NowThis uses Planned Parenthood to paint election tactic as exclusively Republican

September 13, 2022

By Tim Worstall

The one word that is remarkable by its absence in a new video from NowThis News is “Democrat,” or the closely allied “D” or “Democratic.”

There’s a reason for this. If you say “Vote for my guys!” then that’s election spending, there are rules about who may spend how much in what way and so on. If, on the other hand, you say that the “other” guys are just terrible and that’s all you do, then there are no such controls. 

So, if you’re a group that wants to influence elections then that’s what you do – as this video from Planned Parenthood Votes does. The question though is why is a supposed news outlet, a media station, like NowThis News running it? For it is simply pure election campaigning even as it obeys the rules. A selection of things said: 

“GOP Midterm candidates are trying to obscure their extreme abortion views. This reproductive rights expert from Planned Parenthood Votes is calling them out.” Blake Masters scrubbed his website of his pro-life position. Several GOP candidates have done the same. “They’re not regretting their stance. They’re regretting their public stance” “If they’re not truthful in the way that they campaign”.”

The message then becomes get out and vote. But with no direction at all about which way to vote. Just all the implications of how bad the Republicans are without the Democrats’ recommendation. It’s not odd; this is purposeful and what concerns is why NowThis is running it.

It’s also possible to worry about the other message here. People are moderating their views now that the primaries are over. But that’s something that happens in every political party always. Pretty much by definition, the Republican Party is to the right, the Democratic Party to the left. So, to win a primary it’s necessary to be more right (or left, respectively) to do so. We are absolutely certain that we could find things said by D candidates in contested primaries that are now being moderated – sorry, “scrubbed” – from websites and campaign materials. Precisely because in the generals it’s necessary to appeal to those on the other side – or at least to attract some number of independents. Who are unlikely to be attracted by those more extreme promises that are required to win the within-party primary.

The complaint about views moderating is just how politics has always worked, not something new for this election or this highly contentious subject.

NowThis can seem, from one point of view, a minor media player. Their site gains some million visits (a number that doubled last month) a month and they’re well outside the top 1000 US media sites. But the YouTube channel, which repeated this little video, has 2 million and more subscribers. That’s influence.

It’s election season, so of course people who wish to influence politics are going to be releasing videos. But we do think that such politically partisan offerings should be treated as such. Not run, unchallenged, as news pieces on purported news sites. We’d also say this if they were running similar videos from the other – or even any other – political side or party. Although, of course, they don’t – as we’ve been known to note more than once, the American media is not, in fact, unbiased. That bias becomes most apparent in the view they present unchallenged.


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