Planned Parenthood has hired a high-profile crisis communication firm to help it deal with fallout from a series of undercover sting videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress.
Politico reports that PP has hired SKDKnickerbocker, a firm which features former Obama communications staffer Anita Dunn as a managing director. Dunn is perhaps best known for a speech she gave extolling the political philosophy of communist revolutionary Mao Zedong.
On its website, SKDKnickerbocker touts its expertise in crisis communications in Washington and on Wall Street. “By working with a company’s existing corporate communications resources or creating a separate ‘war room,’ we quickly help create the most effective messaging, lead media training, manage briefings to key stakeholders, deliver talking points, and provide overall strategic guidance,” the company promises.
According to Politico, the group sent letters to “reporters and producers” late Monday warning them that undercover sting videos violate the privacy of patients. “Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the media,” the letter warns.
The obvious attempt to prevent the disturbing videos from being aired by the media doesn’t seem to line up with reality. None of the videos released so far feature patients in any prominent way. The first two videos are discussions with two different PP medical directors, i.e. high-level corporate employees. The third video, released today, is the first part of a web series and features a former employee of one of the tissue collection companies working with Planned Parenthood in California. The employee tells her story with full awareness she is being recorded.
Since the videos were released, at least five states have indicated their intention to investigate Planned Parenthood. In addition, Republicans in Congress have threatened to defund the group, which receives hundreds of million in state and federal funding each year.