Not All Undercover Stings Are Covered Equally

Dania Flores in 2015. She visited 43 "crisis pregnancy centers" throughout California and was routinely presented with false information.NARAL Pro-Choice California/YouTube

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Robin Abcarian writes about an undercover sting operation from a teenager working for NARAL Pro-Choice California three years ago:

In 2014, a recent high school graduate named Dania Flores, posing as a pregnant teenager, visited 43 crisis pregnancy centers in California. What kind of care would they offer? How medically competent would they be?

As Flores discovered, most crisis pregnancy centers are thinly disguised anti-abortion Christian ministries….At every clinic, Flores said, she was told that abortion leads to breast cancer. (It does not.) She was told that birth control pills cause headaches and, as she told me, “put hormones in your body you don’t need.” She was told that condoms “have a bunch of little holes you might not know about.” In two clinics, staffers told her how guilty they felt about their own abortions. During a free vaginal ultrasound, a technician in Mountain View mistook her IUD for a fetus and told her it did not have a heartbeat.

Perhaps you haven’t heard about this? That’s because Flores didn’t take undercover video of her encounters, since that’s prohibited by California law. Needless to say, that didn’t stop David Daleiden or any of the rest of his merry band of pranksters who achieved widespread notoriety with their stings of ACORN and Planned Parenthood. There are two points to make here:

  • The conservative sting-meisters got in a lot of trouble for what they did. The liberal ones didn’t because they obeyed the law.
  • The press gave a ton of coverage to the conservatives but not much to the liberals. Their video recordings—legal or not and edited unfairly or not—got plenty of attention. Conversely, mere descriptions of the visits from the liberals—which were both legal and fairminded—produced only yawns.

What does this say about our media?

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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