Why is the Kermit Gosnell Abortion Trial Not on Every News Show?

Opinion   |   Dave Andursko   |   Apr 12, 2013   |   5:28PM   |   Washington, DC

“[Lynda] Williams testified in a flat, emotionless voice and at times seemed catatonic, taking several seconds before reacting to questions.

“One of her duties, Williams said, was to retrieve fetuses women would sometimes spontaneously abort i n the waiting room after getting large doses of drugs to dilate the cervix.” – From a story in Wednesday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Gosnell aide describes abortions as ‘routine procedure,’” by Joseph A. Slobodzian.

It’s does not exactly constitute a deluge but there has been a trickle of  information coming out thanks to a few cracks in the media wall which has served to keep the public in the dark about the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. The latest two examples were columns by Dan Gainor at Fox News and Kirsten Powers in USA Today.

Both columns hone in on the absence of network coverage of Gosnell while at the same time the networks could not spend enough time and resources on a basketball scandal which, while repulsive, is hardly in the same ball park as the alleged murder of viable unborn babies and the death of a 41-year-old woman caused by way too much pain medication.

Both develop the idea that if you combine the newsworthiness of the trial; the sensational charges against Gosnell—that he delivered seven viable unborn babies alive and then murdered them by slicing their spinal cords; and the media’s habitual fascination with murder trials, then Gosnell’s trial should be (in Powers’ words) “on every news show and front page.”

The media has been virtually silent about “Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure,” Powers writes indignantly. The testimony of former Gosnell employees about “what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.”

That statement ought to give us reason to pause. Sure, the pro-abortion, let’s-keep-abortion’s-ugliness-hidden bias is a major reason for the near blackout. But there’s more to it than that.

If the New York Times and the Washington Post and ABC/NBC/CBS (and many of the cable networks as well) covered the Gosnell the way they do so many bizarre murder cases, the result would not just be that the public would learn that abortion is legal but neither safe nor rare ; or that the abortion industry attracts the worst kind of people; or that killing thousands of babies coarsens the soul.

To give the Gosnell trial the coverage it deserves would—or at least could—force a one-on-one confrontation with their consciences.

Their self-understanding is that of progressive/liberals with a preferable option for the underdog and the powerless.

Who could be more powerless than children prematurely expelled and  then brutally murdered? And what about the women Gosnell aborted who were, according to the Grand Jury report, typically poor women of color often drugged into a stupored compliance. And that doesn’t even address what was behind Gosnell hiring women with histories of drug and mental health issues, paying them paltry sums and not uncommonly under the table.

And if they covered the murder trial, they would come face to face with the final indignity for the women who delivered viable babies. According to the Grand Jury report



“Very often, the patient delivered without Gosnell being present. Lewis testified that one or two babies fell out of patients each night. They dropped out on lounge chairs, on the floor, and often in the toilet. If the doctor was not there, it was not unusual for no one to tend to the mother or the baby.”

Once these media titans made the decision—and it was, of course, a conscious decision—to pretty much pretend it didn’t happen, we could expect that they would dig in their heels in. Occasionally hammered for their blatant failure to fulfill their journalistic obligations was a small price to be able to bury their heads in the sand.

Better than the babies. Their bodies were burned like refuse.