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Monday, November 30, 2015
CNS Follows Right-Wing Playbook In Distracting From Abortion Clinic Shooting

When the shooting that killed three at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic -- where the alleged killer, Robert Dear, reportedly ranted about "baby parts" during the crime -- occured, the anti-abortion folks at knew what it had to do: change the narrative. And that's what it tried to do.

First on the agenda: dismiss the shooter as crazy, despite the fact that no psychological evaluation of Dear has been performed or otherwise made public. Here's how that narrative was advanced:

  • Susan Jones declared that Dear was "an apparently unstable man" and quoted GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee calling Dear a "madman" and "very unstable."
  • Jones, in a separate article, highlighted Dear's "several run-ins with police" and a peeping-tom charge against him.
  • Eric Scheiner copied a Republican congressman's discussion of "mental problems" because “No one would say, 'I’m standing up for life by going to take a life'. That is completely inconsistent with the movement that is so focused on individuals protecting life."
  • Melanie Hunter played up Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's comments on the shooting, noting that she said Dear "appears deranged."

If this tactic sounds familiar, it is. CNS has repeatedly portrayed Scott Roeder, killer of abortion doctor George Tiller, mentally unstable despite the fact that he did not mount an insanity defense at his trial and a psychologist hired by the defense found Roeder competent to stand trial.

The next step was to separate Dear from the anti-abortion movement, even though he was echoing its attacks on Planned Parenthood. Lauretta Brown (pictured above) -- who we last saw peddling misinformation about birth control and portraying extremist pastorsas "conservative black leaders" -- suddenly found her sense of journalistic balance in her article, in which she counters statements by NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue condemning the killings and those who apparently inspired Dear with statements from anti-abortion groups denouncing violence.

Brown quoted the Center for Medical Progress' denunciation of the killings -- in which Dear was dismissed as a "violent madman" -- and proudly noted CMP's "undercover videos over the summer showing Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of aborted baby parts," but she did not mention that Dear was ranting about "baby parts" during his rampage.

Similarly, Brown highlighted Operation Rescue's statement denouncing the incident, but she didn't mention that Operation Rescue official Cheryl Sullenger spent time in prison for plotting to blow up an abortion clinic.

Because Hogue specifically called out Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, Brown went further into defense mode:

Hogue was likely referencing comments in a 2000 book, “Their Blood Cries Out,” co-authored by Newman, and which Australian MP Terri Butler recently invoked to deny Newman’s visa for a speaking tour on character grounds.

The Guardian reports that Butler pointed out this passage of the book: “In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”

“Newman has never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities and has instead adamantly encouraged pro-life activists to work through the legal, legislative, and justice systems to bring abortionists who are breaking the law and harming women to justice,” Operation Rescue replied in a September statement.

But claiming that abortion doctors should go through the legal system before being executed is still demanding that they be executed, no matter how much Operation Rescue tries to deny it; his "Their Blood Cries Out" statement does not differenctiate between abortion docctors doing their job legally  and "abortionists who are breaking the law."

Brown concluded her article with an apparent attempt to justify the shooting and blame Planned Parenthood itself for it by invoking Mother Teresa:

Planned Parenthood also tweeted Sunday: “To all of the trolls who spew hatred and lob attacks at us, PP family, or supporters online, you are a part of the problem.”

Mother Teresa, at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast attended by the pro-abortion President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, called abortion “the greatest destroyer of peace today.”

[I]f we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” said Mother Teresa. “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

But CNS was not done. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman tried to change the subject altogether with an article on "The latest abortion surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," in which "55.4 percent were performed on black or Hispanic mothers."

Chapman was silent on the ethnicities of the people Robert Dear murdered while apparently inflamed by anti-abortion rhetoric.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:08 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 30, 2015 6:10 PM EST

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