Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Now, Please, a Little Candor from the Susan Komen Foundation

Posted at 3:22 pm, February 4th, 2012
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

The best way to heal self-inflicted wounds is to confess error quickly, fully and unambiguously. The Susan Komen breast cancer foundation’s apology for withdrawing funding from Planned Parenthood, and to reinstate the money, fell short of candidly explaining why it adopted a policy one of its board members described, accurately, as “stupid.”

The policy it initially elected to follow, that the Komen foundation would not support any organization under investigation, is untenable on its face. Under it, any crackpot lawmaker could launch an investigation, no matter how unjustified, and the Komen foundation would have to dumbly cut off funds.

The people who approved this irresponsible policy presumably are still making grants for the foundation. If so, they should identify themselves and reassure donors that it was a one-time aberration — and reporters should follow up to see that they do.

Individuals and institutions do not readily admit mistakes. If they did, there would be a lot less litigation. It took a massive backlash that threatened the Susan Komen foundation’s future to produce its apology.

The organization’s retreat is to its credit. But the foundation won’t fully dig itself out of the wreckage it created unless those who voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood take responsibility by stepping forward to explain why they thought it prudent to punish the women served by Planned Parenthood.

One Response to “Now, Please, a Little Candor from the Susan Komen Foundation”

  1. Don Greenwood says:

    When a non-profit claims to be non-political, it most definitely is, particularly when its shifting sands of rationalization contribute to its’ politicization and massive PR backlash. However, I don’t understand how litigation applies to a non-profit that is not legally obligated to donate to particular organizations. That is a larger point that is irrelevant in the case of Susan G. Komen.

Comments are closed.

The website is no longer being updated. Watchdog stories have a new home in Nieman Reports.