WPost reporter explains her personal Gosnell blackout

WPost reporter explains her personal Gosnell blackout April 12, 2013

I’ve been writing about media coverage of abortion for many years. And so have many others. If you haven’t read David Shaw’s “Abortion Bias Seeps Into The News,” published in the Los Angeles Times back in 1990, you should. That report also explains why we cover the topic here at GetReligion.

But the thing is that I’m getting kind of sick of pointing out egregious bias only to see things not just remain bad but get worse. Just think, in the last year, we saw the media drop any pretense of objectivity and bully the Susan G. Komen Foundation into funding Planned Parenthood. And then we had how many months of coverage focused on someone calling a birth control activist a bad name? And who can forget every pro-life person in the country being asked to respond to Todd Akin’s stupid remarks about rape?

So our abortion-drenched media would certainly want to cover what is arguably the country’s most horrific serial murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, right? Well, far from the front-page, top of the news, daily update coverage you rightfully would expect, it’s been downplayed. Majorly downplayed.

Inspired by Kirsten Powers’ USA Today column yesterday, I decided to start asking journalists about their personal involvement in the Gosnell cover-up.

I began by asking the AP’s national social issues reporter why he hadn’t been tweeting to AP coverage of the Gosnell trial. I had to ask a few times and then … there it was … finally …. a tweet on the Gosnell trial. Then he told me that the AP was covering the trial (which I knew, as I’ve critiqued it here). I reminded him that I was wondering why he hadn’t been tweeting to coverage of Gosnell. I asked him to correct me if I was wrong about his lack of tweets. He didn’t.

Then I decided, since tmatt has me reading the Washington Post every day, to look at how the paper’s health policy reporter was covering Gosnell. I have critiqued many of her stories on the Susan G. Komen Foundation (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Sandra Fluke controversy (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Todd Akin controversy (you know where this is going). In fact, a site search for that reporter — who is named Sarah Kliff — and stories Akin and Fluke and Komen — yields more than 80 hits. Guess how many stories she’s done on this abortionist’s mass murder trial.

Did you guess zero? You’d be right.

So I asked her about it. Here’s her response:

Hi Molly – I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.

Yes. She really, really, really said that. As Robert VerBruggen dryly responded:

Makes sense. Similarly, national gun-policy people do not cover local crime in places like Aurora or Newtown.

So when a private foundation privately decides to stop giving money to the country’s largest abortion provider, that is somehow a policy issue deserving of three dozen breathless hits. When a yahoo political candidate says something stupid about rape, that is a policy issue of such import that we got another three dozen hits about it from this reporter. It was so important that journalists found it fitting to ask every pro-lifer in their path to discuss it. And when someone says something mean to a birth control activist, that’s good for months of puffy profiles.

But gosh darn it, can you think of any policy implications to this, uh, “local crime” story? And that’s all it is. Just like a bunch of other local stories the Washington Post also refuses to cover — local crimes such as the killing of Trayvon Martin and the killing of Matthew Shepard and the killing of students at an elementary school in Connecticut. Did the Washington Post even think of covering those local crime stories? No! Oh wait, they did? Like, all the time? Hmm. That’s weird. But did they cover them in terms of policy implications? Asking politicians for their views and such? Oh they did that, too? Hmm. So weird. Oh, and Sarah Kliff herself wrote one of those stories? Well, gosh, I’m so confused.

And what policies could possibly be under discussion with this Gosnell trial? Other than, you know, abortion clinic hiring practices? And enforcement of sanitary conditions? And laws on abortion practices that extend to killing live infants by beheading them? And the killing of their mothers? And state or federal oversight of clinics with records of botched abortions? And pain medication practices? And how to handle the racist practices of some clinics? And how big of a problem this is (don’t tell anyone but another clinic nearby to Gosnell was shut down this week over similar sanitation concerns)? And disposal of babies’ bodies? And discussion of whether it’s cool to snip baby’s spines after they’re born? And how often are abortion clinics inspected anyway? What are the results of inspections? When emergency rooms take in victims of botched abortions, do they report that? How did this clinic go 17 years without an inspection? Gosh, I just can’t think of a single health policy angle here. Can you?

