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“Somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full”

by | Aug 5, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

CNNonundercovervideosreWhen the controversy created by the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover PPFA videos was just getting started, we posted about the embarrassingly lame response of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Earnest tap danced around the question he was asked–if President Obama had seen the videos. [He hadn’t talked to the President “about this particular issue.”]

Earnest acknowledged that although he hadn’t seen them, he could vouch for PPFA adhering to the highest standards because…. Well, because PPFA said it was [beginning in the 35th minute].

So much for that hard-hitting journalism.

Kudos to Jazz Shaw whose post at today was headlined “Video: Tapper asks Press Sec why nobody at White House has watched PP videos

Turns out that CNN’s Jake Tapper did actually ask Earnest about the videos! Here’s the exchange.

Tapper: There’s nothing in these tapes that bothers you or anyone in the White House?

Earnest: Jake, I gotta tell you. These videos were released because of their shock value and there’s no doubt that what’s depicted on these videos is shocking. I know that based on the news reports I’ve read about the videos. I haven’t actually looked at them. But people who have looked at them have raised significant questions about whether or not these videos are credible. About whether or not they’ve been selectively edited in a way to grossly distort the position and the policies of Planned Parenthood.

Tapper: The whole video is put up on the website of this anti-abortion group that put them out. You don’t have to watch just the edited version. You can watch the whole version.

Earnest: Well listen, I’m relying on news reports that I’ve seen of people who’ve taken a look at this and raised questions about the videos themselves and there’s no doubt that this is an organization that has targeted Planned Parenthood for some time, so they clearly have an ideological ax to grind. What we know to be true is that Planned Parenthood provides regular health care for millions of Americans across the country. And Planned Parenthood is not able to use federal funds to perform abortions. That is written into the rules. That is a rule that this administration has not just followed, but actually supported. So it’s clear that there are some ideological games that are being played here. And what this administration and this president has long fought for is protecting access for women to health care. And that’s exactly why we want to make sure there’s not an ideological effort to wholesale defund Planned Parenthood that provides those important health care services to women all across the country.

Tapper: Well, somebody at the White House should maybe watch the videos in full.

Well, yes, somebody ought to watch the videos in full. My guess is (a) somebody has, or (b) started to and quickly decided they wanted plausible denial: “I only know what I read in the newspapers.”

Two quick comments.

First, we’ve posted many, many times about Planned Parenthood, federal funding, and abortion. As Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, said of Iowa Senator Joni Ernst’s bill, it “would push the snout of Planned Parenthood, a bloated abortion mega-marketer and a fetal organ trafficker, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough.”

Second, it is truly remarkable how often this administration, including President Obama himself, looks reporters in the face and says, “I just learned about this in the newspaper.”

Honest to goodness, cross your heart and hope to die?

By the way, as you no doubt noticed, Earnest’s “answer” merely cobbles together various Planned Parenthood talking points. A real response would grapple in an intellectually and morally serious way with the human rights atrocities on display in these five videos.

But, then again, they’d have to get their snouts out of the newspaper.

You can watch the Tapper/Earnest exchange here.

Categories: PPFA