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Komen will fund Planned Parenthood after all February 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jender @ 4:42 pm

Well, that was remarkably fast! Well done to everyone who piled on the pressure.

Though if this is right, we’ve still got very good reason to have a problem with Komen. (Thanks, J-Bro!)

 

34 Responses to “Komen will fund Planned Parenthood after all”

  1. Nemo Says:

    Interesting piece in yesterday’s WSJ about the heavy-handed pressure piled on to Komen. Best line: “Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203889904577199110913604418.html

    I found it a little hard to believe how vindictive some of the backlash has been. Komen’s past funding of PP has been, after all, not something to which PP was in any way entitled or in which it could be said to deserve (in the sense that a truly gratuitous gift cannot be deserved). Komen made a business choice (at least, before apparently being cowed into retracting it), which was within their managerial judgment to make, to pursue their goals via a different grant strategy. Komen would have directed the money toward other charitable outlets, and it’s not clear why anyone outside Komen is really in a position to judge the relative merits (vis-a-vis Komen’s goals and vision) of Komen granting to PP as opposed to granting to, say, other facilities — let alone to demonize Komen for it.

  2. peteaj Says:

    Nemo, it sounds like you didn’t inquire into what was really going on here at all. Look at the leadership of Komen. They decided to make breast cancer political and were totally shifty about the whole thing. Planned Parenthood was singled out in a really obvious way for defunding over some Republican congressional BS. None of the other 2000 organizations that get money were dropped. It isn’t so much about what Planned Parenthood deserves its about how the leadership of Komen chose to defund a organization that does a ton of breast exams over abortion politics! This incident was completely outrageous to anyone paying attention.

  3. annejjacobson Says:

    exactly right, peteaj!

  4. Nemo Says:

    Peteaj, it is perhaps not a good assumption that someone who takes a different view from you must simply not be paying attention. Komen decided (though it may since have reconsidered) to redirect the money to other outlets. It’s not as though the same money wouldn’t still be placed in service of Komen’s goals, though, so there is no net “de-funding”. It’s not clear why this should be more outrageous than if Komen had never freely elected to make donations to Planned Parenthood in the first place, or more outrageous than the fact that Komen hasn’t elected to double the proportion of its money that it has previously given to Planned Parenthood. Particularly given that outrage is usually understood as a response to somebody being seriously wronged in some way, and it does not seem as though Planned Parenthood had any vested expectation or entitlement to any of Komen’s money or would be wronged by not receiving such gratuitous gifts in the future.

  5. Kimberly Says:

    “It isn’t so much about what Planned Parenthood deserves its about how the leadership of Komen chose to defund a organization that does a ton of breast exams over abortion politics! This incident was completely outrageous to anyone paying attention.”

    This is the crux of it. It wasn’t the removal of funds as much as the weaselly way they decided to do it.

    Of course they have a right to fund whomever they want. Much of the reason for the backlash (at the least, the reason I found their behavior so awful) is the reasoning they gave, in light of the context. To many of us, the explicit reason given, that they had adopted a policy about investigations, sounded like an ad hoc reason concocted solely to rule out PP as a grant recipient. Some Komen employees have admitted such.

    Ways they could have severed ties without making it look like a cowardly, purely political move:

    a) Given a reason that seemed more in line with the goals of the organization. E.g., “After this round of funding, we would prefer to fund mammogram providers directly rather than through Planned Parenthood.” (This appears to be the “new” reasoning, but now feels ad hoc–had they started with this, there probably would have been less backlash).

    b) Given PP time to secure other donors. E.g., “While we have valued our long relationship with Planned Parenthood, we would like to go in a different direction. After this round of grants has finished, we will be focusing more on ….(something that seems less of a political reason for no longer funding PP).

    It was the acting in what appears to be bad faith that set people off. As it often does.

  6. Gorgonzola Says:

    Who, precisely, is arguing or even assuming that PP is entitled to Komen’s money? Rather, it seems to me that much of the backlash has been motivated by the fact that PP is such a major provider of healthcare to women, in addition to the reasons Kimberly and others have pointed out.

    PP’s position as a healthcare provider in the U.S. makes it quite odd that an organization, one of whose missions is ostensibly the provision of preventive care to women, would choose to sever ties with another organization that (a) has a tremendous presence in so many communities and (b) is widely known to women, perhaps more than any other nonprofit, as a place that will either give them affordable care or direct them to someone who will.. If I wanted a breast exam and did not have insurance, the one place that I would think to go to would be the local PP.