I mean, God forbid we go big and actually discuss abortion policy in general — something Kliff is usually quite keen to do. (Here’s her 2010 piece for Newsweek headlined Remember Roe!)

Kliff is hearing from her readers now — mostly I know about this since literally hundreds of them are copying me on their responses. To put it quite mildly, they find her justification attempt stunning, disingenuous, callous, laughable and far, far worse. The most charitable response was this one from Billy Valentine:

so who at @washingtonpost SHOULD be covering Gosnell if not you?

She hasn’t responded. It seemed obvious to me that the reporter at the Washington Post who writes so prolifically and passionately about abortion rights would cover this story. She says, however unconvincingly, that a major abortion story suddenly isn’t her beat. OK. Fine. So who at the Washington Post should be covering this major story with national implications? Let me know and I’ll ask them about it.

Journalists aren’t exactly coming to her defense either. In the words of Andrew Kirell:

Yeahhhh, so I’m pro-choice, but this Gosnell story is awful. And oh boy does it look bad for reporters normally on the health/abortion beat.

The Gosnell blackout was working brilliantly for months here. And if this didn’t happen to be the most shocking trial of the century, I think reporters such as Kliff could have gotten away with it. They’d say they couldn’t imagine it being a health policy story. And then they wouldn’t cover it. So no politicians would weigh in. And it wouldn’t become a health policy story. It may be circular logic, but it’s quite effective.

See, the way you get Presidents and others to talk about uninteresting little local crime stories is that you ask them to.

I offered this one up to Kliff earlier but I’ll share it widely:

President Obama worked against the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act back in the Illinois Senate. He said he thought it was unnecessary and that he was worried it would undermine Roe. How has the Gosnell case affected his thinking on protections for children such as the ones Gosnell is accused of killing?

Variations of that would work on any and all pro-choice politicians, particularly the ones that share Obama’s extreme views on this topic. Remember how reporters asked every pro-life individual in America (or so it seemed back in October) to respond to Todd Akin’s remarks on rape? Go ahead and ask just a few prominent pro-choice activists and pols for their take on Gosnell. And try to ask some tough questions. No, like real questions.

In my next post, I’ll tell you how it went when I looked at Politico‘s Gosnell coverage and Atlantic.com’s — it’s also pretty interesting.

The picture above, for what it’s worth, is of the reserved media seats at the Gosnell trial. It was taken by JD Mullane, a news writer and columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times, The Intel and the Burlington County (NJ) Times. He says:

Sat through a full day of testimony at the Kermitt Gosnell trial today. It is beyond the most morbid Hollywood horror. It will change you.

I was surprised by the picture and asked “really?” He responded “Local press was there, Inky, PhillyMag, NBC10 blogger. Court staff told me nobody else has shown up.”

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

114 responses to “WPost reporter explains her personal Gosnell blackout”

    • And lone abortion clinic in North Dakota wasn’t just a local story (got to posts from Sarah in April), nor has been increase in state efforts to regulate abortion. Seems this story implicates these stories too.

    • Bingo. That’s the news story that should continually get brought up to our illustrious narrative gatekeepers in the media, especially considering Tiller and Gosnell specialized in the same practice. A columnist for the Detroit Free Press tried using the same argument when in fact he wrote about Tiller as well.

    • Mollie, thank you for an excellent commentary and a priceless photograph. I can still feel the emptiness and the silence. Omission is a form of lying. Our mainstream media lie by omission, by fabrication, by distortion and by character assassination of those who try expose their lying. This story says it all.

      • “Omission is a form of lying.”

        So it is.
        When I was a kid in the Episcopal church, when the prayer book was the 1928, not the updated 1979 one, the prayer of confession said: “…by what we have done, and by what we have left un-done.”

        Then there’s “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” I wonder how often a testifyer is cut off before s/he finishes a sentence, so “the whole” doesn’t come out, but the testimony that legal team wants to hear does?

    • I wrote about this issue a day or two ago. This isn’t just reporters or media.

