As the second week of preliminary criminal hearings against undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt continue to reveal gruesome admissions of baby body part trafficking in a San Francisco court, mainstream media outlets remain uncharacteristically silent about an important First Amendment case.
Daleiden and Merritt, citizen journalists with the Center for Medical Progress, are charged with 15 felony counts of illegal taping of confidential information, in which they exposed the illegal activity of Planned Parenthood and the human tissue procurement company, StemExpress. Four days into the hearings, significant and graphic details about StemExpress’ business steadily emerge, such as their supplying of beating fetal hearts and intact fetal heads to medical researchers. Yet a quick search for Daleiden’s name across national and local news sites (The New York Times, CNN, The San Francisco Chronicle, The L.A. Times) turns up zero stories on the hearings.
Why would reporters find no interest in a case’s outcome that could result in serious implications on their own First Amendment rights as journalists? And a case with click-grabbing, alarmingly graphic details to boot? The answer it is two-fold.
First, is the inconvenient fact that this case exists, not because there is a consensus that Daleiden’s videos were actually illegal, but because former California attorney general Kamala Harris sought to prosecute Daleiden at the behest of her political donors at Planned Parenthood. Even though Daledien’s unreleased footage should have been protected by the California Shield Law, Harris ordered a search warrant against Daleiden in 2016 and a raid of his apartment, seizing his computer, camera equipment, and footage.
Email records show correspondence between Harris’ office and Planned Parenthood officials, orchestrating public responses, filing police reports, and even drafting legislation targeting Daleiden. Harris has received tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from Planned Parenthood-affiliated entities, so the nature of her behavior is no mystery.
The illegitimacy of this orchestrated cover for Planned Parenthood bore out in the courtroom over the last four days. On Day 1, the attorney general office’s primary witness, Melissa Fowler, vice president of external affairs for the National Abortion Federation, admitted to meeting with the AG’s office in April to discuss questions the prosecutors would ask in the preliminary hearing. On Friday, it came as Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron introduced what she claimed was evidence of threats and harassment that some of the subjects of the videos, including employees of Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, supposedly received.
“These proceedings are about whether or not the conversations that took place in public places were legally or illegally recorded,” said defense attorney Horatio Mihet to LifeSiteNews. “The attorney general is unable to show that the videos were illegally recorded, so instead what she wants to focus on is supposed evidence of threats and harassment that follow these legally recorded, First Amendment protected videos.”
Mihet said he objected to this “evidence” and the judge agreed, throwing it out.
The second reason mainstream media outlets might ignore such a case is because of their well-established habit of ignoring stories that illuminate the violence of abortion. Reporters had to be shamed into covering the trial of homicidal abortionist Kermit Gosnell, and when Daledien’s first undercover videos were released in 2015, it did not take long for journalists and cable news to adopt Planned Parenthood’s talking point that the videos were “deceptively edited.”
Instead, the admissions coming from the witnesses this week, including from a self-proclaimed “celebrity” abortionist and a Planned Parenthood medical director, confirm the videos’ content. The testimony is unpleasant, but certainly worth reporting. Thanks to the The Center for Medical Progress’s live-tweeting (which Planned Parenthood also tried to hide) and LifeSiteNews Reporter Lianne Laurence’s reporting from the courtroom, the truth about aborted baby body part trafficking is being disseminated.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
- A Planned Parenthood abortionist, who is not a doctor, testified that she provided fetal tissue from the abortions she did at Planned Parenthood as a regular occurrence, and that she had heard of money being exchanged with StemExpress in some cases.
- An abortionist who described herself as a public figure known for performing late-term abortions acknowledged that workers from a organ and tissue procurement company made visits to the Planned Parenthood location in Fresno, California where she worked.
- The late term-abortionist said killing a baby in utero with digoxin prevented the “delivery of a live fetus,” which is “the biggest disaster and it never goes away.”
- The CEO of StemExpress acknowledged that her company supplies beating fetal hearts and intact fetal heads to medical researchers.
- When the CEO of StemExpress was asked about the head of a baby being attached to the body upon tissue procurement, she said the photos from CMP are accurate and show that the heads are sometimes attached and sometimes are not attached to other parts of body.
- The CEO of StemExpress indicated StemExpress as a business has grown larger.
- A former director for Planned Parenthood said, “We’ve been pretty successful” when asked about the ability to flip a baby in the womb to breech position in order to extract it with the head intact for brain harvesting. Doing so is more dangerous to the mother but more profitable for companies that sell baby body parts for research.
- A former director for Planned Parenthood said the videos recorded by the Center For Medical Progress played during the hearing were not altered.
The only mainstream media outlet to discuss any of the preliminary hearings was Fox New’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which interviewed Daleiden on Friday.
“It’s blackletter California law that you are not supposed to get a search warrant to seize the unpublished materials of a journalist, whether citizen journalist or professional journalist,” Daleiden said on Fox. “But that’s what Kamala Harris did…to protect [Planned Parenthood] from further scrutiny from the crimes of selling aborted baby body parts.”
Update: On Tuesday, Day 4 of the preliminary hearings, the attorney general’s office filed a last minute motion to place a gag order on the proceedings because of Daleiden’s interview on Fox News. One of the witnesses, the former Planned Parenthood director, said claimed to have received threats on Thursday evening. The AG’s office attempted to connect the alleged threats to Daledien’s Friday evening interview about First Amendment rights.