    For these reasons, among others, one might reasonably think that choosing to fund other organizations, which do not have the high profile and community presence of PP, would be an unwise decision.

  7. Gorgonzola Says:

    I also note that the WSJ editorial linked above demonstrates an astonishing ignorance of both the variety of health services that PP provides and the degree to which many women, especially those without insurance, rely on PP for basic care.

    “Now Komen has provoked the fury of Planned Parenthood, whose self-description as a women’s health organization is at best tendentious. In truth, Planned Parenthood is America’s leading provider of, and one of its most zealous advocates for, elective abortion.”

    I am at an utter loss as to how the claim of the second sentence supports the claim of the first.

  8. Nemo Says:

    Kimberly,

    –“This is the crux of it. It wasn’t the removal of funds as much as the weaselly way they decided to do it.”

    –“Of course they have a right to fund whomever they want. Much of the reason for the backlash (at the least, the reason I found their behavior so awful) is the reasoning they gave, in light of the context. To many of us, the explicit reason given, that they had adopted a policy about investigations, sounded like an ad hoc reason concocted solely to rule out PP as a grant recipient. Some Komen employees have admitted such.”

    If there was nothing wrong with the decision not to give future gifts (“removal of funds” carries an inaccurate connotation, I think), which you and I seem to agree is the case, there does not seem to be much of a justification for the ugly and vicious backlash. Which party is so grievously wronged by the reasoning they gave? Indeed, even if the reason *was* concocted solely to rule out PP as a grant recipient, who would be wronged?

    –“Ways they could have severed ties without making it look like a cowardly, purely political move:”

    Observers generally only take umbrage at cowardice if it results in an act that is in itself objectionable or which wrongs others, no? Thus we might deride the cowardice of a soldier who abandons his or her post. We don’t generally go for the jugular and attack someone as a coward for doing something it was perfectly OK for them to do, even if the reason they did it was out of cowardice. Something else was going on here in the minds of the people heaping opprobrium on Komen.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a purely political move.

    –“a) Given a reason that seemed more in line with the goals of the organization. E.g., ‘After this round of funding, we would prefer to fund mammogram providers directly rather than through Planned Parenthood.’ (This appears to be the ‘new’ reasoning, but now feels ad hoc–had they started with this, there probably would have been less backlash).”

    Less backlash? Why would there be any reason for backlash at all under the circumstances you just outlined? There was little enough reason for backlash as it is. But at any rate, the organization sets its own goals and evaluates its own strategies. I can see questions arising if Komen had said they wanted to award future gifts to the World Wildlife Federation instead. But why should Komen have to give a reason for allocating gifts to this clinic rather than that clinic? As I mentioned, it’s not as though Komen gave any indication it would reduce its overall grant budget or do anything not in line with the goals of the organization. Again, it seems that something else, something out of the ordinary, was motivating much of the criticism.

    –“b) Given PP time to secure other donors. E.g., “While we have valued our long relationship with Planned Parenthood, we would like to go in a different direction. After this round of grants has finished, we will be focusing more on ….(something that seems less of a political reason for no longer funding PP).”

    Komen never said they intended to stop funding already committed grants, or do anything that would wrongfully prejudice PP (which, as I said, had no vested expectation, of receiving future free money from Komen anyway). Also, the Komen grant money was a drop in PP’s big bucket. Komen can’t be reproached for putting PP in a bad position. The proper response from PP should have been simply “Thanks for your past support, we’ll always be grateful.”

    Gorgonzola,

    -“Who, precisely, is arguing or even assuming that PP is entitled to Komen’s money?”

    Sensibly, I don’t think anyone is arguing it, but the people who so bitterly reproached Komen are acting as *though* it were true. The degree of backlash was such that could ordinarily only be justified if the decision not to give money in future to PP actually constituted an injustice to PP, wronging the company by doing something PP had a right not to have done to it. Thus, I think it is worth pointing out that it is not true, since it helps illuminate the unjust nature and extent of the backlash.

    –“Rather, it seems to me that much of the backlash has been motivated by the fact that PP is such a major provider of healthcare to women, in addition to the reasons Kimberly and others have pointed out.”

    That PP may be a major provider of healthcare to women does not seem to furnish a rational motivation for demonizing Komen for giving grants to other providers of healthcare to women instead. By that questionable reasoning, motivation should also exist for insisting that Komen give most or all of its clinic grant money to PP.