      Just getting information on this I went to the CDC website. Since Obama in 2009 they haven’t even bothered to continue reporting abortion statistics or even tabulating them. It’s like no one cares about the facts that give women true choice; it’s abortion or you are pegged “evanglical nutbag”.

      screenshots to the CDC site and abortion data from 2009, 2008, 2007…basically every single year since 1979 which is ironic because Dr. Gosnell started practicing in 1979. http://tinyurl.com/c25yndn

  1. There are times when I think there’s too much focus on a particular story by the GR bloggers but not this time. I think that reporters need to be pressed on why they don’t cover the story. Of course, you’re going to get excuses instead of the real reason. But even so, I think it’s worth doing because root journalistic ethics are involved.

    • Not really. “President Obama worked against the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act back in the Illinois Senate. He said he thought it was unnecessary and that he was worried it would undermine Roe. ”
      This is deliberately dishonest and undermines the rest of this little pout fest. Aas you know (or should), since IL state law already provided protection for the born, this law was useless & pointless. He did support the Federal version of the bill, which also protected RvW (unlike the IL version) , which you don’t mention. Telling, that. Oh, as to Gosnell, he is a greedy, murdering thug. Will that do for a PC quote? Seriously, instead of whining about the trial coverage and taking potshots at fellow journalists, cover it yourself. or just keep whining. ::shrug:: Your choice.

  2. Mollie,

    You really are removing the media fig leaf on this one, which is nothing short of disgraceful–indeed this is one of the most disagraceful acts (or instances of in- action) on the part of mass media that I can recall. I do not think the media understand–or perhaps even care–how badly this damages the last shreds of credibility they have left, and it really makes one wonder whether the business has deprived some of these people of their human capacity for shame. These paltry excuses either set a new standard for cynicism, or they reveal an astonishing capacity for mass self-deception and a kind of self-induced blindness. I cant think of a third alternative. And the fact that media disregard for this is almost universal either suggests some kind of quasi-conspiracy or that media pluralism and independence is an illusion, that the media are not really the indispensible guardians of public feeedom as they like to imagine themselves, but a self-referential monolith that act as gatekeepers of permissible public thought, a massive organ of extraordinary power that is the very opposite of a free press and that is ultimately inimical to a free society.

    In any case, please keep it up. This is very important work.

  3. Good job, Molly! The silence from the leftist media is deafening. If the general public (low information voters) actually heard about this, they would be appalled. They might even re-think their pro-abortion views. Goodness!

  4. Mollie, I don’t wonder you get sick of it, but please, keep it up. You’re doing great work and we need you!!

  5. Mollie, how can we help? Do you have a list of phone number or emails for heads of news organizations that we can start calling and emailing demanding coverage?

  6. The MSM learned long ago that a lot of times it is just as important what they DO NOT report as what they DO report. Their lack of coverage belies that fact.

  7. Search the New York Times website — only one hit on “Gosnell”, a brief story from March on the opening of the trial. Nothing since. Nothing.

  8. I remember hearing a story a few yrs ago about how high gas prices are good because it is keeping drivers off the road and fewer people are getting killed. Why isn’t the media smart enough to push this story in terms of protecting women?

  9. If this is not a “policy issue” then Colorado and Connecticut shootings are just “local crime” stories too! Ironic how people in media pick and choose.

  10. I guess Clint Eastwood would get a sad kick out of those empty media pews. Apple meet tree.
    Irresponsible children have been put in charge of the country. These are the same people who call social conservatives troglodytes.

  11. Thank you for your diligence. When I’m gone, I want to leave behind a good name. These folks in the media should simply put “Coward” on their tombstone.

  12. Keep up the pressure, Molly. I’m getting a little tired of the media moguls running their organizations the way the Communist Party ran Isvestia, Pravda, and other state-controlled instruments of propaganda. What is particularly disturbing about so many of these “reporters” is that their education apparently taught them nothing about critical thinking and left them with no capacity for self-analysis.

  13. I pray that your efforts will be successful in getting larger news media sources to actually give this story the coverage it deserves…

  14. I’m pro-choice. I would never choose to have an abortion personally, but I don’t believe personhood begins at conception. (I’m not here to debate that; I’m just telling you where I stand to put the rest of this in context). I also teach media writing and communication research methods at a public R-1 university.

