CNN Debate Tiptoes Around Planned Parenthood, Even After Hillary Clinton Brings It Up


After hammering GOP candidates about Planned Parenthood during its Republican debate in September, CNN avoided the topic completely in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate, even after Hillary Clinton brought the issue up.

The ever-alert Media Research Center took the trouble of adding up the time devoted to Planned Parenthood and abortion in CNN’s Republican primary debate on September 16. According to the media watchdog group, between Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, CNN spent a total of 10 minutes and 14 seconds questioning the candidates about the topic.

That was 10 minutes and 14 seconds more than the time allotted to Planned Parenthood Tuesday night, despite the fact that the organization was all over the news because of Cecile Richards’ promise that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept payment for fetal body parts.

CNN’s hosts studiously dodged the topic until Hillary Clinton brought it up, railing against Republicans’ hypocrisy over big government.

Bash asked Ms. Clinton about supporting “mandated paid family leave,” which Hillary took as an opportunity to jump in and defend Planned Parenthood, trying to flip government expansion over to the GOP.

“There are so many people who say, ‘Really, another government program?’” Bash asked Clinton. “Is that what you’re proposing and at the expense of taxpayer money?”

Clinton replied:

When people say that, it’s always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, “You can’t have paid leave, you can’t provide health care.” They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They’re fine with big government when it comes to that. I’m sick of it. You know, we can do these things. We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain “Big government this, big government that” except for what they want to impose on the American people.

Instead of following this line of reasoning up with other questions on the Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood or the ten videos documenting the abortion giant’s harvesting and sale of fetal body parts, the CNN hosts deftly changed the subject.

CNN even failed to pounce on the former First Lady’s spectacular logical somersault in asserting that not funding an organization somehow constitutes big government. Ms. Clinton teed the topic up so nicely, all CNN had to do was ask: “So, let me get this straight, reducing government spending makes government bigger?”

Though the CNN moderators carefully sidestepped the Planned Parenthood issue, not mentioning the name even once, on its website the cable channel said that Planned Parenthood constituted one of the “7 memorable Democratic Debate moments.”

It could have even been more memorable if they had bothered to ask candidates the tough questions that people really care about, rather than dodge the embarrassing issues.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome