Supplemental: Oh, what a tangled web we weave!


When Carly maxtuples down:
Last night, we watched a pitiful cable news event.

On CNN, John Berman was guest hosting for Anderson Cooper. On came a Fiorina spokesperson to support the greatness of Carly’s claims about the anti-Planned Parenthood videotape.

The story has advanced a step today. To set the stage for what has occurred, let’s review what Fiorina said at this month’s GOP debate, where this gong-show got its start:
FIORINA (9/16/15): As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape—I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.
Fact-checkers quickly noted some problems with Fiorina’s statement. Let’s run through the problems step by step:

What the technician said: The videotape in question turned out to be “file footage.” It had been spliced into a longer videotape in which a young technician, Holly O’Donnell, described a procedure she said she witnessed—a procedure which left her upset.

Let’s note again what we’ve noted before. As best we can tell, O’Donnell never says that the procedure in question was done by, or for, Planned Parenthood.

She tells her story at some length. As best we can tell, the name “Planned Parenthood” is never mentioned.

We’ve seen no fact-checker mention this extremely basic problem. We’ve seen no evidence that anyone has interviewed O’Donnell to ask her about this basic point.

What the candidate said: Along came a presidential candidate, saying she was horrified by what she saw on the videotape. Fact-checkers quickly noted that Fiorina’s description was inaccurate in certain basic respects—and that she was describing file footage, not actual video of the procedure O’Donnell said she had witnessed.

Fact-checkers correctly noted that Fiorina's description had been wrong. Fiorina kept insisting that her description was accurate.

By now, we already had a layer of problems. The young technician hadn’t said that the alleged procedure had anything to do with Planned Parenthood.

Beyond that, there was no videotape of the alleged procedure. Instead, file footage had been spliced into a longer videotape where the young technician told her story.

Fiorina had then come along and misdescribed that footage. When people noted her errors—errors about a piece of file footage which she ascribed to Planned Parenthood—she kept insisting that her descriptions (of file footage) had been correct all along.

What the supplier of the file footage has now said: Today, a new disconnect has occurred. The person who supplied the file footage has gone on the record refusing to connect the footage to Planned Parenthood. At Time magazine, Michael Scherer did the report:
SCHERER (9/29/15): Cunningham, an anti-abortion activist, declined to identify the date, location or authors of the video in an interview with TIME Monday night, saying his group makes agreements of confidentiality in an effort to acquire images of abortions. He also made no claim that the images shown in the video had anything to do with Planned Parenthood, the organization that Fiorina and others have targeted for federal defunding. “I am neither confirming or denying the affiliation of the clinic who did this abortion,” Cunningham said.


The full source video, which is extremely graphic, lasts about 13 minutes, and shows a fetus being extracted from the mother, placed in a metal bowl, prodded with medical instruments and handled by someone in the room. At times the fetus appears to move, and at other times it appears to have a pulse. There are no images on the full video of any attempt to harvest the brain of the fetus, and there is no sound.
Despite what Fiorina said, “there are no images on the full video of any attempt to harvest the brain of the fetus, and there is no sound.” Might we add the obvious point?

Because there’s no sound, Fiorina couldn’t have heard “someone say[ing] we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

Let’s review:

In her usual state of rage, Fiorina misdescribed some footage. When her obvious errors were noted, she insisted that the news orgs in question were acting in bad faith.

The person who supplied the footage makes no claim that it came from a Planned Parenthood facility. On the longer videotape, the young technician who says she witnessed a procedure never seems to claim that the procedure was connected to Planned Parenthood.

What kinds of procedures does Planned Parenthood conduct? That’s a perfectly valid question.

Here’s another valid question. At what point does Fiorina stop emitting angry slanders against a wide array of people and orgs? At what point does she stop crazily lying to voters?

What the spokesperson said: Last night, Fiorina’s spokesperson showed up on CNN. Guest host Berman noted the obvious once again. Inspired by her fiery leader, the spokesperson kept misstating and attacking the people who got it right:
BERMAN (9/28/15): Joining me now, Sarah Isgur Flores, Carly Fiorina's deputy campaign manager. Thanks so much for being with us.

Sarah, as you know, it’s not just NBC or Meet the Press, it’s nonpartisan fact-checkers, other news organizations, including Fox News, which is hardly an enemy of many Republicans, they have all pointed out that Carly Fiorina is misrepresenting the videos. The clip she continues to reference doesn’t show what she says it shows. Wouldn’t it just be better to admit that she is getting it wrong about this clip?

