Congrats, media! Most Americans clueless about Planned Parenthood 'baby parts' videos

If you read GetReligion — and obviously you do if you're seeing this — you know pro-life advocates accused the media of dragging their feet on the Planned Parenthood "baby parts" videos.

GetReligionista emeritus Mollie Hemingway was among the loudest voices making that claim:

Of course, the videos made front-page news month last month when anti-abortion forces were indicted in Houston:

So why do I bring up the "baby parts" videos now?

Because of a new national survey by LifeWay Research, the prominent evangelical research firm.

Bottom line: Most Americans are clueless about the videos:


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Here's the top of Godbeat veteran Bob Smietana's survey report for LifeWay:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Over the past six months, a series of undercover videos focused on Planned Parenthood made national headlines, provoked outrage in Congress, and prompted investigations in about a dozen states.
Still, the reaction of most Americans is, “What videos?”
The videos show activists from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and Planned Parenthood officials discussing and negotiating possible payments for donated fetal remains. Leaders of the CMP say the videos show Planned Parenthood illegally selling fetal remains. Planned Parenthood denies that claim.
A phone survey of 1,000 Americans from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 7 out of 10 are either not aware of the videos (43 percent) or have not spoken out after seeing them (27 percent). Among those who are aware of the videos, relatively few spoke out against Planned Parenthood.
“Given the serious accusations against Planned Parenthood — that they sold baby parts — it is surprising how few Americans responded,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research.
The survey was completed in September, at a time the videos received renewed attention during a debate among Republican presidential candidates.

Just yesterday, we were reminded of the media bias against pro-life advocates that infects so much news coverage:

In a tweet, Smietana said the videos "gained little traction, despite the headlines." But were there enough headlines? Was adequate media attention paid to the accusations that Planned Parenthood sold baby parts?

Does the LifeWay survey reflect ambivalence by Americans toward the "baby parts" videos? Or is the media to blame for failing to expose Planned Parenthood?

More from LifeWay:

The reaction to the videos may provide a lesson to pro-life groups, said Stetzer.
While the videos seemed to connect with churchgoers, older and white Americans, and those in the Midwest and South, they missed younger Americans and those from diverse backgrounds.
“Through social media it is easy to assume everyone in America is having the same conversation,” Stetzer said. “But these results show that is not the case."

Interesting analysis, as always, from Stetzer.

So far, I haven't seen any mainstream media reports of the LifeWay survey. Of course, the findings were released just today. If you see any coverage, by all means, please provide links.

In the meantime, what do you make of the lack of awareness of the videos? I asked Stetzer this question. His response to GetReligion: 

There are few issues that are as contentious as reporting on abortion. This issue is a perfect storm. News organizations like Reuters called it “selling,” while others called it “discussing reimbursement fees.” I think the reporting, in part, shaped the response. 

Your turn: Leave a comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion. Please stick to journalism and media coverage issues, not your personal beliefs on abortion.

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