National Post

Driven to deceit

Sunday, February 14, 1999
Waterbury Republican-American

So the study that found 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men suffer from sexual dysfunction was written by people paid by the folks who make Viagra. That sure seems interesting.

The failure by the Journal of the American Medical Association to note the connection in publishing the article was blamed on "an oversight." That sure seems convenient.

When the authors spoke to the media Tuesday, they said their research explains the "enormous response to Viagra." They had every opportunity to mention their connection to Pfizer Inc., the company that makes the impotency-fighting drug, but were silent. That sure seems dishonest.

People less cynical than we might be willing to swallow these yarns. But we know this is a tactic used by all manner of organizations — political, academic, governmental, corporate, nonprofit, left-wing, right-wing, you name it — with axes to grind or points to prove to gain some political, economic or social advantage.

For years, global warmists have tortured climate data and unions have cooked labor statistics to make them say what they want them to say. Often, they make convincing cases, as the Viagra men did, but their arguments can't stand up to closer scrutiny.

And when these special-interest groups can't do it with illegitimate research, they turn to bogus polls and surveys. The current effort by Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. shows how to generate statistics to support one's cause.

A recent mailing sent only to people Planned Parenthood considers sympathetic to abortion rights included a short questionnaire — the National Survey on Reproductive Health — and an inflammatory four-page letter from President Gloria Feldt.

The letter talks about "religious extremist violence" against "the freedom of choice." Readers are aroused to anger against "anti-choice zealots." Meanwhile, Ms. Feldt speaks of Planned Parenthood in more benevolent terms, as "a family" of 133 chapters with almost 900 "health centers" nationwide, "an effective advocacy force for reproductive freedom."

By the time they get to the parts that describe how the struggle "with anti-choice fanatics is truly life-threatening," readers have long forgotten the millions of unborn babies who have been aborted in last 25 years and are ready to take up arms against anyone who even looks pro-life.

Weeks from now, the survey's preordained results will be splashed on front pages of newspapers nationwide. "A majority of Americans believe" violence against abortion clinics presents a major threat to reproductive rights in this nation, children should not be required to get their parents' permission before getting an abortion, the U.S. government or insurance companies should pay for abortions and contraceptives for low-income people, and domestic spying should be allowed to "thwart extremists' operations."

We applaud the revelation of the Viagratized sex study because it discredits a deceitful industry. The authors clearly reached their conclusions and then assembled data tailored to support their case. Using a similar strategy, Planned Parenthood is trying to hoodwink an entire nation into believing abortion is good and pro-lifers are evil.

President Clinton and Congress will treat those twisted results as fact to promote bills to deal with "these serious national issues." They will neglect the nation's more pressing needs and appropriate tens of millions of dollars to hire armed guards and install security equipment for abortion clinics.

And they will call for requiring insurance companies to pay for birth-control pills and Viagra to promote promiscuity among low-income people.

Armed with the Viagra revelations, perhaps the public will begin looking more skeptically at such studies and insist their government start looking out for the people's best interests.

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