Ex-Planned Parenthood Abortion Business VP Bashes "Citizen Journalism"
by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — For Planned Parenthood, the mainstream media has long been a willing accomplice that has failed to report on the problems associated with abortion. Now, a former vice president for the abortion business is complaining about "citizen journalism" — where average people are helping to influence the news.
In the decades following Roe v. Wade, the old standard for the news business had pro-life groups submitting press releases or holding events with the hope that someone at the newspaper or local television station would report on it.
While Planned Parenthood appeared to have easy access (and editorial support) from large national newspapers, radio and television, pro-life groups rarely attained national headlines unless the story involved violence or national politics.
As former Planned Parenthood vice president for communications Elizabeth Toledo notes in a new op-ed, that standard has changed.
Thanks to the Internet and the way it has molded and changed the mainstream media from an elitist mentality to focusing on what the general public finds interesting, pro-life advocates are seeing a more open door.
Toledo applauded the old model and said it "worked because an editor or columnist determined what was ‘newsworthy.’"
"In the new world of media advocacy, the editor’s role shrinks while the role of the ‘citizen journalist’ grows," she complained.
"Leading news sites will invite the public to submit their own stories and, through a combination of popularity and relevance, the public will drive which stories make it through the firewall onto the evening news," she explained.
With polls showing most Americans reject the Planned Parenthood mantra of unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy, having a pro-life public drive the news is bad news.
Planned Parenthood has relied on the mainstream media, Hollywood, and massive government funding to prop itself up without the grassroots support pro-life groups enjoy. With news moving to a grassroots-driven format, Toledo admits Planned Parenthood can’t win.
"This is the fusion of social networking and news. That’s unfortunate for the large number of nonprofit senior managers who have not directly engaged in social networking," she said.
"The danger is that ideological opponents [read pro-life advocates] can flood [alternative media] with spurious content about your organization," Toledo says.
Ultimately, Toledo gives Planned Parenthood a playbook for the new media outlook that is important for pro-life advocates to keep in mind.
"Organizations attempting to come to terms with this emerging media must plan strategically to adjust to the new power of citizen journalism by paying attention to public interest; watching the popularity of stories on blogs and social networking sites; and listening to internal feedback," she concluded.