Finally, here’s a section of the Jolt that was heavily shaped by last night’s Twitter discussion of Kermit Gosnell coverage — or how rare that coverage is:
Why Is One of the Most Horrific Crimes in Recent Memory Getting Almost No Press Coverage?
If you need to get up to speed on the Kermit Gosnell story, here’s a good place to start.
A doctor whose abortion clinic was a filthy, foul-smelling “house of horrors” that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.
Hundreds of other babies likely died in the squalid clinic that Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran from 1979 to 2010, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a news conference.
“My comprehension of the English language can’t adequately describe the barbaric nature of Dr. Gosnell,” he added.
It’s utterly, utterly horrible; I won’t blame you if you can’t read that story any further.
However, you may be surprised at how little you’ve heard about this story so far. Seth Mandel lays out the utterly unforgivable decision-making on the part of the national media so far:
You may not have heard much about Gosnell’s case. That’s because the mainstream press has chosen by and large to ignore it. There is no area of American politics in which the press is more activist or biased or unethical than social issues, the so-called culture wars. And the culture of permissive abortion they favor has consequences, which they would rather not look squarely at, thank you very much. The liberal commentator Kirsten Powers has written a tremendous op-ed in USA Today on Gosnell and the media blackout. Powers writes of the gruesome admissions that Gosnell’s former employees are making in court, some of which amount to “literally a beheading” and other stomach-turning descriptions. On the media’s refusal to inform the public, Powers writes:
A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.
The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony . . .
You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.
The media should be ashamed beyond description for this behavior. The American left should come to terms with what it means to talk about a human life as if it were a parasite, or merely a clump of cells. And they should most certainly stop lecturing the rest of us on compassion, on pity, on social obligation, on morality.
The Washington Post health-policy reporter, Sarah Kliff explains to Mollie Hemingway, “I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.”
Except that a lot of “local crime” stories become national policy or politics issues, or at the very least get national coverage. Last night on Twitter I went on a tear: Trayvon Martin, the Cambridge police arresting Henry Louis Gates, O. J. Simpson, the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer, Casey Anthony, D. B. Cooper, Bernie Madoff, Son of Sam, JonBenet Ramsey, Andrea Yates, David Koresh & the Waco compound, Amy Fisher . . . Heck, all of the gun massacres that drive our periodic discussions of gun laws are technically “local crime” stories.
You can argue about the importance of all of the crime stories listed above, but the point is that a lot of “local crime stories” become big national stories. You’d think Doctor Baby-in-a-Blender would make the cut.
Josh Greenman, editorial-page editor of the New York Daily News:
I humbly suggest: Whether you support abortion rights or oppose them, read the Kermit Gosnell coverage with clear eyes. It is wrenching.
Ace shouts what we all know is really going on here:
This story exposes fault lines between Democrats, who are by political necessity abortion absolutists, and Independents, who may lean somewhat pro-choice but sure the hell aren’t on board for infanticide. But to report this story at all would put the Democrats in the difficult position of angering its an element of its hardcore single-issue leftist coalition, or alienating independents.
Thus, the media — which just “wants to report the facts” and “takes no positions on policy questions” and which has no partisan leaning at all — simply doesn’t report the story at all.
After all, if the public hears of it, they may make The Wrong Decisions.
You don’t trust children with matches and you don’t trust the American public with information. It’s that simple.