Philly NPR Station on Dr. Gosnell: 'For 30 Years, Cared for Women in All of That Time'

One of NPR's top member stations, WHYY in Philadelphia, home of conservative-trashing "Fresh Air" host  Terry Gross, houses a large local news operation. That news operation includes the heavily taxpayer-subsidized Newsworks, which produces a daily 30-minute local newscast for WHYY, Newsworks Tonight.

On Friday’s Newsworks Tonight, Taunya English, health and science reporter for WHYY and Newsworks, actually said this of a man accused of snipping the spinal cords of babies born alive while joking about them, keeping gruesome souvenirs of the babies, and having women give birth to babies in toilets: “a physician who had worked in our community for 30 years, cared for women in all of that time." Contrast this with Newsworks’ headline about the hanging of an elephant 97 years ago in Tennessee: “Horrific case of animal cruelty basis for PIFA's 'Murderous Mary' play.”

Despite being based in the hometown of the Gosnell trial, over the six weeks of the trial, Newsworks Tonight has aired only 6 minutes out of a total 15 hours of airtime of Gosnell trial coverage (that comes out to a little over one half of 1% of airtime). English used her positive-sounding description of Gosnell in remarking that the abortionist's defense team didn't put one witness on the stand to defend Gosnell's character or competence.

WHYY’s Newsworks operation has received about $1 million in direct federal taxpayer funding in recent years. Does WHYY need that kind of taxpayer funding? One hint that it might not can be heard in its Friday Newsworks Tonight broadcast, where a subscription to Wine Spectator was offered to listeners as a donation incentive.

Excerpt from WHYY’s local news program Newsworks Tonight:

WHYY HOST DAVE HELLER: Taunya, there were several weeks of prosecution testimony. Describe the strategy of the defense team, which was markedly different.

WHYY/NEWSWORKS REPORTER TAUNYA ENGLISH: I don't think we'll really know why Gosnell--why we won't hear from the accused--I think as I was talking to other court watchers, that was not really surprising that Gosnell himself did not take the stand.  What did surprise some people is that this is a physician who had worked in our community for 30 years, cared for women in all of that time and we didn't hear from one character witness or one person who was put on the stand to say that he was a competent physician. The defense team it seems is really just trying to show that some of these children, and that's the term that the prosecutors use, were not actually born alive. There was some grisly testimony about whether a breath, or a leg movement, or a jerk of an arm really qualified as being born alive."


HELLER: Review how BOTH sides of the abortion issue are using this trial to their advantage.

ENGLISH: You know one of the things I think that will be continued to be talked about way after this trial is over is a statue that we have that some people call the Born Alive statue. Many people believe that anti-abortion activists helped get that erected in Pennsylvania... [but then nothing from English on how the other side is using the trial to their advantage.]

Editor's note: On her Twitter page, English has barely mentioned Gosnell, although she did proclaim "Crying babies make my uterus hurt." The tweet was about secondhand smoke.

Animal Rights Media Bias Debate Abortion NPR Pennsylvania WHYY NewsWorks Taunya English Kermit Gosnell

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