Uncovered Trial

Kirsten Powers, at The Daily Beast:

The column, and the ensuing outrage—and much of the outrage came from people with vaginas despite Carmon’s egregious and divisive claim that it was just the patriarchy rearing its ugly head—was specific to the fact that the mainstream media had not covered the trial of Kermit Gosnell, which started March 18, 2013. I am going to repeat this, because a starling number of people on the left, including New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, either cannot grasp this or are intentionally ignoring it. Repeat after me: “The problem is that the trial has not been covered.” That the Times ran one story about Gosnell in January is hardly relevant to the trial that started in March.

It is the trial that has included spectacular and headline-grabbing testimony from Gosnell’s former assistants and workers. It is the trial that has been largely ignored outside of local media and activists on the right and left. This, despite the normal obsession with murder trials (Good Morning America has done a 10-part series on the Jody Arias trial). It is the trial—rife with grisly details about an abortion doctor who maimed and killed women and babies—that was ignored, despite The Washington Post’s, The New York Times’s, and network evening news’s usual obsession with all things abortion related.

So, the continued misleading claims that the trial has been widely covered are empirically false—as is Carmon’s claim on CNN Friday that the only reason anyone is talking about this is because of Fox News, always the left’s go-to scapegoat. Unless Fox News owns USA Today, I’m not sure what she is talking about. It’s remarkable how quickly a story of a trial about decapitated babies and maimed women was overshadowed by liberal rage at Fox News and the “conservative media” who allegedly were hypocrites because they hadn’t been covering it, either. (In fact, Fox News has run 11 stories over the course of the three-week trial, whileThe New York Times so far has run just one piece, on A-17, the day the trial began.)

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • EricW

    The doctor is an embarrassment, the victims (mothers and fetuses) were expendable – so why should the pro-choice media have any interest in covering the trial – especially since the pro-choice Democratic President’s Attorney General has ties to the abortion industry: http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/31/eric-holders-family-papers-over-his-ties-to-abortion-doctor/

  • PJ Condit

    Jody Arias makes fir good tv. She is full of intrigue, and who knows the whole truth in her story? Kermit Gosnell does not make for good tv. The details are fully available and, of course, completely abominable. I agree that it is sad that his trial is not being covered, but the producer’s job is to get ratings, not dig for truth, sadly.

  • http://jmsmith.org JM Smith

    Here’s a recap of some of the media blackout and why it’s deplorable: http://www.examiner.com/article/media-blackout-of-horrific-kermit-gosnell-abortion-trial-is-inexcusable

  • EricW

    Cynical me suspects that if it had been a white doctor who had murdered all these defenseless and poor black babies and black women, it would probably be all over the news under the headline: “Genocide!!”

  • Holly

    And cynical me says that if this had involved a gun rather than scissors, it would be all over the news with a cry for more gun control.

  • Robin

    I think one specific reason that this doctor has escaped national notice is that when the Illinois Senate passed legislation requiring the punishment of doctors who did exactly the same thing Gosnell stands accused of, this President voted against the legislation. Every Democrat Senator in the U.S. Senate voted for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act and State Senator Obama voted against a carbon copy of it.

    If Obama had prevailed in the Illinois Senate and Gosnell’s crimes took place in Chicago they would not be a violation of state law. Thankfully Obama didn’t prevail, and the U.S. Senate passed legislation specifically criminalizing the activity.

  • Robin

    To clarify. Obama never said that if the abortionist delivered a 30 week old he should be allowed to sever the spinal cord, he just believed that the abortionist should be allowed to leave them in the corner of a room and let them die on their own.

  • scotmcknight

    Robin, now that you’ve blown gas at Obama and assailed a law that does not exist and gotten this out of your system, I wonder if you have any idea why the media didn’t cover this.