FLORES: She’s not getting it wrong. It’s at the 5:56 mark. What’s so interesting is that Chuck Todd never showed the video. In fact, a lot of these folks have never showed the video. They don’t link to it. The Washington Post recently said that Carly wasn’t a secretary, either.

BERMAN: Let’s leave that aside for a second.

FLORES: My point is that non-partisan fact-checkers aren’t nearly as non-partisan as you pretend they are.
Berman was pretending!

Flores’ misstatements and accusations continued from there. But uh-oh! As with Chuck Todd and Chris Wallace before him, there was no sign that Berman had ever watched the videotape in question. For that reason, he was left with little to say when Flores kept insisting—falsely, of course—that her boss’ description was perfectly accurate while everyone else had it wrong.

There was no sign that Berman had ever watched the tape. There was no sign that CNN had ever tried to contact O’Donnell, the young technician in question.

Increasingly, American “news” is simply a TV show! Except for issues of makeup and hair, our most famous “news orgs” seem to expend the smallest effort possible.

Oh what a tangled web we weave: Surprisingly, the famous quotation actually comes from Sir Walter Scott!

People often attribute the famous quotation to Shakespeare. When corrected, they sometimes acknowledge the fact that they were just hopelessly wrong.


  1. The supposed media watchdogs keep getting rolled because they haven't done their work.

    Point, Somerby.

    Even though what Fiorina said was false, she keeps getting media oxygen for her claims and isn't rebutted with any finality.

    Sadly, though, even where her defenders are confronted with the facts, they've shown they still have a hole card: changing the subject Abortion is homicide!!!

    One of her most craven defenders is right here -- David in California -- This nut insists that Fiorina spoke the truth. We're then supposed to give a shit when the lack-wit professes that he "still" supports Planned Parenthood anyway.

    You can't make them up!

    1. Dear The Room -- I explicitly said Fiorina had spoken a falsehood about her point being dupported by a live fetus on the tape.

      OTOH I do believe that PP sells fetus organs. IMHO there's nothing wrong with that.

    2. cicero's blowup dollSeptember 29, 2015 at 5:54 PM

      Except that's it's wrong. PP doesn't. Your often pointless and constantly erroneous trolling is tiresome and transparently tribal.

      Needless to say, the Room is being kind to you when describing you as a craven nut.

    3. ebd -- PP has admitted this practice:

      Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, admitted in an 11-page letter on Aug. 27 that its affiliates have accepted payments ranging from $45 to $60 "per tissue specimen" from abortions, but said that they were reimbursements to cover costs, which federal law allows. (Associated Press)

      There's a valid question as to whether PP makes a profit, which would be illegal. However, there's no doubt that they're exchanging these "tissue specimen" for money, which is what "selling" means.

    4. Yeah, I caught that semantical gibberish in a prior bit of your never-ending nonsense. As anyone who's seen an infomercial knows, payment of postage and handling is not payment for the product. It's a separate payment for a separate service. There is NO evidence - as opposed to tribal wingnut assertions - that Planned Parenthood is selling anything.

      Do everyone a favor and crawl back underneath your Breitbart rock. You are so played!

    5. Did the organization that paid $60 for the "tissue specimen" buy the tissue specimen? Or, would you use some other word for how they acquired it, Soapy?

    6. The organization only paid for the shipping/packing you dense jackass.

    7. cicero's blowup dollSeptember 29, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      Dinky would be whining about PP's fiscal irresponsibility if they didn't.

    8. At $45-$60 there's a legitimate question whether Planned Parenthood is profiting???

      Sorry. But you are an idiot.

      Those numbers cannot generate anything but a loss, unless you think Planned Parenthood have no costs whatsoever.

    9. @Sanity

      Panned Parenthood has exorbitant operating costs beginning with Ann Richards daughter's $520K salary. Talk about being born with a silver forceps in her mouth.

    10. CEO's don't earn that much? Your tasteless remark about forceps implies she has no resume to justify her position. That's as insulting as the sexist questioning Richards was subjected to by conservatives congressmen.

    11. Apparently tin-ear troll cicero getting paid in gum wrappers.

    12. Cicero! Such a climbdown from your former heights, anti-woman troll.

      "Planned Parenthood did an awful thing! Just look at this hackjob tape!!"

      "Ok, fine, Planned Parenthood had no involvement in what's on that total bullshit fakework tape of unknown scumbag provenance. But still, abortion is grosssssss."

      "Planned Parenthood's taking those baby parts to the bank, yo!"

      "Ok, they aren't. But the boss of that organization, which is totally so gross and awful, gets a paycheck.

      You're getting smaller and smaller, cicero. You'll disappear from view completely soon.

      You won't be missed.

      By anyone.

      (That's what your mom said.)

    13. @1:38

      You parrot the talking points of lib Carolyn Maloney. Her rant was embarrassingly ineffectual then as yours is now.

      BTW: Richards herself undermined the moonbat Maloney when she said being the daughter of Anne Richards made her tough. Apparently Maloney was full of baloney when she figured Richards would swoon if asked to reveal her salary.

  2. Duh! Nobody has claimed the abortion depicted was an illegal abortion either. PP is not proscribed from performing legal abortions. They just can't use government on them. So they have controls in place to shunt federal money away from abortion accounts. Double duh!

  3. The footage isn't footage of an abortion. It's footage of a miscarriage that's over ten years old, and according to a physician that has viewed the footage, not shot in the U.S. It was clandestinely shot, without the consent of the woman who was having the miscarriage.

    Fiorina may know that the footage is a fraud, or she may just believe what she's been told about the origin of the footage. the appalling thing about this incident is that it's taken over two months for an accurate report about the footage to make it into the press and a bunch of GP yahoos are wasting all of our time and money investigating PP for.a "crime" they didn't commit.

  4. Ms. Richards did an apology video because she acknowledge what was said by the doctor in the first Panned Parenthood video was true but shouldn't have been said over a chef salad. Does Nancy Pelosi believe Richards video is also faked?

    1. Brent take you back? His loss.

  5. I'm not sure Lena Dunham's interview with Clinton was really a pajama party. It may have been more of a coffee klatch, or a gab fest, or a hen party.

    1. In a poll, Republican men are less enamored of Clinton than Democrats so Huffington Post asks "Are men souring on Hillary Clinton" with an out-of-context picture that looks like she's telling guys to hit the road.

  6. The Republican Party: Batshit Insane and Incapable of Governing:
    Case Study Number 9762 - Let's Shut the Fucking Government Down in Order to Destroy a Program That Provides Needed Health Care for Millions of Poor American Citizens

    The Beginning: Anti abortion group runs sting - very possibly criminally recording persons without consent - in which they repeatedly and unsuccessfully try to entrap PP into doing something clearly illegal.

    This anti-choice group then tries to salvage something from their complete and utter failure to entrap employees of PP by editing the videos and launch a massive media blitz to maliciously malign PP and good work they do.

    One crazy Republican presidential primary candidate has gone into complete insane denial, refusing to acknowledge the falsity of her claims as to what is on the video.
    Federal Budget is held hostage to the wildfire burning in the monkey house known as our Congress to destroy PP.
    Republican Speaker of the House resigns.
    Committee Hearing called by insane republicans turns into a disgusting comical farce, where it is clear these people had no idea why they were there.

    Stay tuned for updates.

    1. @mm

      Since when have you ever been concerned with a POTUS candidate refusing to acknowledge the falsity of her claims? Answer: When that candidate is a female conservative.

      HRC fabricating stories about sniper fire, her grandparents being immigrants, Chelsea jogging around Twin Towers on 9/11, only having one device for emails, not soliciting Sydney Blumenthal, etc are deliberate fantasies created in HRC's mind.

    2. All lies are not equal. It matters whether there is personal political gain or a desire to hurt others, as in Fiorina's case or simple memory failure or a desire to relate to people, as in most of the Clinton examples. The petty game of gotcha played against Clinton sets a standard of accuracy that no one can adhere to without reference to written records. In Fiorina's case, she has doubled down on her lies even when confronted with contradictory evidence. That's why people are calling her deluded.

    3. Troll cicero an expert on fabricating. Give him that in lieu of pay, Brent.

    4. @1:35

      HRC lies, but not for political gain? There is nothing HRC has done since Nixon was POTUS that hasn't been for political self aggrandizement.

      Should Carly be the GOP nominee, she and HRC can debate one another as to whom is the most deluded.

    5. mm,

      Dunno if you can see it -- but there is a tiny little tick that's attached itself to your comment.

      These things can spread diseases of the meme, so it's optimal to have them removed and sterilized. If the site doesn't support that, then it's best to simply avoid contact with the affected area.

    6. @mm

      Now all you need do is concentrate your X-Ray vision on HRC and her congenital lying will become visible to you.

    7. @4:08,

      I understand. I hardly notice the tiny insignificant little impotent tick.

      I'm enjoying the spectacle of watching republican stars self-immolate too much to notice.

    8. @mm

      Libs wish to credit arson for HRC's poll numbers going up in flames when in fact it is the result of her own pyromania.

    9. @ 2:06 - re: this troll's reappearance. I can almost smell the wingnut flopsweat.