    –“PP’s position as a healthcare provider in the U.S. makes it quite odd that an organization, one of whose missions is ostensibly the provision of preventive care to women, would choose to sever ties with another organization that (a) has a tremendous presence in so many communities and (b) is widely known to women, perhaps more than any other nonprofit, as a place that will either give them affordable care or direct them to someone who will.. If I wanted a breast exam and did not have insurance, the one place that I would think to go to would be the local PP.”

    –“For these reasons, among others, one might reasonably think that choosing to fund other organizations, which do not have the high profile and community presence of PP, would be an unwise decision.”

    Let us grant for the sake of argument that all of that is true, and that someone could reasonably view Komen’s decision as both curious and imprudent from an institutional governance perspective. How would that justify the kind of backlash we’ve seen? People don’t go for the jugular because a private organization makes the occasional decision that they viewed as odd or unwise. Something else is at play here, and it’s hard to account for it except in terms of some people viewing PP as a special case.

  9. Jender Says:

    S-Y L: That’s a really important point.

  10. Gorgonzola Says:

    “Let us grant for the sake of argument that all of that is true, and that someone could reasonably view Komen’s decision as both curious and imprudent from an institutional governance perspective. How would that justify the kind of backlash we’ve seen? People don’t go for the jugular because a private organization makes the occasional decision that they viewed as odd or unwise.”

    Your use of “justify” leaves it unclear to me whether you are looking for an explanation that would provide a justification to criticize Komen or an explanation that would simply account for some of the outrage expressed. Some things you’ve said incline toward the former, some toward the latter.

    Your frequent references to “going for the jugular” suggest the latter, so I will address that. To describe the situation as involving the funding decisions of a private organization obscures relevant details. You are referring to the two most powerful women’s health organizations in the U.S. They have had a partnership that has exploited PP’s presence in rural and disadvantaged communities.

    Now, a large proportion of women who use PP consider it their primary provider of health care. I’m not sure what you’re getting at by claiming that people see PP as a special case; I wish you would be a bit more forthcoming. But at any rate, PP does occupy a unique place in the American health care system. (It is also important to note here Komen’s gigantic presence and fundraising brawn. This isn’t just any private nonprofit.)

    For people to be angry at Komen’s defunding — and the quite frankly stupid reason that was given for it — just does not strike me as mysterious. You seem to think that any reasoning Komen gives would be irrelevant, but since we are simply trying to account for the outrage here: people may expect charities asking for their money not to insult their intelligence. People judged that Komen made a decision that was likely to hurt poor women, and that Komen lied about the real reason (since presumably the board is not, in fact, stupid or naïve). Whether you ultimately think the backlash was justified, I do not see any basis for claiming that people must have had some secret motivation.

  11. Nemo Says:

    Gorgonzola,

    –“Your use of ‘justify’ leaves it unclear to me whether you are looking for an explanation that would provide a justification to criticize Komen or an explanation that would simply account for some of the outrage expressed. Some things you’ve said incline toward the former, some toward the latter.”

    I think I probably had in mind there chiefly the sentiment articulated earlier by Peteaj that outrage was an appropriate response. But I think I am interested in either kind of explanation: a justification for Peteaj’s assertion and a defense of the general tenor of the backlash (which struck me as disproportionate, excessively vindictive and even thuggish), but also perhaps secondarily an explanation that would account for the outrage even if the account does not suggest that the backlash was warranted.

    –“Your frequent references to ‘going for the jugular’ suggest the latter, so I will address that. To describe the situation as involving the funding decisions of a private organization obscures relevant details. You are referring to the two most powerful women’s health organizations in the U.S. They have had a partnership that has exploited PP’s presence in rural and disadvantaged communities.”

    I’m not sure why you think those details are obscured, and the precise nature of their relevance. I’m not sure I would agree with the characterization of grantor and grantee as a partnership in these circumstances, or that I would use the word “exploited”. But so far I can’t see that these things have particular bearing on what I’ve said.

    –“Now, a large proportion of women who use PP consider it their primary provider of health care. I’m not sure what you’re getting at by claiming that people see PP as a special case; I wish you would be a bit more forthcoming.”

    I don’t know what proportion of women who use PP consider it their primary provider of health care, nor do I think this bears upon my points. I’m not trying to be coy in any way by venturing that people see PP as a special case; I actually can’t put my finger on the reason why it they should think it a special case in any respect pertinent here, but I am inferring that many people must believe it’s true because every argument I have seen or can presently envisage that would purport to justify the backlash seems to break down unless some kind of special pleading is allowed in respect of PP.

