OUR SELECTIVE REPRESENTATIONS, OURSELVES: Doctored attacks on Planned Parenthood!


Part 3—Doctored attacks by ourselves:
This morning’s New York Times includes an important featured editorial.

The editorial runs a full 866 words. In hard copy, its headline proclaims “An Ugly Campaign of Deception.”

In their important piece, the editors allege that recent attacks on Planned Parenthood have been driven by dishonestly doctored tapes. In part, the editorial says this:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (7/22/15): The nine-minute video clip released by the Center for Medical Progress, an outfit apparently created in 2013, invites viewers to ''Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their illegal sale of baby parts.'' In it, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, is seen discussing the collection of fetal tissue in a lunch meeting with two people posing as potential tissue buyers. A second video, released on Tuesday, shows another Planned Parenthood staff member discussing fetal tissue.

After the first video's release, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky pledged to ''introduce an amendment to pending Senate legislation to immediately strip every dollar of Planned Parenthood funding.'' Senator Ted Cruz of Texas called for defunding and for ''an investigation of Planned Parenthood's activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts.”...

The full video of the lunch meeting, over two hours long and released by the Center for Medical Progress after complaints by Planned Parenthood, shows something very different from what these critics claim. Clearly, the shorter version was edited to eliminate statements by Dr. Nucatola explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donation, which requires the clear consent of the patient...
According to the detailed editorial, two hours of videotape were selectively edited—doctored—to create a false impression. We asked ourselves a familiar question:

Why is the information in this piece appearing on the editorial page? Why isn’t this matter being reported, as a news topic, on the front page of the Times?

As happenstance would have it, this general topic does appear on the Times front page today. Unfortunately, the topic appears in the form of a profile—a profile of 26-year-old David Daleiden, the true-believing youngster who is responsible for this alleged deception.

The front-page report by Jackie Calmes barely touches on the claims and counterclaims about the alleged deception. In the past week, Calmes has done several shorter reports in which these claims and counterclaims are reported. But the Times hasn’t tackled the alleged scam as a stand-alone news topic.

That task is left to today’s editorial. We’ve noted this peculiar division of labor at the Times again and again and again.

Last night, the allegations against Planned Parenthood were getting heavy play on Fox, our nation’s most-watched cable news channel. If the videotapes have been doctored, it represents an act of fraud against the American people.

That said, doctored stories have long since become as American as apple pie. Newspapers like the New York Times have often approached such doctored stories with the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” even when such bogus stories are driven from groups on the right.

Over the past several decades, the American discourse has repeatedly run on doctored stories. Doctored stories are the fuel of our frequently ludicrous discourse.

We liberals tend to get angry when such doctored stories come from the right. But in the past decade, we liberals have revealed a major sweet tooth for our own doctored tales.

We keep inventing our own doctored tales—doctored tales which present the world as we want the public to see it. Yesterday, an exalted Stanford professor did it. But then, the practice has become enormously common in our own underwhelming tribe.

That embarrassing Stanford professor was typing for the new Salon, where ludicrous liberal tales now abound. Consider another standard tale Salon readers have met on several occasions this month.

Readers encountered the doctored tale in this piece by Adam Mansbach, who became a best-selling author by writing a children’s book filled with the naughty word “f*ck.”

As it turned out, Mansbach’s piece was utterly stupid even by the degraded standards of the new Salon. In part for that reason, Mansbach was widely trashed in comments, largely for his alleged misogyny and his self-adoration.

Mansbach’s essay was about as pathetic as an essay can get. Still, very few commenters offered remarks about the standard story which is lodged in the passage shown below.

