When it comes to the trial of abortionist doctor Kermit Gosnell, the media play a “now you see me, now you don't” game.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced of big media names rushing in to finally cover the Gosnell case. Yet, besides the Media Research Center, an average of only 12 – 15 reporters appeared in the courtroom at a time on Wednesday, April 17. While a few outlets like The Washington Post have started covering the trial, there has been no sea change in the major media. CBS did one story on April 15 and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Obama a question about Gosnell later in the week. That’s all.
Yesterday 72 congressmen sent letters to the executives at the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC expressing that they were "profoundly appalled" at the broadcast networks censoring the Kermit Gosnell murder trial and the official testimony by a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida opposing a law to stiffen criminal penalties on abortionists who fail to provide medical care to babies who survive abortion attempts.
The effort was organized by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) and joined by 70 of their colleagues. You can read more at Blackburn's official House.gov website here. [Update: Only one Democratic congressman, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, joined in on the letter.]
As NewsBusters colleague Kyle Drennan reported today, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked if President Obama was following the Gosnell case, or NBC’s reporting of it. He dodged the question, but at least NBC acknowledges that a case is actually going on in Philadelphia. The president answered:
Well, I'm familiar with it. I can't comment on it because it's an active trial. What I can say is this. I think President Clinton said it pretty well when he said abortion should be safe, legal and rare. If an individual carrying out an abortion, operating a clinic or doing anything else, is violating medical ethics, violating the law, then they should be prosecuted.
Guthrie failed to ask any follow ups on this, but a sharp reporter might have shot back that “safe, legal, and rare” was language that was actually excised from the Democratic Party platform in Charlotte last year. The platform committee was, of course, stacked with Obama acolytes and included Nancy Kennan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Under pressure from pro-life websites and writers, several national news outlets have reluctantly began covering the trial of ghastly abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Beyond that, a handful of liberal media figures are finally beginning to ask the important question of why such a sensational trial--if it bleeds, it supposedly leads--received almost no attention whatsoever in the national press.
In a scathing piece, Washington Post blogger Melinda Henneberger, a rare pro-life liberal journalist, rounds up some excuses from her colleagues about why they think the media ignored the Gosnell case. One of her co-workers responded that the story of the abortionist’s alleged crimes seemed more of a local news story than a national one. Of course, local crime stories such as the disappearance of Natalee Holloway or the case against Andrea Yates, are routinely covered by nationwide news outlets.
As Newsbusters has detailed again and again, coverage by dominant news organizations of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial has been almost non-existent. Taxpayer-subsidized public radio is no exception, even after the issue of non-coverage gained widespread attention last week.
As the fifth week of the Gosnell trial continues (it opened March 18), NPR still has not devoted a single piece to the topic of the trial. It did briefly reference the trial once--in a story about Pennsylvania abortion clinic regulations that resulted from what authorities found in Gosnell's clinic during a raid. On March 28, NPR's afternoon news magazine All Things Considered gave only 19 seconds out of 4 1/2 minutes to reporting on the Gosnell trial. In sharp contrast, the piece's author, Jeff Brady, NPR's Philadelphia-based National Desk Correspondent, gave five times the amount to time to detailing the "expensive" hardships Pennsylvania abortion clinics now have to endure. The story left out entirely the details of the horrendous charges against Gosnell.
"[I]n the end, Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors exposed more than the grim reality of late-term abortion. It also revealed what happens when journalists act as though 'sacred cows' are more important to us than our sacred duty to follow the story wherever it leads, irrespective of how uncomfortable it makes us -- and regardless of the political fallout. Even in these polarized times, I hope this lesson will endure."
That is how Real Clear Politics Washington editor Carl M. Cannon concluded his April 17article "Abortion: Journalism's Most Sacred Cow." Cannon began his piece with a personal story about his experience at the San Diego Union-Tribune when his liberal colleagues protested their publisher who, as a devout Catholic was pro-life and thereby refused to run an advertisement for a local Planned Parenthood clinic. As Cannon explains, his colleagues cloaked their complaints in terms of a journalist's aversion to censorship, but as Cannon says he came to discover, it is the liberal media that regularly censors the grisly, bloody reality of abortion (emphasis mine; h/t my colleague Matt Hadro):
While for five weeks NBC News completely censored any mention of the Gosnell abortion trial from its airwaves, in an interview with President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on Wednesday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Have you been watching the Gosnell trial? It's a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of gruesome crimes. Are you following it and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The President certainly wasn't "watching" the case on NBC, it was the first time viewers of the network heard anything about the ongoing trial.
