WashPost Media Blogger Slices and Dices NARAL Leader's Claim They Were 'First Out of the Gate' on Gosnell Case

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple spends a lot of time picking apart Fox broadcasts, but he was stunned by a Thomas Roberts interview on MSNBC with the new leader of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue. She claimed “we were the first out of the gate to call attention to this case.” Like a news butler, Roberts set her up to make that bizarre claim and then moved on to the next publicist's softball.

Wemple shot back: “Having done precisely 3,454 Nexis and Internet search on the Gosnell case, we missed the part where NARAL had led a charge to highlight the alleged atrocities in West Philadelphia.” He kept searching, and NARAL’s new boss kept looking sillier and sillier:

So we Nexised again, checking on NARAL’s footprint around the time that Gosnell was indicted in January 2011. Not much there. When asked to provide news releases or other evidence of activism around that time, NARAL didn’t provide anything.

The case reemerged on March 18 of this year, when Gosnell’s trial started. Did NARAL get right on the case? Again, evidence is tough to dredge up. A search of the NARAL site for “Gosnell” yields six results, all of which date to the past two weeks.

NARAL then demonstrated it put out several comments on April 12 and 15 and 23 – all about a month into the Gosnell trial, which began on March 19. She appeared on “Hardball” on April 23 (where Chris Matthews noticeably expressed more disgust at the lost babies than she did) and then on “Politics Nation” on April 29, where she felt more comfortable to dish the laughably ridiculous talking points about “The anti-choice extremists are the ones that keep the Gosnells in business. And we will just see more of it if they get their way.”

And: “I want more media scrutiny on this case because that`s the only way we are going to turn these anti-choice extremists' crocodile tears into policies that actually protect women, by not throwing up obstacles for them getting safe and legal abortion care.”

Wemple wrote: "All of those media spots, however, post-date the upheaval wrought by NewsBusters and [Kirsten] Powers — so they hardly constitute proof that NARAL was a pioneer in pushing for public attention to the Gosnell proceedings."

Then Wemple noted Hogue watered down the claim -- down, down, down -- to “I was the first leader of a national pro-choice organization to speak out as the case went to trial.” Almost a month later? When a kook shoots an abortionist, pro-life leaders are drummed into condemning it by liberal reporters within about three hours. The idea that NARAL's boss wants a medal for taking almost a month to speak out shows you the media's allergy to the Gosnell case.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis