Shocking Photo Shows Empty Media Benches at Kermit Gosnell Trial

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 12, 2013   |   1:09PM   |   Washington, DC

A shocking photo of empty benches at the trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell is making the rounds today and it exemplifies the lack of media coverage and attention to the case.

The photo was featured on the religion blog Pathoes, which decried the lack of coverage and focus on the trial outside the pro-life and conservative communities. Mollie Hemingway summed up the lack of media attention this way:

I’ve been writing about media coverage of abortion for many years. And so have many others. If you haven’t read David Shaw’s “Abortion Bias Seeps Into The News,” published in the Los Angeles Times back in 1990, you should. That report also explains why we cover the topic here at GetReligion.

But the thing is that I’m getting kind of sick of pointing out egregious bias only to see things not just remain bad but get worse. Just think, in the last year, we saw the media drop any pretense of objectivity and bully the Susan G. Komen Foundation into funding Planned Parenthood. And then we had how many months of coverage focused on someone calling a birth control activist a bad name? And who can forget every pro-life person in the country being asked to respond to Todd Akin’s stupid remarks about rape?

So our abortion-drenched media would certainly want to cover what is arguably the country’s most horrific serial murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, right? Well, far from the front-page, top of the news, daily update coverage you rightfully would expect, it’s been downplayed. Majorly downplayed.

Inspired by Kirsten Powers’ USA Today column yesterday, I decided to start asking journalists about their personal involvement in the Gosnell cover-up.

I began by asking the AP’s national social issues reporter why he hadn’t been tweeting to AP coverage of the Gosnell trial. I had to ask a few times and then … there it was … finally …. a tweet on the Gosnell trial. Then he told me that the AP was covering the trial (which I knew, as I’ve critiqued it here). I reminded him that I was wondering why he hadn’t been tweeting to coverage of Gosnell. I asked him to correct me if I was wrong about his lack of tweets. He didn’t.

Then I decided, since tmatt has me reading the Washington Post every day, to look at how the paper’s health policy reporter was covering Gosnell. I have critiqued many of her stories on the Susan G. Komen Foundation (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Sandra Fluke controversy (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Todd Akin controversy (you know where this is going). In fact, a site search for that reporter — who is named Sarah Kliff — and stories Akin and Fluke and Komen — yields more than 80 hits. Guess how many stories she’s done on this abortionist’s mass murder trial.

Did you guess zero? You’d be right.

Casey Mattox, an attorney with the pro-life legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, also noticed the empty benches and responded.

“Like many, I’m both not surprised and disgusted by the fact that the bulk of the media continues to ignore the multiple murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of killing a Nepalese immigrant and at least seven infants, born alive and grotesquely murdered with scissors,” he said. “Gosnell’s employees have testified that the babies screamed and flinched when Gosnell and his team snipped their spines to brutally and painfully end their minutes-old lives. Yet, the media deems this not newsworthy. While the first, and perhaps more likely rationale, is that this is exhibit 108 in the ongoing public trial of the media’s integrity on the abortion issue, perhaps there’s another answer. Dog bites man.”

He added: “Perhaps the media realizes that Gosnell’s house of horrors is much closer to the reality of abortion than Planned Parenthood’s pink, proud, empowerment façade. A young woman named Tonya Reaves died from a hemorrhage last year in a Chicago Planned Parenthood. Jennifer Morbelli became the second (known) adult victim of perhaps the most well-known abortionist in America, Leroy Carhart, when she died in Germantown, Maryland in February. I could go on. But aside from the women who die in abortion facilities, investigations of Virginia clinics by government inspectors on announced visits have also demonstrated unsafe and unsanitary conditions that most of us would not tolerate in our dentist’s office. Dried blood on tables and instruments, pieces of aborted babies dried to the bottom of freezers, staff that failed to wash their hands. And this week, Wilmington, Delaware Planned Parenthood nurses left their jobs and exposed dangerous conditions at their facility, describing a “meat market style of assembly-line abortions” [that] left bloody drainage on the operating tables as patients were rushed in and out of the room.”



Mattox concluded: “The media may not talk much about these stories, but they know about them. Perhaps the reason why they aren’t covering Gosnell is that, unlike the rest of the country that would still be shocked by Gosnell’s crimes, maybe the media that covers abortion knows enough about the abortion industry to know that Gosnell isn’t that much of an outlier. And what is common isn’t news. Dog bites man. Abortionist is unethical, disgusting, and dangerous. Nothing to see here. Or maybe it’s just the bias.”