What Komen - Planned Parenthood PR Debacle? For Rightbloggers, It's Win-Whine

Last week, breast cancer org Susan G. Komen for the Cure suddenly withdrew its support of Planned Parenthood. In response, many Planned Parenthood supporters complained. So Komen had to back down, which was a blow to its public image.

That's the story as seen by normal people. In rightblogger land, here's what happened:

Last week, Komen heroically withdrew its support of baby-killers. In response, totalitarian feminists bullied, jackbooted, and threatened to destroy them. So Komen had to back down, which was ultimately good for conservatism.

Komen's original decision got jumped right out of the gate, particularly on Twitter, and soon Democratic politicians, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG, The Decemberists, and even some Komen executives lined up against it.

Both Komen and Planned Parenthood claimed large upticks in donation pledges. But Komen took heavy PR damage (which they seem to have expected -- in December they got former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to preemptively war-game the decision).

Fleischer wasn't the only one on their side, though. Rightbloggers engulfed Komen in a warm group hug.

National Review's Kathryn J. Lopez praised the defunding as "Taking Back the Pink... This Komen-Planned Parenthood relationship has long been a target of pro-life activists and, media bias aside, this appears to be a remarkable turning point... The 'icon' is broken, the myth is being shattered."

"Hats of to [Komen CEO Nancy G. Brinker] and her organization as they find out how committed the baby-killers truly are," said Rick Rice at Wizbang.

"One of America's most unabashedly corrupt and evil organizations has lost some of its funding," said Leon H. Wolf at RedState, "which is cause for at least some rejoicing." RedState chief Erick Erickson bade his disciples send Komen donations in gratitude.

At Get Religion, Mollie Hemingway shared a touching story about a friend who was doing Komen walks in honor of his mother, who suffered from breast cancer. Hemingway was going to contribute, but then she learned Komen gave money to Planned Parenthood, and confronted her friend: "He felt that the money offered to Planned Parenthood would not go to support abortions and therefore was not a dealbreaker," she wrote. "I could not in good conscience support a group that supported Planned Parenthood, even though I really wanted to support him in honoring his mother. Now, I can (and already have and will continue to do so)."

See? Planned Parenthood was keeping Mollie Hemingway from contributing to fight breast cancer. Who wouldn't be against such monsters?

Then came the Dolchstoßlegende! Jenny Erickson at The Stir, who was thrilled by Komen's decision (in part because, she said, Planned Parenthood "gives advice to pimps on how to set up brothels full of underage sex slaves"), seemed to see what was coming: "If it backfires," she shrugged, "and they lose more support from this decision, they can always go back to the way things were."

Well, it backfired -- spectacularly. Under public pressure, Komen released a statement that seemed to reverse its stand on Planned Parenthood -- "we will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood" -- though it left wiggle-room for a de-facto defunding in the future.

The rightblogger response was mostly one giant cry of "No fair."


Their basic proposition was best expressed by Bookworm Room, which conflated the affair with the Obama Administration's recent ruling on Catholic orgs, contraception, and health insurance, and said it demonstrated "the liberal belief that there is nothing, including the Constitution, to stop the government and the liberal elites from dictating how individuals and private entities should spend their money."

In the Komen case, however, no government agency or elitist star chamber "dictated" to them -- they made a policy decision, were criticized, and, being dependent on the good will of the public, desperately tried to finesse it. Democracy at its finest!

Nonetheless rightbloggers generally accepted the idea that, while supporting Komen was robust free speech, opposing Komen was Hitler squared.

The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto talked about George Orwell and "feminism's gradual transformation into a totalitarian ideology." He also claimed that "purportedly pro-choice feminists... hate Sarah Palin and her daughter for choosing not to abort their children."

"The Komen Foundation caves in to bullies," declared Kathleen McKinley at Right Wing News. "Obviously [Komen] misunderestimated the intolerance of the left, for whom diversity of opinion is anathema," said Tom Maguire at Just One Minute. "Planned Parenthood Shakes Down Susan G Komen Like A Schoolyard Bully: Give Us Your Money or We Will Destroy You," offered Bryan Kemper.