In this passage, Mansbach starts explaining why he had to break up with his smokin’ hot girlfriend, who wasn’t as politically enlightened as he is. Warning! Brain damage may result from reading this work, as is often the case at the grotesquely tribal, dumbed-down new Salon:
MANSBACH (7/8/15): I did, however, become single and start dating last summer…I met a girl I really liked. I’ll call her Jessie. She was gorgeous, she was smart, and she liked to talk shit. She lived in Queens but I met her at a literary festival in Jamaica. We watched Prodigy from Mobb Deep get bumrushed onstage by a drunken local whom the crowd liked more, and then we stayed up all night, blah blah blah. It didn’t occur to me, not for one second, that her politics or her race consciousness or whatever might be different than mine, because I had met her. Even though she was from a tiny town in Oregon and had grown up in a mega-Christian family. After all, she’d renounced that shit and moved to New York and she liked me.

Then Mike Brown got murdered and Jessie couldn’t understand the rush to condemn Darren Wilson. This wasn’t part of a pandemic of police violence against black men to her; these were individuals and we didn’t know what had happened and we shouldn’t make assumptions and most cops weren’t necessarily racist, most cops just reacted to the situations they were in, the experiences they’d had, and if those experiences led them to assume that black men should be treated as threats, who were we to question that? She’d served two weeks on a grand jury and all the gun case defendants had been black, and what did that tell you? Those were facts. She’d been there.

We almost broke up that night. I stood on the street outside her crib, an incredibly heavy duffel bag on my shoulder, and argued my motherfucking ass off for two and half hours. I happen to be really good at arguing, for reasons I’m not necessarily proud of, reasons that date back to early childhood and contributed heavily to my nascent singleness…

I told Jessie she was ignoring the empirical in favor of the anecdotal, and what a fraught and dangerous path that was. I tried to get her to understand how intensely personal this was for me, how unjust policing and trials and sentencing had destroyed friends’ lives and compromised our entire generation. We did history and anthropology and philosophy. It was heated and intense and the angrier I get the better I argue. Eventually I felt good enough about where we’d gotten, the progress we’d made, to go upstairs and sleep with her.
Go ahead! Take your shower, we’ll wait! But that passage reflects the current intellectual standards at Salon, which started out, twenty years back, as an on-line magazine for intelligent liberal thought.

In comments, scores of readers trashed Mansbach for misogyny and self-adoration. That said, his citation of Michael Brown was perhaps the dumbest part of his admittedly ludicrous piece.

We don’t recall commenters noticing that. Here’s why we make our assessment:

In that passage, Mansbach is rolling his eyes at Jessie’s lack of “race consciousness.” Specifically, Jessie had committed this sin—she had said that people shouldn’t “rush to condemn Darren Wilson.”

We don’t yet know what happened, she said. We shouldn’t make assumptions.

Eleven months later, Mansbach was offering this story as an example of how dumb Jessie was! He seemed to be completely unaware of an intervening event—in March, Eric Holder’s Justice Department filed a lengthy, detailed report in which they judged, among other things, that every shot Wilson fired that day was “justified.”

(Is “Jessie” an actual person? Did she say the various things Mansbach reports? There is no way to know such things. We’re simply following the logic of Mansbach’s essay.)

Alas! According to the Justice Department, the shooting of Michael Brown didn’t happen in the way people like Mansbach were saying at the time. In a slightly rational world, this would suggest that Jessie had perhaps even been right in suggesting that her brilliant boyfriend should wait for full information.

We don’t live in that world! When the Justice Department filed its report, publications like Salon worked hard to avoid it. (So did MSNBC.)

As a result, Mansbach showed no sign of knowing what the Justice Department concluded after its lengthy probe. He still thought the anecdote we’ve posted shows how brilliant his “consciousness” was!

(“I tried to get her to understand how intensely personal this was for me,” Mansbach wrote. That’s exactly the problem here, although the man who argues so well doesn’t seem to know it.)

This is a type of willful ignorance which we liberals used to associate with the ditto-heads in the other tribe. Now, we promote our own doctored stories. We hang onto our own treasured tales no matter what intervenes.

In this morning’s Salon, Professor Cooper is aggressively pre-judging the latest story. This is the way we liberals are now encouraged to reason:
COOPER (7/22/15): I do not believe that Sandra Bland hanged herself just a few hours before her sister was set to come and pay the $500 bail it would have taken to get her out of jail. I do not believe Sandra Bland hanged herself two days before taking her dream job at her alma mater. I do not believe Sandra Bland hanged herself.

