Katrina Vanden Heuvel

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  • Journalists Call On Debate Moderators To Fact-Check Candidates

    Journalists: Debate Moderators Should “Be Well-Prepared Enough To Assert The Truth In Real Time”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Prior to the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, journalists are advising the debate moderators to “Be well-prepared enough to assert the truth in real time,” and arguing that a moderator should not “abdicate” their “role as a truth-seeker and a journalist” because moderators “play a constructive and vital role” in presidential debates.

  • Here Are The Media Figures Calling Out Trump's Sham Reinvention

    Carl Bernstein: “We Talk About The New Trump The Same Way We Talked About A New Nixon”


    After Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump began persuading some in the media that he will start acting more “presidential,” others in the media have expressed skepticism of Trump’s attempt to change his image and are warning their colleagues to not forget his insulting and extreme statements.

  • Washington Post Columnist Repudiates The Narratives Behind Conservative Media's Attacks On Planned Parenthood

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    A Washington Post column by columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel denounced conservative media narratives surrounding the "war on Planned Parenthood," noting that Republicans have seized on the Center for Medical Progress' "widely-debunked series of videos" and intentionally used "a highly misleading chart from Americans United for Life" -- which was heavily pushed by conservative media figures -- to engage in "a modern-day inquisition" against the organization.

    Planned Parenthood has come under attack from conservative media outlets after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of deceptively edited videos, purporting to show Planned Parenthood staff engaging in the illegal sale of fetal tissue to medical firms. These videos were repurposed by the House Oversight Committee in an attempt to promote its investigation into Planned Parenthood.

    Katrina vanden Heuvel noted in her October 6 column for the Washington Post that Rep. Jason Chaffetz "brandished a highly misleading chart from Americans United for Life that appeared to indicate -- falsely -- that Planned Parenthood performs more abortions than cancer screenings," the same chart also promoted heavily by conservative media figures, in a baseless attack on Planned Parenthood. She further wrote that, "What really demands attention are the lives currently hanging in the balance" because, despite the false claim that community clinics could fulfill the demand for services provided by Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health care provider is already filling a niche by providing a majority of services to low-income Americans and those in rural or under-served areas:

    Republicans haven't done this much hand-wringing since Donald Trump rode his escalator into the presidential race. But McCarthy's "gaffe" hasn't put the brakes on the GOP's cynical strategy. In fact, they plan to replicate it.

    Exhibit A was the recent announcement of a Benghazi-like select subcommittee tasked solely with exposing Planned Parenthood's supposedly nefarious activities, after the release of a widely-debunked series of videos purporting to show the organization selling fetal body parts. The new panel should not be confused with the House Energy and Commerce Committee's existing probe into Planned Parenthood. Or the House Judiciary Committee's "Planned Parenthood Exposed" investigation. Or the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's hearing.

    Planned Parenthood, mind you, provides 2.7 million Americans annually with cancer screenings, birth control and STI testing. Abortions comprise a small percentage of its work. The organization estimates one in five American women have visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in her lifetime, and 75 percent of the $500 million in federal funding Republicans hope to eliminate comes from Medicaid reimbursements for treating America's poorest patients. Break out the subpoenas!


    We got a taste of the GOP's latest assault on women's health when House Republicans hauled Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in front of a mostly-male hearing last week. Republican committee members compared Richards to a criminal. They expressed astonishment over her salary (which is comparable to those of other chief executives of large nonprofits). Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) brandished a highly misleading chart from Americans United for Life that appeared to indicate -- falsely -- that Planned Parenthood performs more abortions than cancer screenings. It was, to put it gently, a modern-day inquisition.


    Seeing the anti-choice crowd's open misogyny, some might conclude, as Post reporter Sarah Kaplan wrote , that "the stormy sessions could help Planned Parenthood." Progressives point to polls showing that 61 percent of Americans support federal funding for Planned Parenthood (only 29 percent support the Republican Party). They recall the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's ill-fated 2012 attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, which backfired and resulted in $3 million in donations and an outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood. Heck, Politico reports that Hillary Clinton's campaign is "eager for [a] Planned Parenthood fight with GOP."

    What really demands attention are the lives currently hanging in the balance. Since 2011, states have enacted an astonishing 287 new restrictions on abortion access. One-and-a-half abortion clinics are closing every week. Last Wednesday, a Planned Parenthood clinic near Los Angeles was deliberately set on fire.

    These setbacks seriously hinder access to desperately-needed health services, especially for those without other options. Planned Parenthood says that 78 percent of its patients are low-income. A third are black or Latino. More than half of its clinics are located in rural or underserved areas. As Richards reminded us, "We're not fighting political battles just to get a tally of win-losses. It's because it actually does matter in womans' lives."