Why News Corporations Protect Planned Parenthood

Conservatives and pro-life activists have bemoaned the mainstream media’s lack of coverage of the ongoing video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s efforts to harvest the body parts of aborted fetuses for money. An examination of the organization’s surprisingly close ties to major media corporations can help explain why leading disseminators of the news in the U.S. have shown so little interest in the controversy.

Some media outlets were so brazen in their support for Planned Parenthood that they were directly listed as donors on the sites of local affiliates. Before PP’s website was “down for maintenance” shortly after the group controversially claimed it was hacked by “extremists,” the local Washington, D.C. affiliate listed Gannett, the owners of USA Today and several other major newspapers, including the Detroit Free Press and the Indianapolis Star, and the Washington Post Co., former owners of the Washington Post for decades until Amazon.com owner Jeff Bezos bought the newspaper in 2013, as financial supporters.

As recently as 2014, the San Jose Mercury News and Yahoo, which runs the popular Yahoo News site, were listed as donors to Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo in Northern California.

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Discover the Networks, a website run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, lists the New York Times Company Foundation as a PP donor.

And while there is no evidence that new Washington Post owner Bezos is a personal donor, customers at his Amazon.com site can directly support an abortion clinic with a portion of their purchases via the Amazon Smile program.

Customers can also buy the “emergency contraception” known as Plan B, which can induce an abortion after conception, directly from the site.

These facts perhaps explain why The Washington Post, in its coverage of the furor over the first secret Planned Parenthood video, changed its headline from “organ harvesting” to the softer “fetal organs used for research,” as infowars.com reports.

Another upfront supporter of Planned Parenthood is Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of Bloomberg News owner and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The philanthropic group announced in March of 2014 that it was giving a staggering $50 million to strengthen “reproductive health rights in Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda,” the Daily Caller reports.

Beyond these overt acts of support, however, there lies a far more elaborate network of personal connections, business ties and charitable foundation links between Planned Parenthood and a stunning number of major media outlets, including all four of the major television networks.

The Ford Foundation has been a major supporter of abortion rights and Planned Parenthood for decades, with the data on its financial support of the organization running far too long to detail.

Random example: $2.5 million given to PP in 2013, according to Ford’s tax return (see page 523).

In fact, sitting on Ford’s Board of Trustees at this moment is none other than Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

The foundation has made a major effort to involve itself in U.S. media in recent years, even giving grants to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post in 2012 as part of what it called “an investment in quality journalism.”

Ford also sponsored an NBC News report on “Poverty in America,” as foundation “Media Officer” Barbara Raab, a former “senior newswriter for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” proudly reports on the group’s website.

An especially disturbing part of the foundation’s efforts to financially sponsor ostensibly neutral media outlets is the group’s hefty support for two minority journalist organizations.

The National Association of Black Journalists received $150,000 from Ford in 2013 for “media/content development,” while the National Association of Hispanic Journalists is listed as having received $100,000 in 2009.

Elsewhere on Ford’s website, an action plan to promote abortion rights in the United States by developing “national reproductive and sexual health policies and laws supported by regional and international standards” prominently features two prongs under the “Communications and Public Education” heading, a “National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health” and a “Black Women’s Health Imperative.”

Additionally, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s 2013 tax return shows only one group not directly associated with the organization’s usual business endeavors that received funds from the organization.

On page 64 is listed a $12,500 donation from PP to The National Association of Black Journalists, with the “purpose of grant or assistance” listed as “to support programs regarding reproductive health.”

Commenting on the 2013 grant from Ford, NABJ President Bob Butler said, “[w]e are grateful for the Ford Foundation’s continued support and excited to work together to make a positive impact on America’s newsrooms.”

Washington Times reporter Julia Duin noted the NABJ’s enduring silence over soaring abortion rates in the black community in a 2009 article, with no mention being made by the group even as “one out of every three black pregnancies” was ending in abortion.

Another organization with a long track record of supporting Planned Parenthood is the Rockefeller Foundation. Random example: a copy of the minutes of a 1965 meeting found among the foundation’s archives shows the group donated $150,000 to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. That’s in 1965 dollars.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s main claim to fame in the abortion realm in recent years is its successful efforts to get the abortion drug RU-486 exported to the U.S. and other nations from Chinese factories.

The Washington Post reported in 2000 that:

With the help of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bangkok-based Concept Foundation, the [Hua Lian Pharmaceutical factory] has been working for three years to upgrade its equipment and retrain its staff to meet international standards in order to be permitted to export the drug.

The Concept Foundation was established by the World Health Organization and World Bank in 1989 to assist factories in developing countries to make medical products at low cost for Third World health agencies. The Rockefeller Foundation gave $2 million to the group in 1997 to help Hua Lian and China’s state family planning agency upgrade the factory.

A look at the boards and executive listings of major American media organizations shows Rockefeller Foundation personnel heavily embedded throughout:

Judith Rodin, president of the foundation, is on the Board of Directors of Comcast, which owns NBC.

