Fox's Varney Praises Deceptive Fiorina Ad Defending Her Deceptive Planned Parenthood Attack

Fox's Varney Praises Deceptive Fiorina Ad Defending Her Deceptive Planned Parenthood Attack

››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

Fox Business host Stuart Varney praised a misleading campaign video ad produced by a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina without mentioning that the ad contains deceptively-edited audio and video aimed at smearing Planned Parenthood and defending Fiorina's previous lies about the organization.

Varney Praises "Hard-Hitting" Super PAC Ad, Ignoring Glaring Fabrications

Fox's Varney: Fiorina Ad Is "Hard-Hitting" Because Of The "Baby Pictures In It." On the September 24 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney brought up a new video ad from CARLY for America, a super PAC supporting Carly Fiorina's presidential bid. The spot, which was posted on the CARLY for America YouTube channel, doubles down on false claims Fiorina made during the September 16 Republican debate regarding alleged evidence of criminal activity at Planned Parenthood clinics. Varney called the ad "hard-hitting," particularly "if you watch it with the baby pictures in it":

STUART VARNEY: Hard-hitting ad from Carly Fiorina, and I mean hard-hitting. Remember during the second debate, she challenged the left, "Watch the video." It shows a fully-formed baby with its leg moving. We will not show you that part of the ad, but here's the rest of it. Roll tape:

[BEGIN VIDEO]

[...]

VARNEY: It is a hard-hitting ad, especially if you watch it with the baby pictures in it. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 9/24/15]

Fiorina Campaign Ad Is Based On Deceptively-Edited Audio And Video

RH Reality Check: "A Doctored Video Is Being Used To Defend...Fiorina's False Statements On A Doctored Video." In a September 24 article, RH Reality Check explained that the deceptively-edited Fiorina video ad uses a variety of video and audio sources from anti-choice groups like the Center for Medical Progress and the Grantham Collection to fabricate evidence "that simply doesn't exist" in support of false statements Fiorina previously made about Planned Parenthood (emphasis added):

A doctored video is being used to defend GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's false statements about a doctored video.

Fact-checkers at almost every major media outlet were quick to debunk Fiorina's misleading comments about Planned Parenthood last week at the second GOP presidential debate.

[...]

The video, according to a fact-check from Planned Parenthood, splices together five different video and audio sources from CMP: an interview with a former tissue procurement technician, Holly O'Donnell; a photo of a Pennsylvania woman's stillborn son that was used without permission; a video from a discredited anti-choice archive called the Grantham Collection; audio from a secret video of a doctor in Colorado; and audio from a surreptitiously recorded phone conversation with a man who works at another independent health-care organization in California.

The deceptive ad ends up showing a "fully formed fetus" with "legs kicking" (a stock image), an unrelated and completely out-of-context audio quote about a "heart beating," and a mention of harvesting a brain. [RH Reality Check, 9/24/15]

MSNBC's The MaddowBlog: Super PAC Ad Tries "To Make [Fiorina's] Deceptive Claim Appear True With Yet Another Deception." A September 24 MSNBC.com article headlined "Fiorina super PAC makes bogus claim worse" argues that the new video ad from the pro-Fiorina super PAC attempts to prove the veracity of the candidate's previous false claims by splicing together audio and video from various, unrelated sources, including an image of a stillborn infant used without the permission of the child's family:

I have to wonder, if Carly Fiorina had it to do over again, would she have made the bogus charge against Planned Parenthood in last week's debate? She's been caught telling an obvious falsehood, and her political operation keeps making it worse.

[...]

Splicing together different videos does not make a lie true.

[...]

There were a variety of easy ways that Fiorina could have tried to walk back the falsehood she made during the debate. She could have said she was exaggerating for effect. The candidate could have argued the scenario she described is theoretically possible, even if she hasn't seen proof of it literally occurring.

Instead, however, Fiorina keeps pretending a fiction is real - to the point that her allied super PAC is trying to make the deceptive claim appear true with yet another deception. [MSNBC.com, 9/24/15]

Mother Jones: Fiorina Ad Is "A Heavily Edited Selection Of Five Separate Audio And Video Clips." A September 24 article in Mother Jones reported that Planned Parenthood officials have condemned the CARLY for America video ad and requested that the super PAC remove it from YouTube. The article says some of the images in the ad come from groups with a history of baselessly smearing Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood pointed out that the video appears to be a heavily edited selection of five separate audio and video clips, spliced together "to try to concoct the video that she claimed existed" during the debate. Several of the clips, Planned Parenthood said, come from the doctored Center for Medical Progress sting videos released this summer that purport to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal organs for profit--a criminal allegation that state after state has found to be false.

One of the clips comes from the Grantham Collection, an anti-abortion archive that has been discredited by pro-choice advocates, in part for making false allegations about the content of benign photos. For instance, the group claimed that a photo of basic medical tongs is an image of the tool used to pull apart the limbs of an aborted fetus.

Planned Parenthood wrote a letter to the Fiorina campaign yesterday, asking it to take down the composite video. [Mother Jones, 9/24/15]

Washington Post: Unlike Other Campaigns, Fiorina Doubling Down When Caught In A Lie. A September 24 article in The Washington Post noted that other political campaigns, when caught in a lie, have walked back their false claims, but "Fiorina and her allies" concocted a misleading video to try and prove her point:

Describing the videos at last week's debate, Fiorina said, "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

It was arguably her best moment of a very good debate performance, but fact-checkers pointed out quickly that none of the videos -- by the Center for Medical Progress -- actually showed this.

Other campaigns have climbed down from similar claims about the videos. Fiorina and her allies have done no such thing. Three days after the debate, CARLY for America -- the PAC that legally has to keep its distance from Fiorina's actual campaign -- put together a video that spliced the candidate's answer with different clips. The viewer, hearing about the controversy but unaware of the original videos, might think that Fiorina nailed it. [The Washington Post, 9/23/15]

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