The trial of notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell -- as close to a demonic presence as anything this country will ever see -- was almost a month old when the network blackout finally ended. CNN broke its silence, as did CBS. National newspapers sent reporters to the trial for the first time.
They started covering it only because of a national outrage that they would so deliberately withhold this horror story from the public -- for political reasons.
Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry (R) had some harsh words for the media blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial in his state.
Appearing on NewsMaxTV's Steve Malzberg Show Tuesday, Perry said, "This is what we’ve come to. We can’t discuss the murder of grown women and babies in our country" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As we've noted, the liberal media generally and the Big Three broadcast networks in particular have studiously avoided paying attention to the Kermit Gosnell murder trial. The Philadelphia abortionist is charged with murdering newborns who survived abortion attempts and were born alive.
But aside from the criminal aspect of the case, there's other angle in the Gosnell matter that is of interest to political observers of the 2014 election cycle, particularly the Pennsylvania governor's race. One of the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), who operated an abortion clinic from 1975-1988. J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier News has some great, incisive questions for Schwartz connected to the Gosnell matter, particularly whether Schwartz ever referred any patients to Gosnell. Her clinic stopped performing abortions in 1984, but continued with issuing referrals to other clinics. Schwartz has been curiously silent on the issue, and larger media outlets seem to be silent as well, failing to ask her if she ever referred women to Gosnell, for example.
A mere month after the trial began, the New York Times has, under pressure, sent a reporter to Philadelphia to cover the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell on charges of mass infanticide.
Trip Gabriel did indeed file from Philadelphia on Tuesday, "Online Furor Draws Press to Abortion Doctor's Trial." But his location was mostly irrelevant, as he only pinned two and a half paragraphs from what happened in court on Monday to the end of his report. Most of the story was a recap of the trial's "grisly details," accusations from "conservatives" that the media was ignoring the story, and defenses from unlabeled liberal media "experts" denying a coverup.
Kermit Gosnell is the late-term abortion doctor in Philadelphia, on trial for infanticide in the gruesome killing of seven babies. The day after his trial began March 18 (as Tom Blumer noted at Newsbusters) Jon Hurdle at the New York Times opened by telling readers that "In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor who operated a women’s health clinic here killed seven viable fetuses..."
Fetuses? The Times more accurately described it in a January 2011 brief, when Gosnell was first charged with murder:
CBS finally ended their on-air coverage blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial on Monday's CBS This Morning, airing two segments on the story a month after opening arguments began. Jan Crawford acknowledged that the Gosnell case "has received little national news coverage". Meanwhile, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts continued to ignore the ongoing legal proceedings against the abortionist.
Crawford pointed out how conservatives "accused the media of ignoring the story because what it called a bias in favor of abortion rights", and how those "charges went viral on Twitter". She even played a sound bite from a former attorney for the murder suspect who questioned the national news media's lack of coverage of the trial: "A case involving a medical doctor charged with eight counts of murder would seem to me that just that fact pattern would make national news" [audio available here; video below the jump].
Update: On its First Read blog Monday morning, NBCNews.com claims "Gosnell case gets more and more attention."
While NBC News continued to ignore the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell on its airwaves, an NBCNews.com article posted Saturday made brief mention of the media blackout: "Conservative bloggers, including at RedState and National Review, have lashed out this week at national media organizations for not paying enough attention to the gruesome trial of a Philadelphia abortion provider accused of killing seven late-term fetuses after they were born alive."
Careful to use the term "fetuses," rather than "infants" or "children," staff writer Erin McClam did not address the validity of the criticism or acknowledge the fact that her network has refused to give any air time to the trial.
Credit Joe Scarborough not just for devoting a significant Morning Joe segment to the Gosnell abortion-murder trial today--but for declaring that he will have a reporter covering the trial--Joe Slobodzian of the Philadelphia Inquirer--back again tomorrow and throughout the week.