    Given that, here are a few thoughts.
    1) The local crime angle really isn’t as neatly parallel as one might think for two primary reasons. First, during the events themselves, there’s ongoing news because there’s ongoing (and increasing) horror. Whatever you think of Gosnell and abortions, none of those related to this case are happening *right now*. This moves it out of the immediate urgent coverage. Second, there is widespread agreement in our culture that after birth, people are human beings who should not be killed. Even you agree with this, even if you also believe that this is true before birth. Our culture lacks the same widespread agreement that prior to birth, fetuses are fully human beings with full rights. The story then takes on a controversial angle that local crime stories do not. Even the fiercest second amendment defenders do not want to see gun-related massacres, but the fiercest pro-choice adherents do not believe that fetuses are people.

    2. Nonetheless, Kliff should be covering this trial. I’ve tweeted as much. This trial is very important to many people (although I might note that most of WaPo’s readership is likely outside that group), and as correctly noted, there are some policy implications. Don’t be surprised, of course, when you hear people saying that if the existing laws were followed, then this wouldn’t be an issue–so no new laws are needed. In that, it’s definitely a parallel case to the pro-gun response to massacres.

    I weigh in here for two reasons. First, not everyone in the “lefty” media is going to share Kliff’s opinion. Second, given that your anti-abortion stance is not shared by the general population, to make honest media critiques, you need to be able to step outside your stance to view how media make decisions. It’s more nuanced than you’d like to believe.

    • But what about the women’s health angle? Set aside that Gosnell was performing abortions well into the stage of viability and was prepared to fully deliver and then terminate the neonate.

      What about the women who, it has been shown in evidence, were infected, injured, and had their health adversely affected by the malpractice at this clinic? Why weren’t they protected? Why were the complaints from the hospitals ,which had to treat them when Gosnell and his associates maimed them ,not acted upon?

      Have the medical/health/policy beat reporters really got no interest in getting answers to these questions?

      How about the hearing in March of this year, when the lobbyist Alisa LaPont Snow, acting on behalf of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, had this exchange?

      ““So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

      “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.”

      So according to this woman, if a late-term foetus is born alive after a failed abortion, it is a question only for the woman and whatever medical staff are present as to whether that neonate is considered to be a “human beings who should not be killed” and not, as you put it, an inviolable legal and moral principle.

      This is not at all relevant in light of the Gosnell case? After all, how can he be charged with murder if he was only doing what is deemed an acceptable practice in completing the termination?

      What about A

    • Nuanced? What’s nuanced about “who, what, when, where, why”? Either it’s as story, or it isn’t. Nothing nuanced about it. So, are you teaching your students to inject their personal beliefs into what news events they cover, or do not cover? If you believe she should be covering the case, then whatever you, or anyone else thinks about abortion should be irrelevant, right? (yes, that is a rhetorical question)

    • “Whatever you think of Gosnell and abortions, none of those related to this case are happening *right now*. This moves it out of the immediate urgent coverage. ”

      This is true of ANY trial. We have nonstop coverage of every other sensational trial.
      The true criteria for covering trials are:
      1) Are people interested in the subject?
      Answer: Yes
      2) Are there sensational things coming out at trial that will cause people to watch?
      Answer: yes
      3) Did someone do something bad that people will get a kick denouncing?
      Answer: yes for most, no for a few radicals on the left.

      “Our culture lacks the same widespread agreement that prior to birth, fetuses are fully human beings with full rights”
      Basically, it is 50/50. So that makes this a very controversial matter that people will tune in to see, will buy a paper to read about. This case is PURE controversy, with GORY details, including CHILDREN screaming and being left for dead.
      It is the perfect media story. Only the most bizarre desire to shape the public mind in a certain direction.can account for this.

