CBS Devotes Just 13 Seconds to Gosnell Trial; ABC, NBC Ignore It

National   |   Matthew Balan   |   Apr 25, 2013   |   10:38AM   |   Philadelphia, PA

For the first time in over a week, CBS covered the murder trial of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Wednesday’s CBS This Morning. But instead of a full report, as on April 15, Norah O’Donnell read a news brief that lasted just 13 seconds on the trial judge dismissing three of the murder charges against the Philadelphia physician .

ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today on Wednesday failed to cover this noteworthy development in the case. Neither broadcast network has aired one second of reporting on the Gosnell trial on their morning and evening newscasts.

Dan Stamm and Maryclaire Dale of NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, WCAU, reported on Tuesday that the doctor’s attorney, Jack McMahon, “was able to convince the judge to drop three first-degree murder charges against Gosnell.” On Wednesday, Dale noted in a follow-up report that “Judge Jeffrey Minehart had ruled…that prosecutors over the past month failed to make a case on three of the seven first-degree murder counts, involving aborted babies known as Baby B, Baby C and Baby G. On Wednesday, Minehart clarified that he did not intend to dismiss charges related to Baby C, which former employee Lynda Williams admits killing after it was alive for 20 minutes.”

NBC has reported on the Gosnell case online, but has yet to give any on-air news briefs or full reports, despite the gruesome details of this case that have emerged since the grand jury issued its report in 2011. Conservative commentator Peggy Noonan actually broke through NBC’s blackout on the case on the March 31, 2013 episode of Meet the Press.

Today anchor Savannah Guthrie also asked President Obama if he had been “watching the Gosnell trial” on April 17, 2013, and wondered if “it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country”. But neither mention of the case from Noonan and Guthrie has led to any actual reporting on the case from NBC.

On Monday, the MRC’s Matt Philbin documented that in the month-plus since the Gosnell trial began, the Big Three networks’ newscasts have covered celebrity news items such as actor Dick Van Dyke’s bizarre head throb and West Wing star Alan Alda teaching acting to scientists, while all but ignoring the proceedings against the accused murderer.



The transcript of Norah O’Donnell’s news brief from Wednesday’s CBS This Morning:

NORAH O’DONNELL: The Philadelphia Inquirer says the judge in the trial of abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell has dismissed three of seven murder counts. The judge has not stated why. Gosnell is accused of killing babies born alive, and the remaining counts will go to the jury. Note: Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 2003, and worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2006, and for Human Life International in 2006. This post originally appeared at MRC’s NewsBusters web site and is reprinted with permission.