AP's 'Big Stories' About Gosnell Don't Use 'Abortion' Keyword Tag

In online journalism, blogs and related endeavors, a "tag" is a " keyword or term" which "helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching." At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, it appears that "tag" has been redefined as "a keyword or term selectively used to ensure that only certain items will come in in future searches."

Let's take a look at the "Big Story" report posted at the AP's national site on March 19 relating to the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. In that story by Maryclaire Dale, who is still on the story even after proving on March 25 that she has no business being there as an objective observer when she described Gosnell as "an elegant man" who "smiled softly" in court, the wire service applied the following tags:


North America, United States, General news, Crime, Legal proceedings, Law and order, Violent crime, Homicide, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Health, Asia, South Asia, Women's health, Infanticide, Kermit Gosnell, Bhutan

"Bhutan" is one of the tags applied because one of Gosnell's alleged victims (not mentioned in this particular story) is from that south Asian country.

But what tag is missing? A-A-A- ... "abortion" -- even though the word is even in the article's title ("Worker admits cutting 10 babies at abortion clinic").

Well, maybe AP has decided never to use "abortion" as a tag for reasons of political correctness. That would be pretty bad, but that's not the explanation.

The AP does employ "abortion" as a tag. But from all appearances, it just hasn't applied it to any of its stories about Gosnell. Instead, it has reserved the tag for its "Big Stories" identified here and here by using the tag's URL (http://bigstory.ap.org/tags/abortion).

What do these roughly 50 stories going back to June of last year have in common?

Well, for starters, none of them are about abortion-related crimes or abortion clinics, except one: A positive story about how "A new clinic offering abortions and other women's medical services saw its first patient Thursday in the Wichita building where a slain Kansas abortion provider had practiced." That "provider," George Tiller, was killed in 2009 by a disturbed man who had no involvement with the mainstream prolife movement.

The stories on legislative developments getting the "abortion" tag are overwhelmingly about efforts to curb the practice and to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood.

The stories relating to political campaigns are about the contrasting positions of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.

That basically leaves two stories about death of C. Everett Koop, whom the AP's Wilson Ring and Connie Cass admired because he allegedly "surprised both ends of the political spectrum by setting aside his conservative personal views on issues such as homosexuality and abortion to keep his focus sharply medical."

AP has not applied the "abortion" tag to any of its 19 "Big Story items" (11 articles and 8 photo captions) about Kermit Gosnell.

Thus, anyone who attempts to do a tag search on the AP's web site looking for uses of "abortion" won't see anything about Gosnell -- but they'll see all kinds of reports about how mean social conservatives, supposedly backward states, and GOP presidential candidates are trying to curb "reproductive rights."

If there's an explanation for this practice other than to deliberately minimize readers' potential exposure to the horrific practitioners, practices, and procedures in the abortion industry as it really operates, I can't imagine what it would be.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.