No one with good sense believes that. And I challenge the sense of anyone who is willing to contort themselves into intellectual knots to make such a ridiculous story seem remotely plausible.
This is what media reports about Sandra’s prior traffic tickets and minor previous arrest for smoking marijuana are supposed to make us do. This is what reports about her struggles with depression and PTSD are supposed to make us do. Depression and PTSD should not be conflated with being suicidal, and smoking marijuana is legal in a range of states and municipalities now. Moreover, PTSD diagnoses are rising at alarming levels in Black communities, because of continued exposure to poverty and violence.
Professor Cooper shouldn’t “believe Bland hanged herself.” At present, investigations of Bland’s death have barely begun.

But Professor Cooper, like Mansbach before her, ridicules people who don’t instantly submit to the truth of the preferred doctrinal story. The notion that Bland might have hanged herself isn’t even “remotely possible,” she ditto-headedly says.

Cooper goes on to offer pointless observations about marijuana, depression and PTSD diagnoses. At sites like the new Salon, this is the way our liberal tribe’s professors currently reason.

We’d hoped to show you a comment thread in Salon about the Michael Brown case. Alas, we aren’t able to find it. (Does any other major site have such poor search capabilities?)

The comment thread appeared at Salon around the time of the Mansbach essay. Two readers went back and forth at astonishing length, arguing about the claim that Michael Brown was murdered.

The reader who argued against that claim said he had a law enforcement background. He seemed quite knowledgeable about the forensic evidence of the case.

The readers argued back and forth for a very long time. We were struck by a remarkable fact—neither person ever mentioned the Justice Department’s lengthy report, in which the department judged that every shot fired by Wilson was “justified.”

In the liberal world, that report barely existed in real time; it doesn’t exist today. We loved the story we had at the start. Because we loved that story so much, we disappeared the Justice report, thus Keeping Story Alive.

We can’t tell you what actually happened on the day Michael Brown was killed. We do, however, know what Eric Holder’s Justice Department said after an exhaustive probe.

Over here in our liberal tribe, that report has been wiped from the face of the earth. It’s not unlike what the other tribe has apparently done to the bulk of that tape concerning the devils at Planned Parenthood.

We used to laugh at The Others for this. But those halcyon days are gone. Today, The Others are very much Us.

Do we really think this tribal conduct makes sense?

Still coming: Back to those Washington Post statistics. Also, Trayvon Martin, Prince Jones


  1. I don't "really" think this tribal conduct makes sense.

    I just act like it to avoid waking the lazy dumb slumberers in the tribe. They are angry enough already after reading what the exalted Stanford professor wrote yesterday. I can see them grabbing their dicks in their sleep. At least I really think I can. It is dark. And wooded.

    1. Thank you for trying: Bob asked:

      Why is the information in this piece appearing on the editorial page?

      Why isn’t this matter being reported, as a news topic, on the front page of the Times?

      Is “Jessie” an actual person?

      Did she say the various things Mansbach reports?

      Do we really think this tribal conduct makes sense?

      In a slightly rational world commenters would address these questions. We don't live in that world.

  2. The profit component of the Planned Parenthood scandal (but I repeat myself) isn't why people who retain a shred of humanity are disgusted by the videotapes. It is the fact that the harvesting of human baby parts and their fair price is are discussed over bites of salad, and that the PP ghouls and others refer to the organs as "tissue" and something the mother having her baby killed may morally donate as if it is hers. My wife's ultrasound doctor didn't exclaim, "Look you can see your wife's tissue." The progressive left reaches ever lower depths of depravity in defending this evil.

    1. You do know your marriage, as well as you wife's, has already been degraded beyond redemption by gay marriage.

      I think celibacy is your best bet if you want Heaven's reward. Unless you move to another country where the sanctity of marriage is still preserved. Plus you will avoid the hurricanes, tornados, and floods which God has planned for this fall's Gay Pride celebrations.

