One of the final obstacles to passing a federal budget last Friday night was Planned Parenthood. The GOP didn't want the federal government funding an organization that performed abortions, while Democrats fought for Planned Parenthood because it provided women with access to mammograms and other health services. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell couldn't resist a chance to cash in on the controversy, and he used his “Rewrite” segment - usually reserved for attacking Glenn – to cry some crocodile tears over Planned Parenthood.
“Now, isn't this the guy who's made fun of me for crying? I believe that my country is under attack and that man's freedom, as we understand it, is over,” Glenn said. Lawrence O’Donnell, on the other hand, cries over the potential loss of an organization that performs federally funded abortions.
“He's reading an e-mail from somebody who's very involved in Planned Parenthood services and one of the things she's had done is an abortion, even though he just got through explaining that hardly anything of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions, just a fraction of their fantastic services, even though we just had the stat over the weekend that every 95 seconds they perform another abortion, but that's only 3% of what Planned Parenthood is all about,” Pat explained.
O’Donnell said, “I've never been in a Planned Parenthood office. So, I know little beyond that pie chart but what Planned Parenthood does, but I have friends who depend on Planned Parenthood. One of them currently an unemployed victim of the great depression who can't even afford cable TV to watch this show tonight. She said stop these wackos. Her e-mail deserves a place in the congressional record today beside the lies being told about Planned Parenthood.”
“Did they include the lies that it was started by Margaret Sanger who was a really nice lady or did we -- did we get rid of that lie and put that she was the biggest racist and she was trying to kill all African-Americans and anyone who was handicapped? Did they put that into the congressional record?” Glenn asked.
O’Donnell’s friend wrote that she gets her expensive birth control through Planned Parenthood, but as Stu pointed out condoms, which are also effective, do not cost close to the $98 a month that O’Donnell’s friend says she spends on the pill.
Stu said, “I'm sorry. If Planned Parenthood is all about breast exams, then just give breast exams and no one will stop you, no one will stand up against you..”
“Gynecological exams can go on. No one's saying, ‘Do you know what? I want her never to be checked out’,” Glenn said.
“The problem is your organization is also doing things that are highly controversial. Gynecological exams are not highly controversial. No one cares about stopping them,” Stu said.
Regardless of whether of not you agree with federally funding Planned Parenthood, what made the whole MSNBC segment worse was how contrived and hypocritical it felt. As Glenn pointed out, O’Donnell routinely made fun of Glenn for tearing up on air, yet he does the same thing here.
Mediaite writer Frances Martel summed up how poorly the O’Donnell came across:
Even two years ago audiences were raving about Keith Olbermann’spassionate anti-Prop 8 Special Comment; in light of new journalistic melodramatic sensibilities, the last of the Special Comments were rendered punchlines on arrival. O’Donnell’s take on that aesthetic– reading an email off a Blackberry and then crying to commercial– feels as outdated as it does contrived, particular on a topic of as moderate importance as Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.