    –“But at any rate, PP does occupy a unique place in the American health care system. (It is also important to note here Komen’s gigantic presence and fundraising brawn. This isn’t just any private nonprofit.)”

    There are respects in which many players could be said to occupy a unique place in the American health care system. Since my reasoning, so far as I can tell, doesn’t depend on PP *not* having the particular role it does in the healthcare system, I’m not sure it’s pertinent in this particular context. What is the specific importance to this argument of Komen’s gigantic presence and fundraising brawn (not impressive relative to PP of course, but certainly more than most nonprofits)? It’s certainly possible to distinguish PP and Komen from others on many criteria, but I’m not sure the distinctions offered are relevant.

    –“For people to be angry at Komen’s defunding — and the quite frankly stupid reason that was given for it — just does not strike me as mysterious. You seem to think that any reasoning Komen gives would be irrelevant, but since we are simply trying to account for the outrage here: people may expect charities asking for their money not to insult their intelligence. People judged that Komen made a decision that was likely to hurt poor women, and that Komen lied about the real reason (since presumably the board is not, in fact, stupid or naïve). Whether you ultimately think the backlash was justified, I do not see any basis for claiming that people must have had some secret motivation.”

    Defunding is probably not the right way to describe the non-giving of a gratuitous gift. But what do you think was stupid about the reason Komen gave (they gave a couple, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to)? Would critics have been mollified if Komen had given a reason that was perhaps more unflattering and embarrassing to PP rather than one that allowed PP to save some face?

    People do seem to have judged that Komen made a decision that was likely to hurt poor women, though for reasons I already gave that judgment does not seem at all well-founded. The same reasoning would arguably permit one to conclude that Komen’s decision not to turn over its entire clinic grant budget every year to PP (rather than just a few modest grants by PP’s standards) was a decision likely to hurt poor women.

    At any rate, when people react so far out of line not only from what is warranted by the explicit facts but also from what would usually be the case under circumstances comparable in relevant respects, it’s reasonable to speculate that they are acting partly on the basis of premises or interests that are not apparent on the surface. Whatever they might be, that’s all I meant by suggesting that there might be more to the backlash, and the motivations of its authors, than met the eye.

  12. s. wallerstein Says:

    Nemo:

    The “exaggerated” nature of the backlash against Komen’s decison to cut the funding is perhaps justified by the fact that it worked, that Komen was pressured into changing its decision.

    Sometimes you have to scream a bit, to call “nice” people ugly names, to disturb the peace in order to get your way.

    Since I support the goals of Planned Parenthood, as far as I know them, I’m in favor of them having more money to carry them out. It’s as simple as that.

    Now, if after the “exaggerated” backlash, Komen had decided to never again give a penny to Planned Parenthood, then the backlash would not have been justified.

  13. Nemo Says:

    SW, I understand your point about it being justified in that sense. The principle of the end justifying the means, I guess. But the same reasoning would justify some other things that I think we’d feel pretty uncomfortable about. Anyhow, I guess we’ll see if PP actually does turn out to receive any more gifts from Komen.

  14. occasional lurker Says:

    I think that these last few comments have missed why people felt Komen’s decision was justifiably regarded as outrageous. I think that this post does a good job at explaining why this wasn’t simply a question of a private group rescinding what nemo has disingenuously called a gift: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/this-was-about-values-not-money

  15. s. wallerstein Says:

    Nemo:

    Whether any given end justifies any given means depends on the situation. What is justified in winning a world war is not likely to be justified in getting a foundation to rethink its donations policies.

    Whether the end justifying the means might lead to some means which make me uncomfortable is neither here nor there.

    I’m a bit prissy and old-fashioned myself, and lots of things make me uncomfortable.
    That’s why I stay clear of politics, except to comment on it. Politics can and will make lots of of us uncomfortable. That’s the way the game is played.

  16. Nemo Says:

    Occasional lurker, I never said it was a question of *rescinding* a gift. So far as I am aware, Komen at no point indicated that it intended to revoke any money already committed. Why you think the term “gift” is disingenuous (perhaps “potential gift” is more accurate) I have no idea, unless you think Planned Parenthood has some kind of entitlement to what is in other people’s wallets. The less said about the polemic to which you linked, the better, but there does not appear to be anything in it that shows otherwise. Outrage over a gift not given is usually regarded as arrogance in the party not receiving the gift, and perhaps arrogance by proxy in third parties.

