SACRAMENTO, April 4, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of pro-life volunteers have accused a Sacramento-area television station of slander and retained legal counsel after the station ran a news story they say was filled with falsehoods and outright fabrications.
Lawyers with Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) have sent a letter to Sacramento’s local CBS affiliate KOVR-13 demanding a public apology for their clients, Project Truth, who were accused in a recent news report of blanketing neighborhoods and cars with graphic images of abortion victims.
The news report included footage of an angry neighbor of the school telling an unidentified man to stop putting abortion literature on his car, but Project Truth says the man isn’t involved with their group and that they never put literature on cars. They’re accusing reporter Anjali Hemphill of staging the footage herself in order to drive a false narrative designed to make the pro-life movement look bad.
Project Truth describes itself on its Facebook page as devoted to “taking the horrible truth about abortion to colleges and high schools.” They often stand on public sidewalks near local schools offering literature and answering questions about abortion for students. While the group admits that some of their literature does contain images of abortion victims, they insist they only give the literature to students who express interest in taking it.
“Project Truth is a pro-life activist ministry dedicated to educating high school and college aged young adults about the truth of abortion through the use of educational displays, literature and conversation,” LLDF attorney Allison Aranda explained in a strongly worded letter to the station. “Participants have been peacefully distributing accurate and informative literature to Sacramento and Placer area schools for more than 15 years. Your news story, which depicts a man wearing a black shirt, dark colored pants and a baseball hat purportedly putting a Project Truth leaflet on Larry Blount’s car in his driveway, was misleading and slanderous.”
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“First, the man depicted in the video is not a participant with Project Truth and did not put the leaflet on the car. It appears as though this was staged for the news story,” Aranda wrote. “If your story was truly about ‘Getting Answers’ as you claim it was, then why didn’t your reporter, Anjalie [sic] Hemphill, attempt to interview the man in the cap? Moreover, there were no media personnel or news cameras in the area on March 18, 2014 when Project Truth participants were handing out literature to the Rancho Cordova High School students.”
Noting that Hemphill never interviewed any students or members of Project Truth before running her story, Aranda surmised that the entire report was staged to air unchallenged the opinions of the two people who were interviewed for the video, Larry Blount and Tallie Miller, who oppose the pro-life group’s presence near the school.
Aranda accused both Blount and Miller of hypocrisy for opposing abortion-related information being given to students when California state law allows those same students to miss school without consequence to obtain abortions without their parents’ knowledge.
“Both Larry Blount and Tallie Miller … claim to be concerned about the students’ exposure to and reactions to the literature handed out by Project Truth participants,” Aranda wrote. “Both interviewees also claim that the subject of abortion is a private matter that should only be discussed in the family setting. Yet, California high school students may be transported off school property to obtain an abortion without ever notifying a family member that the student left school or received the abortion!”
Aranda added that the biased reporting has led to death threats and other threats of violence against pro-life activists, something she blamed squarely on the station’s one-sided coverage.
“The obvious bias and lack of true reporting demonstrated by Ms. Hemphill is deplorable,” Aranda wrote. “We are demanding that your news station 1) issue an apology to Project Truth for the false report, 2) report a follow up to the story correcting the falsehoods promulgated by Ms. Hemphill, and 3) denounce the threats of violence and hate speech listed in the comments section of the story on your station’s website.”
LifeSiteNews reached out to KOVR’s Anjali Hemphill for comment, but she did not respond by press time.