Monica Lozana is on the Board of Directors at both Disney, which owns ABC, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Ellen Taus is the Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant as part of its newspaper holdings.

Taus is also the Treasurer and CFO of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Jessica P. Einhorn is on the Board of Directors for Time Warner, which owns CNN.

She is also listed in a Bloomberg Business profile as a trustee at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a group not officially associated with the Rockefeller Foundation but sharing its longtime support for Planned Parenthood and abortion (see page 20 of its 1975 annual report for a random example).

A major U.K. media outlet that makes no secret of its overt ties to the Rockefeller Foundation is the Guardian Media Group, publishers of the popular theGuardian.com news site. Its website states that, “with over 120 million unique browsers a month [The Guardian] is one of the largest English-speaking quality newspaper websites in the world. Since launching its U.S. and Australia digital editions in 2011 and 2013 respectively, traffic from outside of the U.K. now represents over two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience.”

The company has no qualms whatsoever about revealing who its media partners are:

The Guardian has a unique ownership structure and set of values, underlining its independence, tradition of liberal journalism and editorial integrity. Its ultimate owner, The Scott Trust, exists solely to safeguard Guardian journalism in perpetuity. The Guardian has a strong track record in working with philanthropy organizations, including the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, to create impactful, independent journalism exploring important global issues.

Former and even current Planned Parenthood officials themselves are also currently part of the management teams at corporations that own major American media outlets. Ligia Cravo is “Senior Program Officer” for the Hearst Foundations, the charity arm of the Hearst Corporation, which owns the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle and a dizzying array of television and radio interests.

According to her bio on the foundations’ website, “[p]rior to joining the Hearst Foundations, [Cravo] worked with several nonprofit and philanthropic institutions, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America.”

The Foundations are ostensibly separate from the Hearst Corporation, but overlap is common, as with Hearst Corp. President and CEO Steven R. Swartz, who is also listed as “a director of the Hearst Foundations.”

Sonji Jacobs Dade is the “director of leadership communications” at Cox Enterprises. The Cox press release announcing her hiring in 2013 reported that “[s]he is on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood Southeast” and is “a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta.”

According to the Cox Media Group website, “[t]he company’s operations currently include 14 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 59 radio stations, seven daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services.”

Another particularly disturbing example of bold abortion advocacy by the owners of a major U.S. media outlet can be found at Viacommunity, an organization that bills itself as “Viacom’s commitment to community.” Viacom owns CBS.

The “Viacommunity” 2014 annual report is heavily filled with content promoting homosexuality and “transgender” issues. But starting at page 36 is an account of the Viacom-owned MTV show “16 and Pregnant,” in which the corporation brags that:

To gauge the shows’ impact, the researchers looked at several measures, including ratings data and activity on Google and Twitter. They then examined the impact on teen pregnancy using national birthrate data.

The findings revealed that 16 and Pregnant won ratings wars and encouraged teens to “search” and “tweet.” More importantly, there were significant spikes in searches for “birth control” and “abortion” at exactly the time the show was on air, in locations where it was most popular.

Viacom, owners of CBS, which runs CBS News, wants its teen viewers to google “abortion” after watching its programming on MTV.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Broadcasting, owner of Fox News, Disney, owners of ABC, and Comcast, owners of NBC, are directly working with a former Planned Parenthood executive to air a program aimed at young Hispanic girls on their jointly-owned Hulu online television network.

The anti-abortion American Life League reported in 2013 on the program “East Los High,” which still airs on Hulu. The group cites a Hollywood Reporter article that notes “The streaming service’s racy soap, designed to curb teen pregnancy, uses ‘salacious’ storylines to lure kids to the message.”

American Life League reports that:

Population Media Center (PMC) is the creator of East Los High. PMC’s founder and president is William Ryerson, a former Planned Parenthood executive. Since 2008, he has also served as CEO of the Population Institute, which works in partnership with his social engineering organization Population Media Center.

ALL also reported that:

A July 30 Huffington Post article pinpoints Planned Parenthood as an originating partner of the series: “The series grew out of partnerships with sexual health organizations and the Latino advocacy groups Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino and the California Family Health Council.”

The Population Media Center notes on its website that “East Los High” has indeed been picked up by Fox/Disney/Comcast-owned Hulu for a third season in 2015.

PMC proudly reports of Season One in 2013:

During the first month of airing, more than 27,000 people used a Planned Parenthood widget from eastloshigh.com.

Of the more than 27,000 people who used a Planned Parenthood widget in the first month, 55% were new visits to Planned Parenthood.

With such an extensive network of personal, business and “charitable” ties to Planned Parenthood and its most vocal supporters, is it any wonder that the mainstream media are downplaying the current controversy roiling PP at a time when the largest abortion organization in America is facing what is perhaps its greatest crisis since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling legalized abortion across the nation in 1973?


  • Joseph Schaeffer

    Joseph Schaeffer is the former managing editor of The Washington Times National Weekly.

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