"Never get in the way of Liberal causes, especially ones involving abortion and providing contraceptives to minorities," muttered William Teach, "they will bury you personally." ("Contraceptives to minorities"? Is that like selling whiskey to Indians?)

While Komen had merely "exercised its prerogative in determining the criteria it uses for administering grants," explained Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler, the "ruthless" Planned Parenthood was "preserving its power and its ability to intimidate," and was trying to "destroy the Komen for the Cure Foundation and ultimately set back the cause of curing breast cancer." See the difference?

"You Should Find the Anti-Komen Backlash Disgusting, Even If You're Pro-Choice," fumed Daniel Foster at National Review. He has a point; while writing this column, we found ourselves laughing out loud... oh wait, he said "Disgusting," not "Hilarious."

But why was it disgusting? Foster offered an analogy:

"Imagine I volunteered to run a cub scout troop, and for years, when the annual soapbox derby came near, I knew I could count on Joe's Deli as good for a hundred dollar donation," wrote Foster. "If one year Old Man Joe decided he didn't want to donate any more -- because he didn't like the design of our racer, or because he thought his hundred bucks was better spent on a little league team, or because he disapproved of the scouts' stance on gays -- what on earth would justify me going on public access TV to grill Old Man Joe on why he hates kids? What would justify me hacking the Joe's Deli web site or maliciously editing Old Man Joe's Wikipedia page?"

We think we get it: The multimillion-dollar Komen organization is Old Man Joe. When you think of private individuals denouncing a multimillion-dollar organization, it sounds fair enough -- but when it's Old Man Joe, who probably served in the war, walks with a limp but never complains, and has a kind word for everyone he sees, it sounds awful. Maybe Foster would have done better to compare Komen to a fluffy kitten, and to have made his story a YouTube video:

God, liberals are awful.

When the story first broke, DaTechGuy claimed that he was "trying very hard not to enjoy the absolute panic among feminists" and "the absolute anger of the impotent left." He also predicted that Planned Parenthood wouldn't raise much money out of it: "Note to our friends in the left," he said, "when you kill off your children, they not only aren't there to vote, they aren't there to donate either."

When things came a-cropper, DaTechGuy joined his colleagues in the warm bath of self-pity: "If Komen is allowed to survive and thrive without the imprimatur of the left, then how many will follow suit?" he asked. "That's why, no matter how many women's lives are saved by their actions, they must be destroyed." Born and unborn, no one escapes the liberal killing machines!

DaTechGuy also said that "this should have been a one day story... the left will make this a one year story rather than a one day story..." Shortly thereafter he delivered an 1,800-word post explaining that "our friends on the left are celebrating right now, but I think they are mining fools gold... I think the left is about to beclown themselves on this." Keep hope alive, Guy.

Elizabeth Scalia aka The Anchoress was enraged to learn that Planned Parenthood supporters were able to "bring out the heavy guns of the mainstream media and apparently win Komen's surrender!"

Then Scalia got really dramatic: She imagined the liberal demons crying, "get back in line, or we will destroy you; we will bring the full power of the elite media and the government against you." She visualized Komen as "a good but weak soldier... Not everyone can face the lions, especially if they're being pounced on in their first steps." She was visited by "a mental image of Moloch, enraged and stomping and roaring because there was a threat of less meat coming to his fire... The Day of the Bully has dawned. Institutional aggression, carried out by mobs is the ascendent modality... I'm watching Moloch dance today. I know he loses in the end, but today, he feels triumphant."

When Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards called the affair "a learning opportunity," Scalia heard this instead: "'good girls, Komen, you've backed down; a little learning opportunity for you; try that again, and we'll crush you...'... By which they mean, 'welcome to the jackboot.'" Maybe Scalia really is an Anchoress; she certainly sounds like someone who might be confined to a room, most likely by medical authorities.

Some of them got tired of beating up liberals, and went after the source of their prior joys and present miseries.

Liberty Chick at Big Journalism suggested that rightwing contributors try and get their money back from Komen for backing down.

She wasn't the only one. Some former advocates of Komen defunding Planned Parenthood became advocates of defunding Komen because of Planned Parenthood.


