Conservative Media Ignored the Gosnell Trial?

by Shannen W. Coffin

In a Washington Post Style-section piece, writer Paul Farhi asks today whether the media has overlooked the Kermit Gosnell story and whether that evidences media bias. He does not reach any particular conclusion, but offers plenty of excuses for why coverage might have been scant.   He latches onto one emerging meme: “The charge of liberal media bias is perhaps undercut by the fact that a number of conservative media outlets — and conservative leaders — overlooked the story, too, until a flood of tweets and commentaries about it began late last week.” In support of that conclusion, he notes that 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.”

As several writers have noted here, it is a shame that Mr. Farhi didn’t actually go to National Review’s website to see what National Review had said about the story. If he had (and if the NRO search engine were actually working, which wasn’t the case when I tried the experiment), he would have found an editorial on the charges against Gosnell in January 2011 and writers like Mark Steyn and Rich Lowry who have been howling at the Gosnell moon for quite some time. (And while I haven’t written on the subject until recently, given that I have a day job that has had me on the road, I did an interview with Molly Henneberg for a Fox News story back on March 21, when the trial was just getting underway.)  

But that was not the most curious part of Farhi’s piece. That honor goes to this paragraph:

Moreover, some commentators have pointed out, greater media attention to the trial might help, rather than hurt, abortion rights advocates. They say the graphic testimony about illegal late-term abortions, unlicensed staff and shockingly unsanitary procedures and conditions at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic strengthens the case for keeping abortion safe, legal and affordable, particularly for the poor women who sought Gosnell’s services.

I’d really like to see that case made. It would take one hell of an advocate to convince the public that Kermit Gosnell is the poster boy for protection of the pseudo-constitutional right to abortion. I’m sure, once everyone hears about “snipping,” they will run to Planned Parenthood’s website to contribute.  

UPDATE: The inimitable Jim Geraghty has a more thorough takedown of the “conservatives didn’t cover” meme on Campaign Spot.

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