The Conservative Media Blackout That Wasn’t Really a Blackout At All
Here it comes: the mainstream media will claim that their critics on the Right are hypocrites, because conservative media outlets weren’t really covering the “house of horrors” of late-term abortionist/alleged mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, either.
This morning, the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi writes: “The Weekly Standard and the National Review, two leading conservative magazines, for example, hadn’t published anything on the trial, according to a search of the Nexis database.”
Notice the careful wording on that accusation. Of course, several of my colleagues wrote about the charges against Gosnell before the trial. (The opening statements in Gosnell’s trial began March 18.)
And if I’m reading Farhi correctly, he’s only looking at the print magazines, not the online versions – which, as we all know, generate a lot more material, day in and day out, than the print versions of our magazines.
Anyway, a quick look through NRO’s archives:
Michelle Malkin, back on January 21, 2011:
In the City of Brotherly Love, hundreds of babies were murdered by a scissors-wielding monster over four decades. Whistleblowers informed public officials at all levels of the wanton killings of innocent life. But a parade of government health bureaucrats and advocates protecting the abortion racket looked the other way — until, that is, a Philadelphia grand jury finally exposed the infanticide factory run by abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., and a crew of unlicensed, untrained butchers masquerading as noble providers of women’s “choice.”
Mark Steyn, February 10, 2011:
As I was leaving Fox News last night, I glanced up at the monitor and caught Juan Williams expressing mystification to Sean Hannity as to why Republicans in Congress were wasting the country’s time on a “little thing” like abortion.
Gee, I dunno. Maybe it’s something to do with a mass murderer in Pennsylvania, or Planned Parenthood clinics facilitating the sex trafficking of minors. From the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia:
Viable babies were born*. Gosnell killed them by plunging scissors into their spinal cords. He taught his staff to do the same.
This is a remarkable moment in American life: A man is killing actual living, gurgling, bouncing babies on an industrial scale – and it barely makes the papers.
Here’s Rich Lowry, Feb. 4, 2011:
The nightmarish case of the Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell and the sting video of a counselor at a Planned Parenthood clinic cooperating with a supposed pimp show the dignity of women is decidedly secondary. The 261-page grand-jury report in the Gosnell case could have been written by Stephen King. Gosnell’s gruesome operation was, on its own terms, highly efficient. During the day, his assistants administered labor-inducing drugs to pregnant women, overwhelmingly poor minorities. Then the good doctor showed up in the evening. On some women, he performed traditional abortions, occasionally butchering them in the process. Other women had delivered babies before he arrived. Here, he performed post-birth abortions–
-and I’m going to cut if off here, lest you lose your breakfast all over your keyboard. Yeah, it’s awful.
Finally, Michael Walsh, writing as his left-wing alter-ego David Kahane, quoted the indictment at length in a February 7, 2011 column.
Here’s Matthew Franck on February 3, 2011. Here’s Tom McClusky on March 29, 2011. Here’s Mark Steyn, quoting the trial, in the Corner on March 20.
But none of that will be acknowledged by Fahri, because it interferes with the point he wants to make, that “media bias” isn’t to blame for the fact that Kermit Gosnell only became a household name last week.
Listen up, media. The existence of other factors – the fear of offending squeamish readers, limited budgets, the presence of other news events, the lack of television cameras in the courtroom – doesn’t disprove the factor of bias, the notion that at many allegedly “mainstream” publications and outlets, a political and ideological lens skews the perception of what is big news and what is, in the words of the Post’s health policy reporter, just a “local crime story.” As Jay Nordlinger lays out, there is always an editor’s decision of which events get “flood the zone” style coverage, and that decision inevitably reflects that editor’s worldview and perspective. News that damages key tenets of the Left – i.e.,the notion that late-term abortion is necessary, good, and moral objections to it are outdated, fringe, religious zealotry – rarely is deemed big news.
We’ve seen much more mundane matters get much bigger coverage than this man and his horror show garnered until last week. This is the same Washington Post Style section that had a front-page-of-the-section story about an Alabama high school football coach mocking Michelle Obama’s butt. (Obnoxious, of course, but why is this national news?)
If you’re not going to implement anything to mitigate that bias – i.e., diverse viewpoints in the newsroom, on the reporting staff, not just the column-writing staff – then just admit the bias and move on.