Ed Rendell—who was governor of Pennsylvania from 2003-10 while many of the horrors unfolded and the clinic went uninspected—was on today's Morning Joe panel. Scarborough questioned Rendell as to how this could have happened on his watch. Rendell claimed he knew nothing of the goings-on in the abortion clinic, that it was a question of bureaucratic bungling, and that he came under no pressure from abortion advocates to look the other way. View the video after the jump.
Many media observers were wondering if CNN's Howard Kurtz was going to expose on his Reliable Sources program Sunday the press's horrible coverage of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial.
As fate would have it, Kurtz's reporting was just as pathetic as virtually everyone else's to date giving the matter a total of 90 seconds while sharing bogus statistics including the truly preposterous claim, "The conservative media didn't do much either" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
One would expect that everyone associated with an outlet which characterizes itself as the be-all, end-all of online encyclopedias would be on board to make sure there is space for an entry on the person who may, when all is said and done, be shown to have been among the worst, if not the worst, mass murderers in U.S. history -- and maybe, if ABC's Terry Moran is correct, "the most successful serial killer in the history of the world."
Nope. It appears that earlier this week, an editor at Wikipedia proposed deleting an already-existing entry on Kermit Gosnell because, according to the relevant "Articles for deletion" page at the site, "His case has not received national attention. It is a local multiple-murder story in Pennsylvania, nothing more." As outrageous as this suggestion was, it should be noted that all but one of several dozen responses to the suggestion advocated keeping the entry. Excerpts from the Daily Caller's coverage follow the jump.
When the grand jury report in the Kermit Gosnell trial was released yesterday, one would think that the media would have as the primary takeaway the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's documentation of the numerous atrocities committed in this house of horrors. Yet, for the Associated Press, the real victims seemed to be Gosnell's employees, those poor folks who had no job prospects than infanticide.
Of the eight co-workers charged in the aftermath of Gosnell’s arrest, three have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Nonetheless, they all say that they were just doing what they were instructed to do, simply following orders. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted yesterday about MaryClaire Dale of AP, and her April 12 story that lamented how these workers had “few options” for employment:
In the paper's only story relating to the trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell on March 19 on Page A17, Jon Hurdle at the New York Times opened (HT Twitchy.com) by telling readers that "In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor who operated a women’s health clinic here killed seven viable fetuses ..." -- not already-born infants.
On April 12, while attempting to defend the establishment press's general failure to cover the Gosnell trial ("Why Are the Media Apologizing About Kermit Gosnell Coverage?"), Josh Dzieza at the Daily Beast wrote that "Gosnell is accused of providing late-term abortions by inducing labor and then severing the fetus’ spinal cord with scissors." Uh, Josh, at that point anyone should concede that we're talking about a b-b-b-b ... baby. Gosh, even the obviously proabort Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, concedes that.
One of the more bizarre memes propagated by the proabort left about the trial of Kermit Gosnell, who "faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants," is that Fox News has been almost as negligent in covering the story and the trial as the Big Three broadcast networks, and that conservative media in general have also mostly ignored the story.
Through Monday evening, April 8, the Media Research Center's Matt Philbin noted that Gosnell's trial "has received exactly zero seconds of airtime on the broadcast networks." In a pathetic attempt at a response on Friday, Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald and several others are trying to claim that "conservative" outlets have also virtually ignored the trial. Seitz-Wald's own text shows that his argument is weak, as seen in excerpts following the jump.
Following up on two previous posts (here and here at NewsBusters; here and here at BizzyBlog) -- The Associated Press has, as of early this evening, failed to use its "abortion" tag in all but one of its 23 "Big Story" items (14 articles and 9 photos) relating to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia late term abortionist who "faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants."
In the over 50 other instances where it has used the "abortion" tag, the topics involved were the 2012 presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, state and worldwide efforts to either restrict or expand the practice, and, in one stunning example, 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." The slain abortionist, George Tiller, was murdered by a disturbed man who had no involvement with the prolife movement. The AP does have two other abortion-related tags that it has inconsistently applied to Gosnell's "Big Story" articles. Those tags are "abortion controversy" and (I'm not kidding) "reproductive rights."
On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog, I noted that the Associated Press had, up to that point, failed to apply its "abortion" tag to any of its 19 "Big Story" items (11 reports and 8 photo captions) on Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia late-term abortionist who, as Life News usefully reminded us yesterday, is current being tried and "faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants."
