Eleven More Seconds of Gosnell Trial Coverage on CBS; More Crickets From ABC and NBC

CBS is putting its Big Three competitors to shame in actually covering the capital murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, but that's not saying much, as Thursday's CBS This Morning devoted a paltry 11 seconds to the latest development in the case. Norah O'Donnell highlighted that the abortionist's defense attorney rested his case without calling his client or any other witness to testify. [audio available here; video below the jump]

It was the second straight day that the morning show devoted air time to the news story. On Wednesday, O'Donnell gave a 13-second news brief on the Gosnell trial judge dismissing some of the murder charges against the abortionist.

NBC Philadelphia's Vince Lattanzio reported on Wednesday that "the day former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney was set to begin presenting his case -- he rested....Jack McMahon did not call one witness to the stand in defense of Gosnell Wednesday, before announcing 'the defense rests.'" Lattanzio later cited a local jury consultant, who speculated about McMahon's eyebrow-raising legal move:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, Accused Philadelphia Murderer, Abortionist; Screen Cap From 15 April 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.org...While McMahon's choice not to bring forth any witnesses may surprise some, Philadelphia jury consultant Melissa Gomez says she has seen this strategy before.

"I have seen this happen before in criminal trials in which the defense decides that it has done enough in the prosecution's case through cross examinations to cause a reasonable doubt and either does not need or decides it is not worth the risk to call its own witnesses considering that the prosecution would also be able to cross examine," Gomez said.

Although she has not been following the day-to-day events of the trial, Gomez said, "Considering he got three charges dismissed, it sounds like he did do a decent job poking some holes in the prosecution's case, so maybe he was right to let the evidence be and just close."

The Philadelphia journalist also pointed out a detail that O'Donnell didn't give in her two news briefs – that Gosnell also faces a "third-degree murder [charge] in [Karnamaya] Mongar's death", who died in 2009 after the physician allegedly administered a "lethal dose of pain killers and anesthesia". Altogether, the murder suspect faces 380 criminal charges, even after Judge Jeffrey Minehart dismissed three of the original seven first-degree murder charges and six other counts on Tuesday.

In addition to O'Donnell's two news briefs, CBS aired a full report on the Gosnell case on the April 15, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning. This makes the broadcast network a leader on covering this criminal trial, but if this were a three-way horse race, CBS is winning only because the two other competitors haven't even left the gate.

The full transcript of Norah O'Donnell's news brief from Thursday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: The Philadelphia Inquirer says abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell ended his defense without testifying or calling a witness. Gosnell is charged with four counts of murder. He's accused of killing babies born alive and viable during illegal late-term abortions.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center