by Michelle Malkin
May 21, 2007
LifeNews.com Note: Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and the author of books such as Unhinged and In Defense of Internment.
Here is a tale of two breeds of undercover journalists. One has been celebrated by the national media and journalism organizations. The other has been shunned. One has champions in Congress. The other is facing litigation.
Both engaged in sting operations with secret cameras catching their targets on videotape. Both were deceptive about their true identities and life circumstances. Both exposed their targets’ aggressive methods and law-subverting recruitment tactics. But you’ve probably only heard of the efforts of one of these breeds. You’ll know why in a moment.
In 2005, David McSwane, a high school honors student in Colorado, posed as a dropout and druggie.
"I wanted to do something cool, go undercover and do something unusual," he told the Rocky Mountain News. McSwane deliberately failed a high school equivalency test, caught recruiters on tape driving him to purchase a detox kit and reported that they urged him to obtain a phony diploma. A local CBS station picked up the story – prompting the Army to shut down its recruiting stations nationwide for ethics training.
McSwane earned a "laurel" from the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review "for conduct most becoming" and announced he was headed to journalism school. His reporting garnered attention from the New York Times to Editor and Publisher.
No such laurels have been awarded to Lila Rose, however.
Rose is an 18-year-old student journalist at UCLA. Like McSwane and his breed of undercover reporters, she surreptitiously infiltrated a massive organization that enlists young people. Like McSwane and his breed of undercover reporters, Rose exposed deceptive practices. Rose posed as a 15-year-old seeking the services and advice of her target. Like McSwane and his breed of undercover reporters, she caught her targets urging her to lie and evade the law in order to sign her up.
But Rose’s target was the Left’s beloved Planned Parenthood, not the military. And that has made all the difference in the nonexistent national coverage of her undercover journalism. Rose edits The Advocate, a pro-life campus publication of the student group Live Action. She posed as a minor impregnated by a 23-year-old boyfriend and caught a Planned Parenthood employee advising her to lie about her age to relieve the abortion provider from a legal obligation to report statutory rape to the police.
"If you’re 15, we have to report it," the staffer told Rose in a secretly taped video. "If you’re not, if you’re older than that, then we don’t need to."
"OK, but if I just say I’m not 15, then it’s different?" Rose queried.
"You could say 16," the worker helpfully suggested. "Just figure out a birth date that works. And I don’t know anything."
Other than coverage from a few pro-life groups and conservative Web sites, Rose’s stunning revelations have received virtually no mainstream media attention. And no calls from lawmakers for investigations of Planned Parenthood’s predatory tactics and practices – which also have been caught on tape in other states by undercover citizen investigators.
Instead, Rose faces threats of a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood, which sent her a cease-and-desist letter and had the appalling nerve this week to lecture Rose about the need "to be more respectful of California laws," according to the conservative Cybercast News Service.
Where are the muckraking champions when you need them? Lila Rose has learned the hard way: Not all undercover journalists are equal.