WaPo's Sarah Kliff Defends Gosnell Blackout: 'I Cover Policy for the Washington Post, Not Local Crime'

April 12th, 2013 12:44 PM

The media's censoring of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial is appalling.  But why, exactly, are reporters failing to cover the Philadelphia abortionist's trial? Mollie Hemingway of the Patheos blog Get Religion thought she'd ask Washington Post staff writer Sarah Kliff, who responded via Twitter that she isn’t writing about it because she “cover[s] policy for the Washington Post, not local crime."

That, of course, is a patently ludicrous excuse.  In an April 12 blog post, Hemingway aptly noted that local crimes are often used to give context to a larger issue in public policy.  The Trayvon Martin shooting sparked a debate about Stand Your Ground Laws.  The murder of Matthew Shepard launched a debate around hate crimes, and awareness of bigotry against gays.  And as for the most recent case of a local crime story gone national, a day after the Newtown shooting, Kliff penned a piece asking, “What would ‘meaningful action’ on gun control look like?” The bottom line is that the Gosnell trial illustrates just how poorly regulated many inner-city abortion clinics are and how that lack of regulation can allow horror stories like Gosnell to happen.

But alas, Kliff is not interested in covering stories that cut against the preferred liberal media narrative on abortion and abortion regulation. Indeed, she has a history of favorable coverage of abortionists.  For example, in August 2008, she wrote a profile piece for the now-defunct magazine Newsweek about Dr. Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska abortionist -- hmm, sounds like a local story to me -- notorious for inducing the termination of late-term pregnancies with tragic results. 

A few years ago, Carhart took his show on the road with a new clinic in Germantown, Md., from which he practices part-time.  One of his clients, the late Jennifer Morbelli, died earlier this year after complications from a Carhart abortion. Of course, Kliff didn't care to cover it, her collegue Dan Morse did.

In the Newsweek piece, Kliff insisted that “past viability, no doctor will terminate a pregnancy without a compelling reason."  Well, that’s patently false. David Pierre, who wrote about this piece in NewBusters in 2009, mentions, “Kliff fails to note that late-term abortionists themselves have admitted that almost all late abortions are purely elective.”

On another occasion, Kliff had a rather morbid curiosity concerning Angie Jackson, a woman who live tweeted her abortion in 2010.  Brent Bozell wrote that Kliff, who was at Newsweek at the time:

[P]roclaimed: "One hundred thousand people have watched Angie Jackson's abortion. Late last month, Jackson posted a video of herself to YouTube, recorded after she took RU-486, a medication used to end pregnancies." Kliff asked only "why shame remains" about the act of killing one’s baby. Jackson was honored for her courage in "demystifying" and "destigmatizing" the procedure: "We need 10,000 more of her," proclaimed Peg Johnston, chair of something called the Abortion Care Network. This desire for 10,000 more unashamed abortions is what "pro-choice" is all about.

Kliff clearly has the abortion bug.  Why not cover Gosnell?  Maybe it’s because he puts the entire pro-choice movement to shame with his snipping of spinal cords after the babies are born, and keeping their feet preserved in jars, among other haunted house-like horrors that are sadly all too real.  Additionally, there's the bit about the numerous oversight lapses that led to Gosnell being able to continue his work.  How is the failure of the Pennsylvania's Department of Health to enforce its own code, and stopping all abortion clinic inspections altogether after 1993, not newsworthy?  Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic mentioned this aspect today.  Moreover, how is that not related to a larger discussion about PA's health policy?

Perhaps, Kliff, and other pro-abortion sympathizers, don’t want to talk report on it because they’ll be asked if they support Gosnell, his methods, and post-birth abortion, of which they probably do.  If not, prove to those who are covering this story wrong.  Get to work!

(H/T Mollie Hemingway / Patheos)