      • BUT you need to report the news. Criminals are tried AFTER the crime occurred, and depending on the crime and who was involved, it IS covered in the media when it is “not happening right now” . . .think Lee Harvey Oswald, O. J. Simpson, the doctor involved in Michael Jackson’s death. News coverage went on forever! I think your logic is flawed. The media’s decision to NOT report the proceedings of this trial is an injustice to all mankind. A simple fact is this: sex between a man and a woman has a 50-50 chance of producing a child. The “Choice” is to use protection, NOT abort the resulting child. You can spin it any way you want, but the fact remains, this a story that DEMANDS media coverage to the same degree you would cover an attack on an abortion clinic. And I am NOT condoning violence against abortion clinics in any way. This entire debacle could carry the title, “An Inconvenient Truth”, to plagiarize Al Gore, if I may.

    • Not shared by the general population? Apparently you need to be doing some more research.

    • Shannon: You can search for nuances for as long as you like, but you know as well as we do, that this story is being spiked. Why? My theory is because could it challenge the MSM’s dearly held belief that there should be no regulation of abortion – but they want to regulate everything else in our lives!

    • “Whatever you think of Gosnell and abortions, none of those related to this case are happening *right now*. This moves it out of the immediate urgent coverage”. But how do we know these things are not happening right now if the media isn’t willing to cover what did happen? Sure, Gosnell is no longer doing this, but what about inner-city Chicago? The barrios of LA? Newtown is not happening ‘right now” and it’s getting coverage still.

    • Surely Shannon knows that since 2009 Gallup has found America is more pro-life than pro abortion.
      “Pro-Choice” Americans at Record-Low 41%: Americans now tilt “pro-life” by nine-point margin, 50% to 41%
      Pro-life adherents have been growing for awhile now, and even many who say they support the right to an abortion want restrictions on its access or other limits or protections.

    • More and more people *are* within the pro-life stance… and even though Gosnell may not be performing these acts *right now* those of us who do NOT have our heads in the sand know that they are being carried out across this country. Women…not just babies, but *women* are being maimed and killed by abortionists. Women are being held down, against their will and their babies are being ripped from their wombs. And for those who cry about abortion being a women’s health issue, then there should be GREAT concern that clinics like this are being allowed to be in business. If it really is about women’s health, then WHY don’t we want there to be inspections? Why wouldn’t we want sanitary conditions? Why wouldn’t we want women’s wishes respected, when they change their mind? Why wouldn’t we want regulations to insure that women are receiving the best of care? But, there’s the rub. It’s not about women’s health. It’s about population control, it’s about eugenics, it’s about MONEY. So, let’s be intellectually honest, and then maybe we can have a real conversation. I guess we don’t even have to mention the millions of babies who lives are ended just because some think they aren’t ‘human’ yet.

      • To call most of Gosnell’s victims “women” is a bit of a stretch. They tended to be teenaged girls. There needs to be more care for the health and safety of teenaged girls. There may even be a forced abortions to cover up other crimes angle, but no one seems to want to ask how old the fathers were.

    • Shannon –
      I read your comment with interest, and will respect your desire to not debate your beliefs regarding the personhood of pre-born human life. I would, however, like to take issue with your thoughts. Just to set the record straight, I’m an engineer by education, temperament, and profession, I’m an ordained deacon, and I am morally convinced that the human creature should be afforded our complete protection from the moment of conception.
      First, I don’t buy the ‘immediacy’ argument. We both know that trial coverage is an entirely different thing than real-time disaster or crime coverage, and this case has more than enough drama to make the cut for trial coverage. The Steubenville rape case was about a completed incident, yet received extensive coverage, and rightfully so. Despite an apparent lack of ‘*right now*’ ‘ongoing (and increasing) horror’ associated with the stories of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood, Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke, or Todd Akin’s idiocy, there was no shortage of coverage.
      Secondly, it seems obvious, at least to me, that the ‘widespread agreement in our culture that after birth, people are human beings who should not be killed’ is enough to make this horror and the associated trial newsworthy. These human beings were, after all, brutally murdered. (BTW, I find it interesting that you use the word ‘people’ in the above quote, from which it might be inferred that they were people before birth, but I digress.) You further imply that the fact that ‘The story then takes on a controversial angle that local crime stories do not’ is a reason not to cover it. Since when does a teacher (professor?) of journalism or related disciplines advise AGAINST engaging in controversy? Excuse my apparent ignorance, but I was under the impression that informing the public regarding controversial topics was a core functional of journalism.
      In short, while I appreciate your openness, you are actually displaying the fundamental lack of perspective of which your critics would accuse you. You imply that the valuing of pre-born human life is not represented in the general population, an assertion that I challenge you to reevaluate; if that were so then the abortion topic would not be the source of journalistic job security that it has become.
      To hijack your last statement, to honestly evaluate critiques of the media, you need to be able to step outside your stance to view how the general population views the media. It’s more nuanced than you’d like to believe.