  • Dan

    The media has not covered the trial for the same reason they have ignored substantive conservative arguments (medical, legal and logical, not just “religious”) for 40 years. It is the same reason few examined the similar Kenneth Edelin case back in 1975, why the numerous examples of late term fetuses found in dumpsters fail to make it into the news. The reason is simple. The left has an absolute commitment to abortion that cannot be shaken by inconvenient facts like beating hearts, active brains and fetal pain. To report on this case puts in vivid and clear terms the facts of what abortion is. The supporters of late term abortion, partial birth abortion and even the termination of babies born alive (Planned Parenthood as recently as last week) cannot dare grant the nebulous notion of personhood to the unborn without putting the whole abortion movement on a collision course with itself. When the grisly truth is this plain, the only thing to do is try to ignore it and hope it goes away. Kudos to Kirsten Powers and Fox for speaking truth to power.

    And Scot, Obama totally deserves to have some gas blown at him. Jill Stanek held living aborted fetuses in her arms and watched them expire, Senator Obama dismissed her, distracted from the issue at hand with legalize and callousness that was chilling. He showed his true character – and that callousness was carefully hidden from the public by the same media that tried to hide the Gosnell case from the public eye. Advocacy journalism is unconcerned with truth, the narrative must support the agenda.

    I for one am so sick of it after 40 years, sick of being called misogynist, fascist, stupid Bible thumper and worse, even by erstwhile Christians. (No doubt Scot will chide me here for being unkind). But I’m sick of debating “elders” in mainline churches who refuse to even engage with the pro-life medical arguments and instead divert to metaphysical gibberish and rotten Bible quotations while at the same time dismissing pro-life views as “religiously motivated”. It is hard to even pray for mercy for what this country has become. Gosnell is not an embarrassment. He is the face of sickening evil that we collectively refuse to face. Sadly he is far from alone in his mission of carnage. There’s a lot more under the carefully crafted veneer if anyone dares to look. I am not optimistic anyone to the left of the late Arlen Specter will.

  • Robin

    I honestly believe what I said. Members of the media are almost universally Democrats. Gosnell’s behavior isn’t much different from Carhartt’s and Tiller’s. They snipped the vertebrae on 36 week old infants inside the womb. Gosnell delivered and then did the snipping. The bottom line is they all killed 36 week old, viable babies.

    This President, and the entire Democrat party has repeatedly supported those types of abortions.

    If you are invested in partial birth abortion, if you are invested in abortion on demand, if the President you support voted three times against the born alive infant protection act, if Carhartt and Tiller are heroes to you and your constituents…how in the world do you cover Gosnell without bringing up the fact that what he is doing isn’t essentially different.

    There is a reason that BAIPA became law. We knew this was happening prior to the laws passage. It was documented. Obama didn’t want the doctor’s prosecuted. Just last week a planned parenthood official offered testimony stating that if a children was delivered alive as a result of a botched abortion, it should be up to the mother that tried to abort the child to determine to determine if medical professionals delivered life-saving care. Planned Parenthood officials in legislative testimony testified that, essentially, what Gosnell did should be legal…if the mom who delivered the baby didn’t want it to survive.

    There is no angle of the Gosnell trial that pains abortionists in a positive light, or the pro-choice community in a positive light, or this President in a positive light. That is why it isn’t being covered.

    And Scot, to be clear, Obama absolutely did say that when the abortion fails the medical staff should not be required to save the life of the child, they should be allowed to shelve him and let him die.

    “[I]f we’re placing a burden on the doctor that says you have to keep alive a previable child as long as possible and give them as much medical attention as—as is necessary to try to keep that child alive, then we’re probably crossing the line in terms of unconstitutionality.” (Senator Obama, March 30, 2001)

  • scotmcknight

    Robin, of course you do, but the point is the article is about media not Obama.

  • scotmcknight

    Dan, I totally agree with you on abortion; I totally agree Obama’s views are reprehensible; but I’m not quite sure why we aren’t pressing the media here more. I tire of FoxNews’ constant carping about the liberal media, but they carp only because there’s truth and substance to their critique. There’s so much wrong in this Gosnell case that it sickens to think so much media is avoiding it…

  • Holly

    Thank you for that, Scot.

