Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More theocratic and magical thinking driving propaganda and public policy

It had to happen sooner or later. The Amarillo Globe-News has jumped on the ill-informed bandwagon, accusing, by implication, Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue and calling for a Congressional investigation of the organization and the practice.

Here is the full paragraph in the Wednesday editorial that implies the profit while it also insults everyone following this right-wing witch-hunt:

Unless you suffer from a vision and/or hearing impairment (or honesty impairment) and cannot comprehend what is happening in the many related videos out there, it is obvious Planned Parenthood is selling parts of aborted babies. This is not necessarily against the law, but it is against federal law for Planned Parenthood to profit from such sales.

Going deeper into the screed, the Globe-News makes another indirect accusation, along with inflammatory language, by writing of “the real possibility” of the profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. Let’s leave aside the internal contradiction that the Globe-News has already drawn its conclusion while simultaneously asking for an investigation.

The editorial goes on to suggest that Planned Parenthood “donate” the “aborted baby parts,” asking if the cost of procurement is that high. I don’t think Dave Henry, the editorial page director (no, I won’t call him Director of Commentary), is too busy these day to make a few phone calls to learn the techniques and costs to provide these tools for valuable medical research. Hell, he wouldn’t even have to pick up the phone to educate himself. A look at the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on stem cells would offer some insight — including the notions that the material must be properly collected, treated and preserved.

As long ago as last month, as the Center for Medical Progress’ secretly recorded videos were disseminated, The Annenberg Public Policy Center, part of the University of Pennsylvania, released its fact sheet deconstructing the right-wing spin. But that rabid anti-abortion group, in secretly recording and releasing videos (some of which were done in California and others in Texas) may have violated both state and federal privacy and wiretapping laws. And while the California attorney general is launching a probeof those violations, our Tea Party Texas AG, one Ken Paxton, is strangely silent on the possible illegal recordings. But then, so is the Globe-News. The cavalier attitude (a word that’s been applied to Planned Parenthood) at the Globe-News about accountability and consistency reflects a cowardice we’ve sadly come to expect in Amarillo.

However, dissecting this and other right-wing propaganda at this micro-level overlooks some important considerations:

·This kind of editorializing has infected the Globe-News’ news pages, thereby eroding credibility and making it no better than Fox News;

·This type of editorializing, carried out nationwide by a variety of “conservative” media outlets, is really an attempt to sell the “magic” of a theocratic approach to public policy. Not only is the purpose of this misdirection to feed red meat to the already cognitively biased fundamentalists, it is also to distract them, and us, from the corporatization of our democratic republic;

·The fundamentalist theocratic approach to public policy is a direct assault on science and modern scientific method, part of the broader agenda to decry science when it counters their view of public policy and the rights of businesses to rule our lives;

·And, finally, it is also part of that broader right-wing agenda to dumb down the population and undercut the educational system’s ability to teach analytic and critical thinking based using real facts instead of a variety of Biblical myths.