  15. They are never going to admit the truth. Bias runs deep in the MSM and it always has. This trial reeks of barbarity that would almost always rate several news stories. We all know that and the press know that. With obama’s two wins for President I expect the left and the MSM to become even more brazen and not concerned about being obvious in their bias. We will reap what we have sown.

  16. Relevant article with excellent points but the convoluted, poorly written, holier than thou, high and mighty attitude gets in the way of this being a good article that might make people think and consider media bias…..this writer let her emotions and view point pervade the article to the point of it being a detriment to a valid point and story……

    • I applaud Mollie for combining “excellent points” with an emotional appeal to sanity on the part of so-called journalists who pride themselves in “just the facts” reporting that includes only the facts their own emotional biases deem relevant. The Gosnell story is not only relevant, valid, and pertinent to policy discussion both from a women’s health and pro life/pro choice standpoint, but it speaks to the very soul of our country, or lack thereof. You may want to stop a moment and make sure you still have yours.

  17. It will begin to get more coverage when the abortion-on-demand advocates figure out how to spin the story into proof that “safer” and tax-payer funded abortions are the answer. “These women had no choice but to go to this doctor…”, etc.

  18. I LOVE that an investigative reporter is investigating a reporter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LOVE IT.
    Keep it coming.

  19. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this and your investigative work. I am incensed at the horror of this atrocity. And even more at the public silence on it.

  20. It’s all very interesting. I love the pathetic excuse about “a local crime story.”

    Search the Washington Post web site for mentions of “Sandy Hook.”

    Search the Washington Post web site for mentions of “Casey Anthony.”

    Is it that the Post’s reporters don’t cover “local crime stories” or is it that they don’t cover such stories unless it’s white kids that are killed. Sorry, Washington Post, your bias is showing.

  21. So, when I opened today’s Washington Post, to, y’know, check on this story, guess what I saw as the top Headline?
    “Va. board adopts strict abortion clinic rules”
    Apparently, it’s only news when the government attempts to actually CONTROL the practices that might lead to henious conditions such as those found in Gosnell’s abortion clinic, but the LACK of control couldn;t possibly interest anyone…it makes me sick!

    • There was not a lack of rules in Pennsylvania, there was a lack of enforcement. Rules mean nothing if there is not a political will to enforce them. Did that story mention the Gosnell Trial?

  22. Hi, Thank you for this story. I wanted to share with you a letter that I wrote to the local news stations as well as the national news stations yesterday. So far I have gotten no response, but have posted it publicly on my fb page for people to share with their news stations in hopes that SOMEONE will notice. I have been trying to spread the word about this trial since the day it started and even conservative Christian radio stations such as K-Love have told me that the trial is too graphic for thier listeners. I think it is absurd. Our country is turning a blind eye and it needs to stop, for the sake of innocent children and women. Here is my letter, feel free to share if you so desire.
    Dear Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC News:
    As an American who expects the media to cover noteworthy stories, I am very confused as to why your news station is not covering the Kermit Gosnell Murder trial currently underway in Philadelphia. Is there a reason that it is not making national headline news? Is the alleged murder of 8 people not enough to invoke a newsworthy story? If any other person were on trial for 8 murders, being termed a “serial killer,” committing heinous crimes towards women and children, I assure you it would be splashed across every news station nationwide. We would have a hard time finding stations that were NOT updating us on the trial. Put an abortionist on the chopping block for murder, and no one speaks a word. Question a health department for not investigating the crimes as their job requires, and which we taxpayers pay for, there is no story. No “Breaking NEWS!” No trial updates. Nothing. Why is this? Are not the lives of 7 babies and one adult worth the media’s time? Or is it all about politics? It is an absolute outrage that this murder trial is being kept so silent. This is not a trial about abortion, it’s a trial about the limits imposed upon medical “professionals” who decide to play God. It’s about defending and saving lives! Please do your job and make people aware of the hideous crimes this man has been accused of; crimes that are likely taking place across our nation at similar facilities. Remind us of the sanctity of our human rights to life. Remind our nation that we have LAWS that will protect us from being victims of such atrocities! That justice still has a chance to prevail! That even medical “professionals” are going to be held accountable! Are you going to continue to turn a blind eye, robbing our nation of the knowledge of what is happening in our country? If it was your daughter, sister, wife, or friend considering her options, wouldn’t you want her to be informed? It is your professional and ethical DUTY to share the news. Please do.
    Jennifer Torres
    Daughter, Sister, Wife and Mother

