Faith v. Facts on Planned Parenthood

I grew up believing that our intellectual gifts must be used -- that the universe about us is complex but operates on consistent and observable rules that by study and testing we might understand and put to best ends.

It seems that this is now an outlying opinion.

A Malaysian mufti recently underscored the viewpoint of too much of the world:

The Malay Mail Online reported Tuesday that the Perak mufti, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, advised Muslim members of the government “not to go overboard.” He reminded them that “Islam is based on faith… Don’t make any remarks based on the intellect or logic…” Why not? Because “the intellect is governed by desires and it is influence by shaitan (satan). Don’t be ruled by desires and rudderless comments.” Harussani was reflecting an aspect of Islam that runs through its history, but is little remarked upon today by Western analysts: its anti-intellectualism and rejection of reason.   

If you think this is bizarre and unique to the Third World or Moslems you haven’t been paying attention to our own world. For it seems to me that we are stricken with the disorder of cognitive dissonance, which is not remarkably different.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.

This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc.

Put simply, when faced with facts that are at odds with what we believed to be true, we lie to ourselves to create a comfortable illusion.

The entire concept of multiculturalism -- the notion that all cultures are equal -- comes to mind, or the inconsistency of hate speech punishment on campuses which boast they are places within whose lofty intellectual precincts scholars sift and winnow information to arrive at truth -- a process impossible without free speech.

Who to Believe -- Planned Parenthood or Your Lying Eyes?

Most recently, the focus on Planned Parenthood shows the refusal of so many well-credentialed people to acknowledge that Planned Parenthood is not a provider of needed medical services to poor, medically underserved women. Rather it is a well-financed nationwide abortion mill, that often jeopardizes the health of those who come to it in order to cash in on even more revenue from fetal tissue buyers. It is, moreover, a money merry-go-round with politicians feeding it half a billion dollars a year in return for which they get lots of campaign funds and significant on-the-ground political help.

A Darrin Bell cartoon in Saturday’s Washington Post (reprinted from the Sacramento Bee) shows how the media continues to perpetuate the falsity. It shows all the GOP candidates lifting a missile labeled “De-Funding” and aiming it at the head of a poor seated woman labeled “Planned Parenthood”.

It’s just one example of what the media, uncomfortable with the truth, revealed in the five videos of Planned Parenthood’s operations, is doing to prevent itself and its news consumers from facing uncomfortable truths about the left’s sacred (cash) cow.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway has done an outstanding job of exposing the cognitive dissonance of Obama and the press on this issue.

Here’s Obama in Africa decrying killing people to harvest their organs:

President Barack Obama told a group of young African leaders on Monday that harvesting organs from humans that are killed as part of an African ritual was “craziness” and a “cruel” tradition that needed to stop. He warned of dehumanizing marginal groups of humans and of the problems that arise when “you are not able to see someone else as a human being.”

She contrasts that with the administration’s fancy dancing around the Planned Parenthood videos:

The Center for Medical Progress has released five videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the killing of human fetuses and the harvesting of their organs -- or entire cadavers -- to researchers willing to pay a pretty penny for them.

On the topic of human organ harvesting, President Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest has said that President Obama has chosen not to watch the video footage of Planned Parenthood officials dissecting human fetuses for parts. Nevertheless, President Obama has vehemently defended the abortion group.

In 2012, Planned Parenthood said, while announcing a $1.4 million ad buy on his behalf, that they had “no greater champion” than President Obama.

During his time in the Illinois Senate, Obama’s devotion to abortion was so extreme that he argued a form of infanticide should remain legal out of fear that protecting infants born alive might somehow protect young humans in the womb.

Seventy percent of the public has never heard of these videos because the media has not reported about them.

YouGov claims a recent poll shows that “After video releases, opinion of Planned Parenthood little changed.” Buried at the end of their press release, however, is the real story.

The vast majority of Americans -- a whopping 70 percent -- have heard little to nothing about videos showing the involvement of Planned Parenthood in the harvesting and trafficking of human fetal organs. The revelations from the videos have led to federal and state investigations, calls to end the $530 million a year in taxpayer funding, and questions from human rights activists about the propriety of the practice.

Yet the media have so struggled to cover the story, much less cover it well, that one third of the public has heard literally nothing about them while another 38 percent have heard only a little. Democrats are particularly uninformed on the videos, with more than three out of four reporting they have heard little to nothing about the videos.

Of those who had heard at least a little about the videos, only 45 percent had seen any video, or even a clip from the video. But since only 68 percent of the population had even heard of the video that means that relatively few Americans -- 30.6 percent -- had been exposed to even a portion of the video by the media. Again, Democrats were the least informed about the videos, with fewer than one in four -- 23 percent -- having been exposed by the media to any of the full videos, the edited videos, or even clips from the videos.

When the media has covered the issue, it has done so obliquely, mentioning only fleetingly “disturbing” videos without reference to the content. Or they do as Andrea Mitchell did in her puffery interview this week with Barbara Boxer (who has said it’s not a baby until the mother takes it home) suggestively characterizing them falsely as edited out of context. Boxer’s response is classic: “This attack is just a smoke screen.” It is on a par with Mufti Zakaria’s admonition against using intellect and reason. She’s merely clinging to another faith-based religion, one which not coincidentally helps finance and campaign for her party. 

Yes the (over 300 hours all told) tapes were edited. So are the news accounts of any lengthy speech or conference. But in this case the videos and transcripts in full were made publicly available and to my knowledge no one has pointed to a single distortion or false edit. As for context, what other context is there except the organization’s officials haggling over price and bragging that they could deliver intact later term (including most likely born alive) fetuses by manipulating breech births, a practice probably illegal, unethical, and certainly more harmful to the mother. Instead of papering over the truth, real journalists might investigate whether the organization’s fight against the ban on partial birth  (and late term) abortions wasn’t motivated by the bottom line benefit to their already overflowing coffers.

But that would conflict with their faith-based belief that the organization is a good one, providing services to poor women, protecting their health and operating out of the most charitable of impulses, wouldn’t it?