Much is finally being made of the great news blackout of the Gosnell trial. Kirsten Powers had a great piece in USA Today yesterday, and now H.Z. Hemingway. I noted over at First Things last week that the same media blackout was imposed on reporting Jack Kevorkian’s motive for assisted suicide, which wasn’t compassion but enabling him to engage in human vivisection.
The media exhibited perhaps more blatant bias during the height of the great embryonic stem cell debate, blacking out news of extremely hopeful successes in adult stem cell research, as they hyped the “only hope” of ESCR. After all, for them, the controversy was a “two fer;” they could castigate “uncompassionate” pro lifers–who supposedly cared about embryos but not sick children–and undermine W’s popularity at the same time. Any stories that contradicted those memes rarely saw the light of day.
This refusal to report news when it is perceived to help the “wrong side” was vividly demonstrated to me in a small episode after the passage of California’s Proposition 71, which authorized the boondoggle California Institute for Regenerative Medicine created to borrow billions to pay for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. I participated in the opposition campaign and we tried to focus intensely on the conflicts of interest potentials and other good governance concerns that had nothing to do with the moral controversy. The media simply would not broadly cover those issues.–until after the election.
Sometime later, I happened to see a journalist who covered the beat and asked why the structural issues were ignored during the campaign. He looked at his shoes. I said, “Ah, you just couldn’t get past the pro lifers could you?” He said, “No, I couldn’t.”
And therein lies the tale. Ditto, Gosnell.