    • Be sure to note the empty chamber behind Rep. Smith. (I realize this is common in the House–they’re all too busy running for re-election to take time listen to each other, but still. . . . )

  23. The shooting of Treyvon Martin was a “local crime story” involving a “white Hispanic” and the Post has devoted no less than 29 stories to the case so far. Go figure.

  24. Excellent article. I think the grand jury summary from Conor Friedersdorf’s article in The Atlantic extracts the essence of this horror:
    “We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”
    This also explains why no one in the MSM wants to touch this story, either. It’s despicable, but hardly unexpected.

  25. “I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.” Sarah Kliff

    So how is she so sure that as a ‘reporter’ that there aren’t other abortion mills with similar killings? Did she review the literature on the extent of the atrocities? Other abortionists? Other charges? Other locales? Could this be a national issues? How smug.

  26. I am from Philadelphia . Have been aware of case from beginning. There is a documentary 3801 Lancaster that powerfully reports this story . Sad and diffucult to watch

  27. Shannon:
    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to acknowledge the blackout from some of the MSM reporters. You rightly state that perspective is the key. I quote from your last point:

    “to make honest media critiques, you need to be able to step outside your stance to view how media make decisions. It’s more nuanced than you’d like to believe.”

    Shouldn’t this go both ways? Should the media not also step outside of their stance and view how the pro-life community makes decisions or comes to conclusions? Even if both sides can not agree as to when life begins or when human rights are extended to the child, what I find most chilling is that essentially the pro choice position comes down to this; how close can we get to killing a child without actually calling it murder? That is essentially the argument. Where do we draw the line so that if you fall on one side, it is terminating a non human, but if you fall on the other side, it is murder. To even be at this point in the discussion is chilling indeed and says much about our culture’s lack of respect for life.

  28. Keep it coming Mollie!!

    Ask some more reporters directly and let’s see if they respond similarly.

  29. The only reason this horrific crime is NOT being covered by any of these incompetent reporters is because it does NOT fit in with their agenda. It does not fit nicely into a box, with a bow on top, gift wrapped for all to see their views, side, policy making are the correct, and right side, to be on. They exclude any coverage that could damage their plight, their agenda. It matters none, how horrific the crime, how many have died or the length, these heinous acts have been going on. It will not benefit them, and will put a darkness onto them and their cause. This is complete and utter BS. May every last one that has caused, participated, refused to bring to light, report, and hide these insane, demonic acts, all face the same agonizied pains when their day of judgement comes, as these tiny, defenseless souls were forced to bear. May each, feel the wrath of brutality, as they to have participated one way or the other, for the crimes against humanity. Close your eyes, speak none, and silence is the only sound, will be your greatest fall from grace, here on earth and in the heavens. May God have no mercy on each of you, for your souls are empty and filled with nothing more then demonic gesture.

  30. She may not cover local crime stories, but apparently she could blogabout how many Americans are Irish-American.

    Well, it was for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure that’s a huge national policy event.

  31. FWIW on the front page of the Washington Post website right now is an article (with the usual bias) on Virginia’s attempt to enact inspections of clinics.

