Heavily edited, widely reported videos ‘significantly distort and misrepresent’ actual events, expert report concludes

Report and Letter to Congress Outline Substantial Deceptive Editing in Anti-Abortion Video Campaign

Heavily edited, widely reported videos ‘significantly distort and misrepresent’ actual events, expert report concludes

(AUGUST 31, 2015 – MEMPHIS, TN)– Secretly recorded videos about Planned Parenthood and lifesaving fetal tissue donation were heavily edited and “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events, according to an expert report submitted to congressional leadership today.

“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” wrote Glenn Simpson, a partner at the research firm Fusion GPS, in a 10-page report submitted to leadership of the House and Senate.

Fusion GPS assembled three teams of experts in video forensics, production, and transcription to review five secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood staff that have been released as part of a three-year fraud by a group of anti-abortion activists with extremist ties. The experts include Grant Fredericks who is an instructor of video sciences at the FBI National Academy and one of the most experienced video experts in North America. Fredericks and his team reviewed the short videos (of eight to 15 minutes in length) that have been widely reported on and viewed, as well as the longer versions of those videos (which total 12 hours for all five) that were released hours or days later.

This new report lays out the facts and details that these videos are deceptively edited, and should not be used as evidence in a legal context, and have no journalistic value. In Tennessee, state legislators and Memphis city council members have used the video attacks to lead politically charged investigations, endangering valuable health care services for thousands patients.

Key quotes from the expert report:

● “The short videos take a great deal of dialog out of context so as to substantively and significantly alter the meaning of the dialog contained in the long videos.”

● “CMP [Center for Medical Progress] edited content out of the alleged “full footage” videos, and heavily edited the short videos so as to misrepresent statements made by Planned Parenthood representatives.”

● “The short videos significantly distort and misrepresent the conversations in the full footage. Mr. Fredericks notes that the short videos contain edited conversations where some spoken words are eliminated and some spoken words are added out of content.”

● “At this point, it is impossible to characterize the extent to which CMP’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document. However, the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries unless supplemented by CMP’s original material and forensic authentication that this material is supplied in unaltered form.”

Along with the expert report, Planned Parenthood compiled a short breakdown of the heavy, deceptive editing in the five videos.

Key data from the summary:

● Collectively, the five videos of Planned Parenthood staff have at least 42 splices where content is cut and edited together to create the appearance of seamless conversations.

● In some cases, these splices completely change the meaning of statements. On one video, a Planned Parenthood staff member’s remarks about lab protocols were edited to make it sound like she was talking about changing abortion procedures. Phrases on the video were isolated and removed, stringing together unrelated sentences to change the meaning. Anti-abortion activists used the doctored “quote” to support false claims that she was talking about changing how an abortion would be done, and the “quote” was published by mainstream media as if it were real.

● On one video, a Planned Parenthood staff member in Colorado says 13 separate times that any arrangements related to fetal tissue donation need to be reviewed by attorneys and follow all laws – and all 13 are edited out of the video.

● On another video, a Planned Parenthood staff member in Texas says nine separate times that there is no “profit” related to fetal tissue donation – and all nine are edited out of the video.

The summary of edits and the expert report were submitted to Senate and House leadership with a letter from Planned Parenthood Federation of America that provides background and information on our involvement with fetal tissue research. The letter explains that fetal tissue research is critical for helping develop cures for serious diseases and advancing public health. Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states – 1% of Planned Parenthood’s health centers – currently offer tissue donation as an option for women who want it. No Planned Parenthood affiliates in Tennessee currently participate in a tissue donation program.

The letter outlines the legal requirements of fetal tissue donation and quotes from Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s guidance for this work, which goes far above and beyond the legal requirements. The letter notes that, even with the deceptive edits to videos and misinformation campaign over the last six weeks, there is no evidence and no indication that Planned Parenthood has violated any laws or medical standards – and that, on the contrary, Planned Parenthood provides a full range of high-quality health care services to 2.7 million people a year, including birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, and abortion.

“Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of high-quality reproductive health care and sex education. Millions of people walk through our doors every year, all across this country, and trust us to give them the health care and information they need,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said today. “Our commitment is to get all the facts and share them fully, and that’s what we’re doing today. We’ve said all along that these videos were heavily edited to deceive the public, and that’s what this expert analysis now shows. The more the public learns about this fraudulent, baseless attack on women’s health, the better, and that’s why today we’re laying everything out for leaders in Congress and for the public.”

“We’ve said all along that these videos were heavily edited to deceive the public, and now expert analysis confirms it,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region. “Three teams of experts in video forensics, production, and transcription have determined, as we’ve always said, that the videos have no value in a legal context, cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries, and have no credibility as journalistic material. This may be a game for those who’ve produced these videos, but for the women and men in Tennessee, it’s their health care.”

Last week the Joint Government Operations Committee met to discuss the “selling of fetal body parts for profit” in Tennessee. The hearing featured testimony from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH). This week Republican Senators sent Gov. Haslam a letter asking him to authorize an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region turned over all of its policies and procedures relating to medical waste to TDOH before the hearing. TDOH already visits PPGMR annually for surprise onsite inspections, and there have been no complaints against the organization.

“We are transparent and welcome law enforcement into our health center, but as you know, this is a shameless waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Coffield.

To date, four separate committees in the House and Senate have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood. In the last two weeks, five states have concluded investigations into Planned Parenthood – and every one of them has found no wrongdoing. In two states – California and Texas – lawmakers have also called for investigations of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Last month, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and block millions of women from having access to health care failed to pass in the U.S. Senate.

Links:

● The letter to congressional leadership submitted today (http://PPFA.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVmMQR51KNkcLKWgR2hTdC2Y%3d)

● The expert report on the deceptive editing of videos (http://ppfa.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVk3HDyuhhkPMnFMCvK5fVC8%3d)

● A summary of the deceptive editing of videos (http://ppfa.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVhtUYwDcwR8lAdSc09OPZow%3d)

● Fact sheet on public support for Planned Parenthood (http://ppfa.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVnzduqTIEzxafp27RlRcKY4%3d)

● Fact sheet on state investigations finding no wrongdoing (http://ppfa.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVrU9WvMdZoymYLYJuwxXvZ0%3d)

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Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to improve health and well-being by providing high-quality, non-judgmental sexual health care, honest and accurate sexuality education, and reproductive health and rights advocacy.