Although the bombing of the Boston Marathon rightfully commanded much of the media's attention last week, the Big Three broadcast networks still found time for a host of superficial and inconsequential "news" stories while continuing to censor the horrific details of abortionist Kermit Gosnell's murder trial in Philadelphia. For example, ABC's Diane Sawyer devoted 32 seconds on the April 18 World News to Superman's 75th birthday while NBC's Brian Williams took time on the same night's edition of Nightly News to report that octogenarian actor Dick Van Dyke gets headaches when he lies down.
Even after one of the most gruesome details of Gosnell’s alleged crimes emerged last week – a baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out” – the broadcast networks’ deafening silence continues. NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell released the following statement about this censorship this morning:
When it comes to the trial of abortionist doctor Kermit Gosnell, the media play a “now you see me, now you don't” game.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced of big media names rushing in to finally cover the Gosnell case. Yet, besides the Media Research Center, an average of only 12 – 15 reporters appeared in the courtroom at a time on Wednesday, April 17. While a few outlets like The Washington Post have started covering the trial, there has been no sea change in the major media. CBS did one story on April 15 and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Obama a question about Gosnell later in the week. That’s all.
Yesterday 72 congressmen sent letters to the executives at the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC expressing that they were "profoundly appalled" at the broadcast networks censoring the Kermit Gosnell murder trial and the official testimony by a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida opposing a law to stiffen criminal penalties on abortionists who fail to provide medical care to babies who survive abortion attempts.
Under pressure from pro-life websites and writers, several national news outlets have reluctantly began covering the trial of ghastly abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Beyond that, a handful of liberal media figures are finally beginning to ask the important question of why such a sensational trial--if it bleeds, it supposedly leads--received almost no attention whatsoever in the national press.
In a scathing piece, Washington Post blogger Melinda Henneberger, a rare pro-life liberal journalist, rounds up some excuses from her colleagues about why they think the media ignored the Gosnell case. One of her co-workers responded that the story of the abortionist’s alleged crimes seemed more of a local news story than a national one. Of course, local crime stories such as the disappearance of Natalee Holloway or the case against Andrea Yates, are routinely covered by nationwide news outlets.
As Newsbusters has detailed again and again, coverage by dominant news organizations of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial has been almost non-existent. Taxpayer-subsidized public radio is no exception, even after the issue of non-coverage gained widespread attention last week.
As the fifth week of the Gosnell trial continues (it opened March 18), NPR still has not devoted a single piece to the topic of the trial. It did briefly reference the trial once--in a story about Pennsylvania abortion clinic regulations that resulted from what authorities found in Gosnell's clinic during a raid. On March 28, NPR's afternoon news magazine All Things Considered gave only 19 seconds out of 4 1/2 minutes to reporting on the Gosnell trial. In sharp contrast, the piece's author, Jeff Brady, NPR's Philadelphia-based National Desk Correspondent, gave five times the amount to time to detailing the "expensive" hardships Pennsylvania abortion clinics now have to endure. The story left out entirely the details of the horrendous charges against Gosnell.
"[I]n the end, Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors exposed more than the grim reality of late-term abortion. It also revealed what happens when journalists act as though 'sacred cows' are more important to us than our sacred duty to follow the story wherever it leads, irrespective of how uncomfortable it makes us -- and regardless of the political fallout. Even in these polarized times, I hope this lesson will endure."
That is how Real Clear Politics Washington editor Carl M. Cannon concluded his April 17article "Abortion: Journalism's Most Sacred Cow." Cannon began his piece with a personal story about his experience at the San Diego Union-Tribune when his liberal colleagues protested their publisher who, as a devout Catholic was pro-life and thereby refused to run an advertisement for a local Planned Parenthood clinic. As Cannon explains, his colleagues cloaked their complaints in terms of a journalist's aversion to censorship, but as Cannon says he came to discover, it is the liberal media that regularly censors the grisly, bloody reality of abortion (emphasis mine; h/t my colleague Matt Hadro):
While for five weeks NBC News completely censored any mention of the Gosnell abortion trial from its airwaves, in an interview with President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on Wednesday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Have you been watching the Gosnell trial? It's a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of gruesome crimes. Are you following it and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The President certainly wasn't "watching" the case on NBC, it was the first time viewers of the network heard anything about the ongoing trial.
The trial of notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell -- as close to a demonic presence as anything this country will ever see -- was almost a month old when the network blackout finally ended. CNN broke its silence, as did CBS. National newspapers sent reporters to the trial for the first time.
They started covering it only because of a national outrage that they would so deliberately withhold this horror story from the public -- for political reasons.
Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry (R) had some harsh words for the media blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial in his state.
Appearing on NewsMaxTV's Steve Malzberg Show Tuesday, Perry said, "This is what we’ve come to. We can’t discuss the murder of grown women and babies in our country" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A mere month after the trial began, the New York Times has, under pressure, sent a reporter to Philadelphia to cover the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell on charges of mass infanticide.
Trip Gabriel did indeed file from Philadelphia on Tuesday, "Online Furor Draws Press to Abortion Doctor's Trial." But his location was mostly irrelevant, as he only pinned two and a half paragraphs from what happened in court on Monday to the end of his report. Most of the story was a recap of the trial's "grisly details," accusations from "conservatives" that the media was ignoring the story, and defenses from unlabeled liberal media "experts" denying a coverup.
Kermit Gosnell is the late-term abortion doctor in Philadelphia, on trial for infanticide in the gruesome killing of seven babies. The day after his trial began March 18 (as Tom Blumer noted at Newsbusters) Jon Hurdle at the New York Times opened by telling readers that "In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor who operated a women’s health clinic here killed seven viable fetuses..."
Fetuses? The Times more accurately described it in a January 2011 brief, when Gosnell was first charged with murder:
CBS finally ended their on-air coverage blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial on Monday's CBS This Morning, airing two segments on the story a month after opening arguments began. Jan Crawford acknowledged that the Gosnell case "has received little national news coverage". Meanwhile, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts continued to ignore the ongoing legal proceedings against the abortionist.
Crawford pointed out how conservatives "accused the media of ignoring the story because what it called a bias in favor of abortion rights", and how those "charges went viral on Twitter". She even played a sound bite from a former attorney for the murder suspect who questioned the national news media's lack of coverage of the trial: "A case involving a medical doctor charged with eight counts of murder would seem to me that just that fact pattern would make national news" [audio available here; video below the jump].