Pro-Fiorina Ad Doctors the Already-Doctored Planned Parenthood Videos

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Pro-Fiorina Ad Doctors the Already-Doctored Planned Parenthood Videos

Emily Crockett

Fact-checkers at almost every major media outlet were quick to debunk Fiorina’s misleading comments about Planned Parenthood last week at the second GOP presidential debate.

See more of our coverage on recent attacks against Planned Parenthood here.

A doctored video is being used to defend GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s false statements about a doctored video.

Fact-checkers at almost every major media outlet were quick to debunk Fiorina’s misleading comments about Planned Parenthood last week at the second GOP presidential debate.

At the debate, Fiorina dared Hillary Clinton and President Obama to watch undercover videos attacking Planned Parenthood in order to see “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

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Those videos, released by anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress, have already been discredited as misleading and deceptively edited by numerous media outlets and independent investigators. The videos were released by CMP in coordination with Republican lawmakers. 

Yet even these misleading videos, fact-checkers pointed out, don’t contain a scene like the one Fiorina described. It simply doesn’t exist. That hasn’t stopped Fiorina from doubling down on her comments in interviews and insisting that the footage is real and that she has seen it.

A pro-Fiorina PAC called CARLY for America has released a video ad that tries to create the scene Fiorina describes out of whole cloth with numerous deceptive edits.

The PAC is legally separate from the Fiorina campaign, and Planned Parenthood’s demands for a retraction have so far been unsuccessful.

The video, according to a fact-check from Planned Parenthood, splices together five different video and audio sources from CMP: an interview with a former tissue procurement technician, Holly O’Donnell; a photo of a Pennsylvania woman’s stillborn son that was used without permission; a video from a discredited anti-choice archive called the Grantham Collection; audio from a secret video of a doctor in Colorado; and audio from a surreptitiously recorded phone conversation with a man who works at another independent health-care organization in California.

There is one particular scene in the CMP videos that Fiorina is probably referring to, but her description of it is wildly inaccurate, as Rewire has explained. That scene already splices together three of the sources above, the interview with O’Donnell and the two fetus stock images, to mislead viewers into thinking that the images are an accurate illustration of O’Donnell’s story and were taken at Planned Parenthood.

The pro-Fiorina ad shortens this scene to omit context from O’Donnell’s story.

The deceptive ad ends up showing a “fully formed fetus” with “legs kicking” (a stock image), an unrelated and completely out-of-context audio quote about a “heart beating,” and a mention of harvesting a brain (which sounds gruesome but is part of the tissue procurement process, and there is no video of the incident).

But even this edited video of an edited video can’t come close to showing the scene Fiorina describes, in which “someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest the brain.” No such quote exists, even out of context.