Well, it may just be a weird coincidence, but on Thursday, in a story ("RECEPTIONIST: UNLICENSED DOC FLED PA. CLINIC RAID") by Maryclaire Daly, who on March 25 infamously described Gosnell as "an elegant man who ... smiled softly" in court, the self-described Essential Global News Network finally used its "abortion" tag in connection with Gosnell. As a public service, since it seems unlikely that AP will go back and apply the tag to the previous stories with its "kermit gosnell" tag, yours truly is listing them after the jump, in the hope that future searchers for information on "abortion" and "crime" will have a better chance of finding what the AP, up until Thursday, has preferred to keep relatively hidden:
In a USA Today column Thursday evening, liberal Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers took the establishment press to task for its failure to give more than cursory attention to the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Life News reminded its readers today that Gosnell "faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants." It excerpted an Associated Press story earlier today which may be a harbinger of a long overdue change in the amount and scope of trial coverage. We'll see.
If there's a change, it may partially be because of sharp criticisms leveled by Powers (links are in original; bolds are mine):
One of the most blatant and disgusting blackouts of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial occurred on MSNBC on April 11. Appearing on Jansing & Co. on Friday morning, former Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) appeared with Republican strategist Chip Saltsman to discuss changing trends in support for abortion, yet host Chris Jansing did not ask the former governor (and former Philadelphia mayor) about the murder trial for the notorious abortionist in his state.
Gosnell is currently on trial, charged with murdering seven babies and a female patient at his abortion clinic in Philadelphia. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Despite the horrific nature of the crimes Gosnell is accused of committing, including forcing women to endure labor and then deliver live babies that were killed by staff with scissors, the liberal media all but ignored the story altogether, although that may be changing with CNN's Anderson Cooper pledging to delve into the trial tonight.
"To put the Kermit Gosnell trial in perspective, consider other famous cases of child-killing. From Susan Smith to Andrea Yates, and most recently the horror of Newtown, we are accustomed to 24/7 news coverage of these types of tragedies," Wax noted in his April 12 post, , yet, "[n]ot so with Dr. Gosnell." You can read the full list here, but I thought reasons 5,6, 7 and 8, which I've excerpted below, are particularly spot on, especially as pertains to MSNBC, which was the leading standard bearer in the "war on women" meme and which is constantly playing the race card against conservatives:
The media's censoring of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial is appalling. But why, exactly, are reporters failing to cover the Philadelphia abortionist's trial? Mollie Hemingway of the Patheos blog Get Religion thought she'd ask Washington Post staff writer Sarah Kliff, who responded via Twitter that she isn’t writing about it because she “cover[s] policy for the Washington Post, not local crime."
That, of course, is a patently ludicrous excuse. In an April 12 blog post, Hemingway aptly noted that local crimes are often used to give context to a larger issue in public policy. The Trayvon Martin shooting sparked a debate about Stand Your Ground Laws. The murder of Matthew Shepard launched a debate around hate crimes, and awareness of bigotry against gays. And as for the most recent case of a local crime story gone national, a day after the Newtown shooting, Kliff penned a piece asking, “What would ‘meaningful action’ on gun control look like?” The bottom line is that the Gosnell trial illustrates just how poorly regulated many inner-city abortion clinics are and how that lack of regulation can allow horror stories like Gosnell to happen.
For decades, members of the left have insisted that the right is fighting a war on science. But when it comes to the issues of abortion and homosexuality, it is the left that fights a consistent and ridiculous war with reality.
This week, Wesley Smith of the Weekly Standard reported that California would be considering AB 460, a bill that would mandate group insurance coverage for so-called gay and lesbian "infertility." What in the world does that bizarre phrase mean? It doesn't mean situations in which two members of a lesbian couple are both infertile and incapable of conception using some third party's sperm.
Living in Chicago, I've observed press coverage up close on three of the most notorious mass murderers ever apprehended: Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and Richard Speck.
Speck tortured, raped, and murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966. Dahmer murdered 17 boys and men in the Milwaukee/Chicago area between 1978-1991, keeping and eating some of their body parts. Gacy raped and murdered at least 33 boys and men between 1972-1978, burying many in the crawl space of his Chicago suburban home.
In each case the press tripped over themselves to recount every morbid detail, anxious to feed the public's fascination with the macabre (click to enlarge)...
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: