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Thursday, March 24, 2011
CNS Portrays Right-Wing Activists As 'Experts'

The headline of Penny Starr's March 24 article reads, "Breakdown of Black Families in U.S. Linked to Planned Parenthood’s Birth Control Campaign, Experts Say." But Starr quotes no "experts," only right-wing activists -- and only one of them makes the claim in the headline.

Starr is writing about a panel at the Frederick Douglass Foundation’s annual conference, but she doesn't identify the foundation as a right-wing group, which is obvious from its self-description as an organization that "brings the sanctity of free market and limited government ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing our nation." The conference was stocked with right-wing activists such as Michael Steele, Alveda King and Ken Blackwell.

Starr did correctly identify the activist making the headline smear of Planned Parenthood -- Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council -- as being with "a conservative group." But one would think his other claims would be more headline-worthy, such as that “Since the introduction of contraception, everything else has fallen.” 

But Starr identified Patricia Funderburk Ware only as "president and CEO of PFW Consultants Inc., and the former director of the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration." But Ware would not be a speaker at this conference if she was not a conservative -- indeed, this very panel was co-hosted by the "conservative" FRC. Yet Starr chose to hide that affiliation and that sponsorship.

Starr weaseled out of balancing the story by writing, "Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request for comment on Fagan's remarks before this story was posted." Given Starr's and CNS' historical antipathy toward Planned Parenthood, she clearly has no intention of treating the group fairly.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT

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