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The Huffington Post Gets It Wrong--Again

19 November 2008 — Vol. 10/ No. 49

If you read The Huffington Post, then you're probably aware of the fact that, on Tuesday, December 2nd, The Huffington Post published an article bitterly attacking our organization. The article focused on our ongoing investigations of the UN Population Fund's (UNFPA's) activities in China, which have cost that organization hundreds of millions of dollars in lost funding.

The article by Cristina Page, insultingly entitled "The Pro-Lie Movement Targets Hillary," has this to say about PRI:

This heckling of humanitarian relief efforts [that is, the UNFPA] is coordinated by a group based in Front Royal, Virginia, the Population Research Institute (PRI). When Bush took office, PRI saw its opportunity. The staff of six was imaginative. In 2002, they amplified their slander campaign against UNFPA claiming it was working with the Chinese government to enforce its coercive one-child policy.

The truth was the very opposite. UNFPA was working with the Chinese government to prove that voluntary family planning would lead to better outcomes for Chinese citizens as well as the Chinese government. In fact, UNFPA was having lots of success persuading the Chinese to relax their coercive and brutal one-child policy, the goal of their work there. It had even documented a dramatic decline in abortion rates in the Chinese counties it focused on, from 24 percent to 10 percent. (To put this in context, the current abortion rate in the U.S. is 21 percent.) Just when UNFPA was succeeding in proving to the Chinese the one-child policy was not only inhumane but also ineffective, PRI swooped in with its claims of complicity. Bush, eager to lock lips with his fanatical base, ignored the advice of his own state department, as well as many allied nations, and opted to go with the swirly eyed lunacy of the six staffers of PRI. At their request, Bush quickly froze all U.S. funds to UNFPA, which represented 12 percent of its budget.

First of all, we at PRI would like to extend our thanks to The Huffington Post for drawing attention to our successful China investigations, especially on the same day that we launched our new UNFPA video series detailing our investigation. We appreciate the free publicity.

While they got their timing right, they got virtually everything else wrong.

PRI brought back hard evidence of coercion in China—videotapes, cassette tapes, written and spoken testimony from dozens of witnesses the details, all of which is easily accessed on our web site, www.pop.org). Not only does The Huffington Post not address this evidence, Cristina Page does not even seem to be aware of its existence.

Instead, the Post claims that the cutoff came about because Bush wanted to "lock lips with his fanatical base." Hardly. After reviewing our evidence, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell decided to send his own investigative team into China. When they reaffirmed our findings, only then did he—not Bush—decide to discontinue funding the UNFPA. Colin Powell, who is both pro-abortion and pro-population control, has never shown the slightest inclination to want to lock lips with Bush's supposedly "fanatical base."

The Huffington Post has no real arguments to make, and so it resorts to sandlot slurs. In libeling us as a leading member of the "pro-lie movement," and asserting that we are suffering from "swirly-eyed lunacy," the Huffington Post is really admitting that it has no real case to make.

One thing puzzles us, however. Why, Cristina Page, if you were writing about us, did you not try to contact us for comment? Surely, anything that our staff of "swirly-eyed lunatics" said would be incriminating. Why not use it?

And why, Ariana Huffington, do you not insist that your reporters abide by the basic standards of Journalism 101, and contact those about whom it writes? If The Huffington Post wants to be considered a serious news source, how can it completely disregard our hard evidence about the UNFPA's complicity in China's policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations, not to mention the findings of the State Department? We await your call, Ariana.

In the meantime, we at PRI have come up with a new name for The Huffington Post. We suggest that it be called The Puffington Post, since it is busy putting out puff pieces for the UN Population Fund, not to mention for the People's Republic of China itself. Ariana Huffington, your readers deserve better.

See Steven Mosher's video response to The Huffington Post here.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.
Colin Mason is the Director of Media Production at Population Research Institute.

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