      Assuming you are a man, of course. Which I assumed due to your fierce anti-abortion stance.

    2. @ 1:04

      Liberals are indeed whimsical. After the SCOTUS ruling it is considered bad form to use the modifier "gay" when saying marriage between two people, yet a life form in the womb is merely a fetus, not a baby, regardless if by 14 weeks the life form is recognizable even to a liberal.

    3. Cicero you are so right. They also insist on terms like "corporal punishment" to describe proper parenting techniques for babies whom early non-normative behavior is recognizable even before formal home schooling begins.

      You have never said you are a parent but it is obvious you are quite a spanker.

    4. Most people would be horrified at the way doctors talk about their jobs and their patients in contexts outside reproductive health too.

    5. 1:42 "Killing babies is OK because conservatives say child abuse is good."


    6. 1:45, no doctors other than abortion doctors kill healthy young human beings.

    7. 1:04 only a brain dead lib would believe a man has no right to take a position on certain abortions and certain other killings of human beings regardless of who orders the killing.

    8. Professor Cooper never learned about Occam's razor in feminist studies courses. She never learned anything except how to contort every incident into victimization.

    9. If we're going to call fetuses "healthy young human beings", just give them guns to protect themselves from abortion doctors?
      Natural allies: the NRA and busy-bodies who want to assure women are second-class citizens.

    10. I thought cicero said Cooper was a dude.

    11. 2:42, were your children healthy young human beings at 20 weeks gestation? If not, what were they? If they were tissue, presumably you would have had no problem with it had someone caused the premature elimination of that "tissue." You probably shouldn't tell them so.

    12. Anon 2:42 if it's murder to abort a fetus, who has never existed outside it's mother's womb, why is it ok to kill animals for food and sport, who have more consciousness than a fetus? Who other than humans think humans are more important than animals?

    13. In other words, better to kill a newborn baby than adult chimpanzee

    14. 7:00,
      No. They were fetuses. Not human beings.

      It's not murder to abort a fetus.

    15. anon 12:33, not what I said. anon 4:13, didn't say (and don't believe) abortion is murder, used word "if"

    16. 4:13, if you think fetuses aren't human beings as are infants, children, and adults, you need to go back to 5th grade science class.

  3. You mean when they discussed "crushing" the human being in the most efficient and "crunchy" way to preserve her heart, lungs, and liver intact they weren't trying to maximize profits on the deal, only trying to get fair market price? Well now, that changes everything. I'm all for it.

    1. As Hitler said to the Jews before WWll, @12:53, you're on the wrong side of history.

  4. Celebrities who committed suicide who had everything to live for:

    Robin Williams
    Philip Hoffman
    Tony Scott
    Whitney Houston
    Amy Winehouse
    Kurt Cobain
    Sawyer Sweeten

    Professor Cooper had no comment regarding these deaths which by his ratiocination couldn't have possibly been suicide.

    1. Unmoderated commenter who has nothing to live for.

    2. @ 1:33

      Good thing B.S. is moderating your comments. Otherwise you would be crying like a fetus.

    3. B.S. is not moderating my comments. He doesn't read comments here.

      Bob reads comments at Mother Jones and Salon so he can tell you what comments are not there. Because few of us see what he sees. And so the meltdown continues.

    4. It's that easy to destroy the irrational musings of the left.

    5. The musings are one thing. But that fellow Cooper's ratiocination is part of that hustle thing black and wanna-be black writers are into.

    6. Professor Cooper is really over a barrel now, pun intended.

      "Documents filled out for Sandra Bland when she was booked into a Texas jail where officials say she later hanged herself in her cell indicate she had previously attempted suicide after losing a baby.'


  5. I want my old Salon back.

    1. I am concerned about events at Gawker and what that portends for journalism as we know it. Why isn't that in a front page post at the Howler instead of relegated to the comment box?