  17. Nemo Says:

    SW, you are right as usual, but I wasn’t referring even to extremes. Substantially the same conduct (harassing, intimidating and smearing a potential donor) employed toward the same end you’ve identified (procuring more money for an organization whose goals you approve) would – I hope – ordinarily be regarded as unacceptable, and although certainly many people *did* think the virtual shakedown of Komen was itself outrageous, what is striking to me is that it wasn’t regarded by more people that way.

  18. s. wallerstein Says:

    Nemo:

    The pink handgun hoax got weird, I admit.

    What’s happened in U.S. politics, as I see it from a distance, is that a certain predictability in what people will say or do has disappeared.

    Look at the Republican pre-candidates: they are capable of saying anything whatsoever.

    But then I see Michelle Obama competing in doing push-ups with a TV personality.
    That seems a bit out of line with the dignity of a first lady as it was traditionally thought of.

    There is nothing wrong with Michelle Obama competing in a TV Ms. Atlas contest, but…..

    Michelle Obama’s push-ups are just a example, one of thousands.

    In most countries, there is a sense of rules in politics. Politicians and those involved in politics break the rules from time to time, but the rules are there. For example, in Chile the media don’t talk about the sex life of politicians (although they talk about the sex life of football players and TV personalities) and political figures don’t talk about the sex life of other political figures.

    I can’t imagine President Piñera’s wife or President Piñera competing in a pushup contest nor Michelle Bachelet and it’s not just because they are not in good shape.

    It’s good that there are clear rules in politics, although maybe new rules should allow for push-up contests between politicians and their wives. Fine.

    However, I get the idea that in U.S. politics there are fewer and fewer rules.

    I know that the U.S. has a big thing about “freedom”, about being oneself and that has its good side and its bad side.

    The bad side is that in the emphasis on freedom, the need for a consensus in a society about rules gets overlooked.

    Without rules, it’s not clear what political figures can say and not say about, for example, a pink headgun hoax.

    Why is it bad to trash the Komen foundation if it allows us to get more funding for a good cause?

    I’m not sure if it is bad, but I understand your dismay about there not being rules governing this kind of things.

    Rules and ethics are not the same thing. Still, rules are important. I myself prefer to live with people with good manners, even if manners are not always an ethical issue.

    Maybe open public debate can generally new and better rules. But things don’t look like they are heading in that direction.

  19. Nemo Says:

    Very well said, SW. I think I would be inclined to vote fot any candidate capable of making a similarly insightful observation in public.

  20. s. wallerstein Says:

    Thank you, Nemo.

    Would you care to make a campaign contribution too?

    Just joking. Actually, I’ll appoint you to head one of the national security agencies.

  21. occasional lurker Says:

    Nemo,talking about a gift is disingenuous here because Komen is not an individual acting out of spontaneous good will. It is a non-profit organization granted that status because it is supposed to dedicate its funds to furthering some public good – in this case, finding a cure for breast cancer and advancing women’s health. It is not permitted by law to engage in partisan political activities. People gave money to Komen because they believed that their money was being used to further the public good of protecting women’s health. The decision to end funding to Planned Parenthood is thus justly the cause of outrage because it was explicitly NOT made for reasons related to women’s health; in fact, it was made for political reasons of the kind that are not supposed to enter into Komen’s decision-making. It is true that if you abstract away from the facts of this case, you can make an understandable response seem puzzling. However, I recommend actually attending to what Komen did and why; see here http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/top-susan-g-komen-official-resigned-over-planned-parenthood-cave-in/252405/

  22. Nemo Says:

    Occasional lurker, regarding the definition of a gift, it matters nothing that Komen is not an individual. It’s a little weird to speculate that an entity that does *not* take a potential future action (in this case, giving money) would, in an alternate future timeline in which the entity *did* take that action, would not be acting out of spontaneous good will (which is the implication of your remark). However, we do know that Komen would presumably not be bestowing the money on PP because PP had earned it, was making payment in kind to Komen in exchange, or in any way had acquired some vested right or interest in it prior to its being given (if it were otherwise, it could well pose problems for PP’s tax return). Ergo, a gift – including in the legal sense. There’s nothing disingenuous about recognizing that.