Rod Dreher, enraged by "liberal backlash," stood up for Komen, then sat back down: "I can't get onto Komen's main site now -- perhaps its server is jammed -- but I found its local Baton Rouge site, and made a $100 donation just now. Never done that before," he wrote. "Like I said, a clarifying moment. [UPDATE: I've withdrawn the gift in light of Komen's reversal.]"

Later Dreher told readers how angry he was that Komen retreated before the "pro-choice mob," and denounced, natch, "the media," which had been "utterly unrestrained" and "disgusting" in its "biased reporting." He added: "There are two issues the mainstream media sees absolutely no reason to be fair and balanced in covering: gay rights and abortion rights. Sexual autonomy is the one great sacrament of the Left, which is to say, our mainstream US media." So withdrawing his Komen contribution was a blow against sexual autonomy, we suppose. Maybe they can use that in their advertising.

Winning hearts and minds since 1973.
Winning hearts and minds since 1973.

"When you see that Komen pink ribbon and its logo plastered all over products in department stores and on supermarket shelves," said Freedom Eden, "think of the group bowing to murderers." Yikes!

"Komen -- which currently is making a murky and futile attempt to appease both the pro-death and pro-life camps -- doesn't deserve a single penny from the pro-life community," said Matt C. Abbott at Renew America. "It learned the hard way that when you lie down with the devil, you'll wake up in hell." Double yikes! We wonder how many of these guys' followers yanked their donations, convinced that, because they were doing it rather than some godless liberal, it was noble rather than coercive.

At American Thinker, Clarice Feldman went a step further, decreeing that all non-profits be punished.

"I have been watching over the years as non-profit foundations enormously have increased their assets and sway over the political and cultural life of America (essentially on our dime) with no real oversight or controls," she wrote.

Our dime? Was Feldman talking about the taxes non-profits evade? Apparently so: She complained that such orgs sometimes assist projects and people of which she does not approve -- for example, Annenberg, with its "funneling scores of millions to terrorist Bill Ayers and Barack Obama" -- and declared that, in the wake of the Komen affair, "I think it's long overdue that Congress and the IRS exert far more control over all these foundations, more closely monitoring their activities and forcing them to rapidly spend down this mountain of assets on domestic charitable purposes (not political meddling)."

A conservative calling on Big Government to tax and take down non-profits! Somewhere the Koch Brothers are laughing their asses off.

But other rightbloggers took heart that Komen's back-down had been so lawyerly and non-committal. At The Weekly Standard, John McCormack announced that perhaps Komen did not "Cave to Planned Parenthood's Bullying" after all. Erick Erickson brushed off the "mishandled PR exercise" and assured readers Komen's decision "in effect, still shuts out Planned Parenthood."

Tito Edwards of American Catholic also urged forgiveness: "Look at it from Komen's perspective," he said. "They're taking a public relations hit by the punks and thugs from Planned Parenthood and their allies. It's a war, a Culture War out there!... We need to pray and fight like Macabbees right now." He also found this bright side: "We can now identify some of the members of the Culture of Death as they come out and openly defend Planned Parenthood like the scumbag Lance Armstrong."

And a few of them decided that Komen had actually won the confrontation.

"Did Komen outfox the Left?" asked Jill Stanek. "The initial exhilaration on the Left of a win over the evil breast cancer foundation is subsiding."

"I think the pro choice fury directed at Komen was a huge PR debacle for PP and its supporters," said Wesley J. Smith at First Things. "PP has been seriously wounded because it showed its true face."

In case you were wondering what face that was, Smith explained: "PP actively sexualizes young teens with its graphic sex education program -- which some pro lifers see as a way of creating a demand for abortion. It protects rapists of the statutory kind, interferes with parent/child relations, and uses its fat money pot as a political hammer to promote 60s sexual mores and cultural values."

That being the case, you might wonder why it was Komen that had to reverse field, rather than Planned Parenthood. The short answer is, however much public opinion you have, or think you have, on your side, there's no upside to acting like a jerk. Ross Douthat, in his defense of Komen, insisted that at least half of all Americans are against abortion. Perhaps, but that doesn't mean they think that their friends, neighbors, and relatives who disagree with them are murderers, nor that when they express their opinion on the matter they are trying to silence everyone else.

That's something else normal people understand automatically, but which Douthat and the other rightbloggers always seem to miss.

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