenings and mammograms. Rose called a few Planned Parenthood centers, found out that they did not have mammogram equipment on site, and declared that this refuted Richards' comments.
As Media Matters showed, Planned Parenthood does, in fact, help make sure that millions of women have access to these services. This is, quite simply, not in dispute.
Enter Lee Stranahan and illogic.
Stranahan himself acknowledged that Planned Parenthood provides access to cancer screenings, including mammograms, although he doesn't seem to like the kind of access Planned Parenthood provides. “It's all referrals,” he complained.
Having failed to undercut the plain fact that Planned Parenthood very clearly provides access to cancer screenings and mammograms, Stranahan argues, “That's not the issue and it never was.”
This is a difficult, logically challenged position for Stranahan to defend. After all, Cecile Richards said that Planned Parenthood provides millions of women with access to health care. And Lee Stranahan is stipulating that this is true.
In fact, this seems to be exactly the issue.
Back to “logically invalid, distorted, and deceptive argumentative techniques”:
STRANAHAN: Did Richards merely say that Planned Parenthood provided access to mammograms? No. She went much further than that.
RICHARDS: Millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning - you know, mammograms.
STRANAHAN: Richards clearly states that if Planned Parenthood loses its funding that millions of women will lose access to mammograms. And that's the issue that Live Action's video was dealing with.
So is it true that millions of women would lose access to mammograms if Planned Parenthood lost their funding?
And the answer is no. It's obviously not true, because all Planned Parenthood is doing is providing referrals, and women could get those anywhere.
First, it's critical to note that Cecile Richards did not say that Planned Parenthood provides access to mammograms, end sentence:
If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning. You know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer. [CNN, The Joy Behar Show,2/21/11, via Nexis]
A cynical person might say it's deceptive to cut Richards' comments at “mammograms.” But I'll grant that it's possible Stranahan just didn't take the time to look into what Richards actually said before attacking her. After all, while becoming an expert on what Cecile Richards did and did not say, Stranahan could not be bothered to learn that her name is not Selene.
According to Planned Parenthood, more than 1.8 million women received cancer screening and prevention services through Planned Parenthood in 2008.
You know, the millions of women who would lose that access to health care if Planned Parenthood didn't exist.