During Special Documentary, Fox News Highlights Media Bias In Lack Of Gosnell Coverage

We here at NewsBusters have been documenting the virtual blackout of the Gosnell murder trial by the liberal media. As of May 6, the Big Three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have offered scant if any coverage of the gruesome murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell. 

In a May 3 special on the Kermit Gosnell case entitled “See No Evil” Fox News not only gave an in-depth and graphic account of the charges against Gosnell but also documented the broadcast media blackout of the case. Narrator Bret Baier introduced the segment by noting that:

When Kermit Gosnell's trial started something odd happened. Or to be more precise didn't happen. The seats reserved for the media were empty. 

One of the major members of the media crying foul at the lack of Gosnell coverage is Fox’s Kirsten Powers, a liberal columnist, who observed:

We have a mainstream media that typically likes to cover any issues related to reproductive rights or abortion thoroughly but generally this trial was ignored… You would have had to been following either activist blogs on the right or left or the local Philadelphia news if you wanted to know anything about this.

During the segment, Baier noted that a Fox News poll found that the majority of Americans had never even heard of the Gosnell trial and “of those who were following the trial a majority attributed the lack of national news coverage to media bias. Far fewer figured it was just a local story or too gruesome to tell.”  In fact, this documentary is so powerful that Gosnell's own attorney Jack McMahon has asked that he be informed if any jurors viewed the broadcast, and has expressed his personal anger towards Fox News for airing such a documentary.   

For his part, throughout the entire “See No Evil” documentary, Baier provided quotes from both sides of the abortion debate, and during the media bias segment, he noted that:

Pennsylvania State senator Daylin Leach thinks if Americans know what happened in Gosnell’s clinic they will be more likely to support policies that will give poor women more access to better abortion services.

NewsBusters has documented that the liberal media continues to engage in an extreme censorship of the Gosnell trial. As of Friday, May 3, ABC ignored the case altogether, instead airing 53 segments-almost two and a half hours-of coverage for other criminal trials. 

It took NBC 44 days for NBC Nightly News to mention the trial on May 1, but NBC's Today has failed to mention it at all except for a brief question by Savannah Guthrie during an interview with President Obama. Other networks, including taxpayer funded PBS, claim that the Gosnell trial has gotten “a lot of attention.”

As our publisher Brent Bozell recently noted, “Because the underlying story involves abortion, the networks have censored the story” and to this day the major networks have barely acknowledged its existence. 

 

See relevant transcript below.


Fox News

"See No Evil: The Kermit Gosnell Case"

May 3, 2013

9:52 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: And now the conclusion to our story. It’s been more than two years since the allegations were leveled at Dr. Kermit Gosnell and nearly two months since his trial started. It was time to finally come to terms with what did or did not happen in his West Philadelphia abortion clinic. For the jury, and for the nation as well. When Kermit Gosnell's trial started something odd happened. Or to be more precise didn't happen. The seats reserved for the media were empty. 


KIRSTEN POWERS: We have a mainstream media that typically likes to cover any issues related to reproductive rights or abortion thoroughly but generally this trial was ignored. 


BAIER: Columnist and political commentator Kirsten Powers, a Fox News contributor was appalled and wrote a USA Today piece saying so. 


POWERS: You would have had to been following either activist blogs on the right or left or the local Philadelphia news if you wanted to know anything about this. In the same way there are very serious policy implications when there’s a mass shooting like what we saw in Newtown, there are very serious implications about what happened at this abortion clinic. So I was quite shocked that I had not heard anything about this. 


BAIER: With so little press attention most Americans had never heard of the Gosnell case according to a Fox News poll. Of those who were following the trial a majority attributed the lack of national news coverage to media bias. Far fewer figured it was just a local story or too gruesome to tell. Antiabortion leaders say if Americans know what happened in Gosnell's clinic many more would oppose legalized abortion but some pro-choicers believe the opposite. 


UNKNOWN PERSON: I'm happy to see the story given play because of what I think it teaches us about where America is and how much harm our policies are doing to women. 


BAIER: Pennsylvania State senator Daylin Leach thinks if Americans know what happened in Gosnell’s clinic they will be more likely to support policies that will give poor women more access to better abortion services. 


DAYLIN LEACH: No one is defending what Gosnell did. No one is defending his practices. No one is defending that conduct. 


BAIER: But Gosnell lawyers would offer a defense of what they say their client really did in his clinic and the jury would hear it during the closing argument. The media would hear it, too. For it is worth noting that when Jack McMahon, Gosnell's defense lawyer stood up to speak the press section of the courtroom was packed. Fox news editor at large Peter Boyer was there. 


PETER BOYER: Gosnell's attorney asserted once again, that it was an elitist and racist prosecution. He said that his client had been singled out because he was an African-American providing abortion services in an urban community. 

BAIER: But he did a lot more than just play the race card. 


BOYER: Dr. Gosnell’s attorney told the jury you are not here to decide whether or not abortion is pretty, it is not pretty. It is bloody. It is real. In a way it was almost like that Jack Nicholson scene in “A Few Good Men.” He was saying this is abortion. This is what an abortion clinic looks like. I'm providing services to poor people and you can't handle the truth. 


BAIER: The prosecution then painstakingly went through its case against Gosnell one more time. More than 250 criminal counts. Racketeering. Performing abortions without a waiting period. Performing illegal late term abortions. Third-degree murder of Karnamaya Mongar and in the deaths of baby boy A and babies C, D and E, four counts of murder in the first-degree. A grim catalog of innocent life callously terminated as a matter of routine. The judge reminded the jurors that their duty was to discover the truth and they began their deliberations. In their hands, the life of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and it might be said the conscience of a nation. Wednesday passed no verdict. Thursday. No verdict. The deliberations continue. Regardless of your view of Gosnell himself, this trial had by the end become less about the fate of one man and more about a turning point in the most enduring and emotional debate in recent American history. Whether you are pro-life, pro-choice, or simply not sure, the case of Kermit Gosnell provides our society with a reality check. Gosnell's abortion clinic did exist under the benign neglect of the authorities. How did this happen? How should we go forward? This case won't be the end of the abortion debate but it may help clarify it. That’s our show for tonight. I'm Bret Baier. Thanks for watching.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.