    For the sake of accuracy, not every charitable nonprofit has tax-exempt status. Seeking it from the IRS is optional. But I think you misunderstand the legal restrictions on which Komen’s favorable tax treatment is conditioned. “Partisan political activity” for an organization like Komen means participating or intervening in election campaigns specifically for or against a particular candidate for public office. Unless you’re aware of such activities being implicated in the situation we’re talking about – in which case please share the information – it’s not relevant to this discussion. Whatever factors Komen’s board took into its decision-making process were within its legitimate discretion. If third parties thought the decision was a net bad one – and given that no one seems to have wanted to wait to see the following year’s grant allocations to see if there was something objectionable about them, that strikes me as premature – the response was so intemperate and vituperative that most organizations would have been embarrassed by the association, though I get the impression that PP wasn’t.

  23. Jender Says:

    More on all this, including the “they don’t offer mammograms” defense: http://www.politicususa.com/en/shocker-right-wing-news-editor-seriously-misinformed-about-breast-health

  24. s. wallerstein Says:

    The word “political” covers a lot of territory.

    Man is a political animal, says Aristotle.

    Almost everything we do can be seen in political terms: what is personal is political, said the 60’s feminists and they were right.

    Thus, Komen’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood is certainly political in the sense that it has to do with the way people relate to one another in the politis, the way power is structured in that politis and who does what to whom for whom in the politis.

    Its decision to fund Planned Parenthood is equally political as is Planned Parenthood’s policy of providing abortion services to women.

    However, still another sense of the word “political” roughly signifies those subjects and themes which you can read about clicking on “politics” in the New York Times website.

    The NYT generally does not include the policies of Kominen nor of Planned Parenthood in that section of its coverage.

    It would be good to specific which sense of the word “political” we are talking about.

  25. s. wallerstein Says:

    “Politis” should read “polis”.

  26. profbigk Says:

    Jender, thanks for this! I am relieved to see that I’m not the only one saying all this.

  27. Nemo Says:

    In related news. Komen’s Senior VP for Public Policy resigns:

    http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/02/07/karen-handel-resigns-from-komen-for-the-cure/

    Philosopher Robert George and law professor Carter Snead opine on the controversy, in yesterday’s WSJ:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206692451108960.html

  28. s. wallerstein Says:

    Hello Nemo:

    I wanted to send you this, but I was too lazy to search for the thread where you talked about Santorum.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ana-marie-cox-blog/2012/feb/06/rick-santorum-evangelical-christian-faith

    The article tries to paint a nuanced picture of the candidate. Unlike the other Republican candidates, he is not a fraud: that seems clear.

  29. Nemo Says:

    Ah, that’s an interesting article, thanks SW. I agree that particularly for The Guardian, this paints a relatively nuanced picture, and — if we filter out the author’s vague condescension toward churches and the churched, as well as her ersatz moral theologizing — a fairly even-handed one. (Though for some reason the article suggests he’s an Evangelical, when he’s actually a Catholic.) I agree with your assessment of Santorum’s remarkable sincerity, whatever one makes of him.

  30. s. wallerstein Says:

    Nemo:

    We seem to have radically difference media preferences: the Guardian is my media choice.

    It’s good that coming from such different points of view, we can exchange ideas on a friendly basis.

  31. Nemo Says:

    SW, not necessarily radically different; The Guardian is good for many things but I have never thought it had strong or sophisticated coverage of US internal politics. Though that particular blogger is an experienced political commentator from the States (albeit not from a traditional political journalism background).

  32. s. wallerstein Says:

    The New York Times, which I dislike, takes U.S. politics as it is presented: that is,
    they accept the narratives that U.S. politicians present of themselves.

    The Guardian tends to suspect that there is “something behind” those narratives: I generally suspect there is something behind or under political narratives myself.

    By the way, I tend to suspect politicians’ narratives everywhere, but in the U.S. there is moralistic and moralizing tone to politics, even to foreign policies, that is particularly suspicious.

    When you suspect that the narrative is not the “real” story, there is an unfortunate tendency not to pay sufficient attention to the details and that may be the Guardian’s problem (and mine at times). It’s like the psychoanalyst who is so sure that the child detests his mother that she does not listen to what the child says. The child may truly detest his mother, but there are many ways to detest one’s mother and the difference between them counts.

  33. Nemo Says:

    Oof. According to a report on NPR yesterday, the next headache for Planned Parenthood is this submission to the Congressional subcommittee investigating Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, purporting to summarize federal and state audit findings that cast PP’s business and accounting practices in an unflattering light:

    http://www.sba-list.org/sites/default/files/content/shared/2012-02-06_adf_report_on_planned_parenthood_audits_to_stearns_subcommittee.pdf


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