New York Times Finally Assigns Reporter to Gosnell Abortion Trial

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2013   |   1:45PM   |   Washington, DC

The public editor for the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, writes on her blog that there is no “vast left-wing media conspiracy” concerning the de facto ban on coverage of the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell in the mainstream media.

Until last week, when the pro-life movement was successful inputting enough pressure on the media to cover the trial, most mainstream media outlets had virtually ignored it.

As Sullivan wrote:

I don’t think that editors and reporters got together and decided not to give the Gosnell trial a lot of attention because it would highlight the evils of abortion.

I do think that it wasn’t on their radar screen – and that it should have been. The murders of seven newborn babies, done so horrifically, would be no ordinary crime. Any suggestion, including mine on Friday, that this is just another murder trial is a miscalculation.

Judged on news value alone, the Gosnell trial deserves more coverage than it’s had, in The Times and elsewhere.

Those who have called for more attention to this grisly and disturbing trial are right. But some of them — because of their accusations of politics overcoming news judgment – are right for the wrong reasons.

Sullivan admitted that, since 2011, the New York Times itself only ran “three full-length pieces and a number of shorter ones” on Gosnell.

She also indicated the Time would finally send a reporter to the trial.

The national editor Sam Sifton told me on Friday that further coverage was very likely. On Monday, Mr. Sifton told me, the reporter Trip Gabriel of The Times is at the trial.

“We’re monitoring it, and I expect we’ll have something,” Mr. Sifton told me.



Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, says the media is late to an important story. He referenced the shocking photo of empty media benches at the first month of the trial.

“Anyone who looked over at the rows of empty seats would have thought the trial hadn’t begun. The media section of the courtroom, a full four benches of reserved space, was vacant. To most pro-lifers, it’s a picture worth a thousand words–words, unfortunately, that the press refuses to use to tell the gruesome tale of accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnel,” he says.