Conservative websites Breitbart and The Federalist are claiming that a reported cyber-attack of the Planned Parenthood website is in fact a “PR stunt” staged by the organization and the communications firm it has hired.
“PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S ‘HACKED’ WEBSITE LOOKS LIKE PR STUNT” blares the Breitbart headline.
The Federalist declares: “Planned Parenthood ‘Hacking’ Sure Looks Like An Orchestrated PR Stunt”
The Federalist has the more skeptical of the two takes.
“Planned Parenthood says it’s been hacked by ‘extremists,’ but a review of the publicly available evidence suggests that the only things being hacked at Planned Parenthood right now are perfectly healthy and viable unborn babies.”
But Breitbart isn’t buying it either.
“Even if PP was legitimately targeted by hackers over the weekend, there are a number of indicators that at this point, their website issues have been deliberately triggered,” Sarah Rumpf writes for Breitbart.
According their theory, a look at the site’s source code after the reported hack, as well as changes to the front-facing website in the hours after it was said to have been attacked, raises suspicion.
“Unlike most other website hacking events that have made the news, PP’s website was not altered to display any message from the alleged hackers,” Breitbart noted. “Intriguingly, while PP’s website does not show any negative changes from the alleged hackers, it does display a message that many critics are challenging is a public relations stunt.”
The Federalist pointed to the site’s source code, as of Thursday morning, that allegedly shows that “the page is listed as a ‘Campaign’ and uses a specific template named ‘Site Down Tempalte’ (the typo is theirs).”
Visitors, The Federalist notes, are redirected to the Facebook page for Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
“And that’s where Planned Parenthood’s hacking facade begins to crumble,” The Federalist argues, as users can share their personal stories on a separate page.
“And wouldn’t you know it, that page functions perfectly,” The Federalist report says. “No sign of hacking. No sign of intrusion. Just a perfectly functional and secure web page that exists solely to build Planned Parenthood’s mailing list.”
Both reports came as various Twitter users were making similar allegations after the initial reports of the apparent hack.
— Manny Garza (@Boldmanny316) July 30, 2015
1. PP changes landing page to – “see what happens, hacked!”
2. Learn more” Link on page leads to Facebook campaign.
Total PR smear job
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 30, 2015
— Wojciehowicz (@Wojciehowicz) July 30, 2015
Planned Parenthood is currently under fire for a series of undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group purporting to show affiliates are profiting off of donations of fetal tissue to researchers.
Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood confirmed reports that hackers had targeted the organization’s internal databases and employee records.
Wednesday, Planned Parenthood said it was again the target of cyber-attack by “anti-abortion extremists.”
“[T]the Planned Parenthood websites experienced a wide scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, a hacker tactic to overwhelm websites with massive amounts of traffic to block any legitimate traffic from getting in,” Dawn Laguens, executive of vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement issued Wednesday evening.