    There is so much wrong with the Gosnell case, not only the abortions, but the neglect for the women, the racism, the turning a blind eye by overseers and health practitioners who worked with him (delivering medications, etc.) I think it highlights the very real inconsistencies on the case of the media outlets; it is a playing out of the media bias which some have insisted is there for many years. It is right for people to call them out on this; it is correct to expect fairness in journalism. They provide endless coverage on virtually every other event, and on this? Crickets. Have you seen the photos of the media seats at the trial? EMPTY.

  • Rick

    In an interview I heard with her yesterday, Powers said the Washington Post has admitted their mistake in not covering it. She also said that the editors are the real problem here, not necessarily the reporters.

  • Robin

    One last group of thoughts…coverins this story would require the media try and explain while the abortion industry lives by a different set of standards than the rest of the medical industry.

    Abortion is the only major surgical procedure I am aware of whose advocates believe teenagers, even as young as 13 or 14, should be able to undergo completely absent of parental consent, or even parental knowledge.

    Abortion is the only surgical procedure I know of where physicians are allowed to have the client call into a pre-recorded message and have that count as informed consent. I have heard testimony from numerous physicians that emphasize the importance of face-to-face informed consent, giving the patient the ability to answer questions.

    Most abortion clinics’ doctors don’t even have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

    Gosnell’s Clinic went a 15 year and a 20 year stretch without oversight from state officials, and the oversight it received in the 90s was fraudulent.

    This lack of oversight was specifically caused by a pro-choice Republican (Tom Ridge) who intentionally relaxed oversight for abortion providers only.

    And we have even got to the point where abortifacients are now over the counter medicine, no prescription required, for girls as young as 13 or 14.

    Covering the Gosnell trial, with all its gore, and then trying to explain why the 6 or 7 points I listed above are good things…is an impossible task. So rather than trying to provide actual news coverage, their ideology led them to bury the story.

  • scotmcknight

    Robin, thanks for comment 15. That gets to the heart of it.

  • EricW

    Maybe this is an example of why pro-choice media seem disinclined to report on this story/trial:
    http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/16/gosnell-worker-toilets-backed-up-with-body-parts-from-abortions/

  • PJ Anderson

    This episode is, perhaps, the single most important example of the death of authentic journalism in the United States (and our larger western culture.) It is obvious, obvious beyond any reasonable doubt, that agents and editors within the established media structure suppressed and ignored this story for months in a coordinated campaign to make it disappear.

    Thankfully today we live in a social media age where viral stories are more authentic than the established media.

    I don’t know anyone (and I have friends on all sides of this discussion) who thinks the media has treated this story fairly. We stand in a day where the horrors of a man’s “medical” practice are swept under the rug because there is fear he might incriminate an entire ideology. Well if the entire ideology is corrupt we shouldn’t be surprised when its excesses show the barbarity of its practioneers.

    If you want to read a great commentary on this whole episode checkout: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324030704578422883948238160?mg=reno64-wsj.html?dsk=y

    This piece is written by a pro-choice libertarian (I believe) voice. The whole article boils down to this line: “The reductio ad absurdum of the pro-abortion side is Kermit Gosnell.”

    This whole episode is another example of why I’m done with the established media, I’m done with bloviating politicians, and I’m done with this whole enterprise socially we are a rotten people.

  • Chris

    Ironically, I first read about this case via a retweet by a prominent Southern Baptist of a very graphic story about the case in Atlantic of all places. Talk about media confusion. A magazine like the Atlantic which is not a conservative outfit is posting a very detailed story about the trial and grotesque testimony while the supposedly objective mainstream media ignore it.

    I agree with many who say it’s too much for the pro abortion position to bear to have to defend this story. It’s impossible to defend and sheds light on a very dark world.


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