Dear Commons Community,
Planned Parenthood told U.S. congressional leaders on Thursday that manipulations and deletions used in the editing process of secretly recorded videos slamming the organization rendered the tapes unreliable for government inquiries.
In an 11-page letter to Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, the reproductive healthcare group’s president, Cecile Richards, detailed the findings of an analysis conducted by research firm Fusion GPS and commissioned by Planned Parenthood. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“The undercover Planned Parenthood videos that spurred a congressional investigation were so severely manipulated that they wouldn’t hold up in court, according to an analysis by three teams of forensic experts.
Planned Parenthood hired independent research firm Fusion GPS to investigate the validity of the first five “sting” videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group.
Glenn Simpson, a partner at the firm and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, assembled three teams of neutral experts to comb through the tapes using special video software. He said the teams found that all of the videos analyzed — even the supposedly “full,” unedited footage the CMP released — were missing large sections of time and misleadingly altered so that separate conversations appeared to take place in an uninterrupted take. Moreover, the forensic team found that the transcripts CMS released with the videos were frequently erroneous.
“It appears they commit what I would call ‘wishful thinking’ about what was said,” Simpson told reporters Thursday.
The videos show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the donation of fetal tissue after abortions — a legal practice. But the CMP edited the videos into episodes that make it look as though Planned Parenthood is selling fetal parts for profit and changing abortion methods to deliver intact specimens. The family planning provider strongly denies both charges, and five separate state investigations into Planned Parenthood have cleared the organization of any wrongdoing.
Simpson said his team of experts found that the subtitles in the videos do not correspond to the actual dialogue, and that the CMP may have simply invented parts of the conversation when the recordings were too low-quality to determine what was really being said. In one case, the video indicates that a technician said, “It’s a baby.” But those words cannot actually be heard in the video — the segment consists of incomprehensible background chatter.”
It looks like the CMP has some explaining to do.