  6. The entire purpose of this site is to mock and denigrate liberals, tamp down progressive passions, and deny racism (or at least to get people to look the other way). That's it, in a nutshell. That's the whole point. This site is, ultimately, if passive aggressively, pernicious. Thankfully, few people come here anymore.

    "We" liberals my red-diaper ass.

    1. Undoubtedly a Chris Hedges fan.

    2. Reds weren't noted for their critical thinking either, but you should have grown out of that.

    3. But they did make might fine diapers.

    4. It is impossible to tamp down on Progressives who are passionate about their right to make racist comments:

      "(Harry Reid) was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." -- Harry Reid's comments reported by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
      "A few years ago, (Barack Obama) would have been getting us coffee." -- Bill Clinton to Ted Kennedy

      “Civil rights laws were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them.” -- Mary Frances Berry, former Chairwoman, US Commission on Civil Rights

      “You cannot go to a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent.” -- Joe Biden

      "We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go." -- Marion Barry

      “White people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. It’s for the good of the country and for those who’re bitter for a reason and armed because they’re scared.” -- Left-wing journalist Jonathan Valania

      "I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia [Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan recruiter] that he would have been a great senator at any moment. . . . He would have been right during the great conflict of civil war in this nation." -- Former Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd (D.,Conn.)

    5. Democrats say the darndest things.

  7. Modern Liberal ThinkerJuly 22, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    Stop it!!! Stop saying there's anything to worry about in modern liberal thought!

    The other guys are so much worse, you know!

    So much so, in fact, that if you are saying there's anything troubling happening in modern liberal thought, why, then you're no liberal at all!

    1. What is troubling is that Bob seemed to hate it when they slept and hates it more now that they are awake. And that is partly his fault.

    2. Modern Liberal Thinker,
      Meanwhile, those who believe we should have single-payer healthcare are mocked on the liberal blogs as "purity trolls" who are just disappointed they didn't get a pony.

    3. MLT has hit the nail in the proverbial coffin corner.

    4. Modern Liberal ThinkerJuly 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      I have to agree with you, 2:11 Anonymous: The actions of this microblogger are what's really troubling!

    5. Think how much worse it could be if he went macro and got a viral.

    6. Modern Liberal ThinkerJuly 22, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      See, there's real thinking for you -- Thanks, 3:18 Anonymous.

      Somerby could be even more troubling than he already is. That's indisputably true!

      Cold comfort for those who've already been harmed, though.

      A public apology to MSNBC and the New York Times would be a good place to start making amends, I suppose.

      But of course those are only institutions... A more insidious damage has been done to those folks who may have read this blog and thought that critiquing liberalism from within is an idea of any merit all...

    7. I really doubt the issue is whether there is merit in internal criticism, although surely there will be takers for that point of view because the United States is, in our view, a big country,

      I believe the real damage comes from sleep interruption.

      But there you have it. They're damned when they sleep and damn near intolerable when awake.

  8. Samuel L. ModeratorJuly 22, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    Enough is enough. I've had it with these motherf*cking trolls on this microf*cking blog.

    1. Coming to a theater near you the sequel horror film featuring scores of the slimiest reptiles, "Libs on A Plane"

  9. When is the Times going to wake up and make Bob Somerby managing editor?

  10. Cpmpare and contrast:

    "In comments, scores of readers trashed Mansbach for misogyny and self-adoration. That said, his citation of Michael Brown was perhaps the dumbest part of his admittedly ludicrous piece.

    We don’t recall commenters noticing that.
    We’d hoped to show you a comment thread in Salon about the Michael Brown case. Alas, we aren’t able to find it. (Does any other major site have such poor search capabilities?)"

    "Ah, but the strawberries, that's, that's where I had them, they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the ward room icebox did exist, and I've had produced that key if they hadn't pulled the Caine out of action. I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer.........Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory. If I left anything out, why, just ask me specific questions and I'll be glad to answer them."

  11. The Salon article by the white man is really something. It's sad a 39 year old man would act so stupidly.