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Muftic: Spin doctorss toil on Iran, Planned Parenthood

Felicia Muftic
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Felicia Muftic
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It is bad enough that the issues facing America are complex, the decisions consequential to our security or to the lives of citizens, but when advocates for one side or the other tell untruths, mislead, or leave out important details, it becomes difficult for citizens to form rational opinions based on facts. Issues with highly technical components are especially vulnerable to abuse by false advertising.

There are two issues hot on the burner these days which are rife with spin doctors plying their trade. One concerns the Iran nuclear deal and the other, defunding Planned Parenthood. Whatever your position on either issue, heads-up. Media fact checkers are blowing the whistle.

Much of the Iran nuclear deal is very technical. You may have seen the commercial claiming the Iran nuclear deal is a bad deal, ending with “we need a better deal.” There is very little in the ad that is not misleading. The ad claims that there will be no inspection of 50 military sites.

In Arizona, television station ABC15’s fact checker consulted experts and found there will indeed be inspection of military sites that are nuclear development capable. Other heavyweight experts agree. Not all military sites are appropriate for inspection. If the inspection request is refused, sanctions would be re-imposed. Touts the ad: Iran can build a nuclear weapon in two months because Iran keeps nuclear facilities. Experts looking at the deal say because the centrifuges needed to build a bomb are mothballed and enriched, uranium is limited or destroyed, it would take at least a year.

The ad is paid for by Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, an ironic name because the result would be a nuclear Iran sooner than much later, if at all. The ad purports to support negotiating a better deal. We note while we reinstate sanctions and try to reassemble any willing negotiators, Iran could build their bomb within months, and no inspectors would be there to detect it. Threat of sanctions is not the only enforcer. If Iran breaks the deal, nothing in the agreement prohibits a military strike, per Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

Selective editing of undercover video is a technique as old as video. Such is the case of the film used to convince lawmakers and the public that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for a profit.

Factcheck.org, an independent non-partisan fact checking group, looked at the original video of an “interview” of a Planned Parenthood official and compared it to the version widely circulated in the media used as a pretext by anti-abortion activists to motivate Congress to defund the organization. Left out of the version often repeated on news reports is the part in which the official carefully explains that the fetal tissue is used for research and that there is no profit. Factcheck.org cites experts who calculate that Planned Parenthood’s charges probably do not even cover expenses.

That Planned Parenthood makes a profit on donated fetal tissue is not true. Of course, federal money by law cannot be used for abortions, and the federal money now goes only for cancer screening and other women’s health services, which would be defunded.

For sources tapped for this column, go to http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com.


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