  32. molly — why not ask for the name of the editor, or editors, who is sitting on this story. that’s where the head of the snake lives.

  33. If it weren’t for safe, legal abortion, womyn would be getting them in filthy back-alley…ummm…yeah…oops…

  34. My real guess- is because the reporters themselves have been involved in abortion and don’t want to rip off the mental scars.

  35. There are two ways to lie. You can tell a deliberate untruth. Or you can remain silent about facts which would shock the world. The Nazis did both. The Washington Post does one, and perhaps the other.
    They have shredded their reputation as an competent ethical news paper.

  36. since i regularly read many different parts of the media, and since i was not aware of this case, i will accept your premise that there is a media bias against reporting this story. i think that you are also correct in saying that this story is of equal relevance, in terms of what is reported on the other side of the issue.

    that having been said, this story seems to be on a level with james kopp (which was widely reported). this is not a story that reflects on the larger policy implications of the abortion issue. IF, and i stress IF, the allegations against this man are true, then the issue is that one man was abusing his mandate. if one is to indict the entire abortion regime based upon the actions of one man who committed crimes, then one could similarly indict every field of commercial endeavour. there is a bad apple in every barrel. one bad doctor is not an indictment of abortions, per se, any more than james kopp is an indictment of every anti-abortionist.

    • But we REALLY don’t know how many more Gosnell’s there are, do we? Why? Because there is no coverage (“local news”, remember?) If one more Kopp shows up, you betcha there will be LOTS of coverage and…..whining……and calls to prevent picketing of abortion centers……..the whole bit. But NO ONE will point out this was one man, one time.

      Have you seen the pictures of Gosnell smiling? Yeah, really smiling! He knows he has insulation for his crimes from all the non-reporting of this “local news”.

      So whom do you think you are fooling with this “straw man” argument?

  37. “In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”–George Orwell
    Well, we certainly know few reporters and editors are revolutionary on the abortion issue. They clearly prefer to be part of “the time of universal deceit” on this issue.

  38. I find it really interesting that Obama was able to involve himself in the Dr.Gates story that resulted in a “beer summit” in the rose garden and that he made comments on the Trayvon Martin case but he can’t be asked about this case.

    • These guys beat non-mainstream media to the story by TWO YEARS, and you claim they’re late?

      No, pretrial coverage of the same case has nothing to do with coverage now.


  39. Readers and followers should post on media outlets’ FB and Twitter pages asking why they aren’t covering. If enough people did, they might take notice.

  40. Let’s cut through all the bullpoop: (1) The Steubenville, Ohio, rape trial was local crime and it received worldwide media coverage. Ditto when the Jefferson County grand jury convenes on Monday; (2) Mainstream media is not covering it because it is a black doctor aborting black fetuses/babies while a black — really biracial — man sits as President; (3) There is a forever child support crisis in every state. Combine that with unequal pay for unequal work, etc. and that acts as a major stimulus for women to abort their children; (4) Instead of focusing on financial inequality of women-who-work, the women’s movement in the 1960s focused on free love or sexual equality. All that did was hand to men on a golden platter exactly what they wanted. Abortions due to the aforementioned reason (no. 3) allow women to continue the free love mind set.
    Once a woman has a child she no longer treats her body as a semen dumping ground. When all women start making equal wages you will truly see a revolution in all areas of socio-political organization. IT is pitiful that a female reporter (given that she is not taking orders from a male superior) is dishing out bullpoop on this trial. Does the fault lie with her or the journalism schools in the country?

  41. Great piece of work. The hypocrisy of the left never ceases to amaze.

    The picture at the top is worth a million words. Too bad none will see the light of day in the NY Times or other liberal rags.

  42. Why does “What is the law?” echo in my head when I think of Planned Parenthood and MSM representatives like Ms. Kliff’s silent consent to Dr. Gosnell’s practice? The Island of Dr.Moreau morality becomes the norm in America. Mad scientists and doctors at work!

  43. Speaking of Koman, I wonder where they would be today if they had stuck to their guns. They would be swimming in pro-life money instead of groveling for forgiveness from Planned Parenthood sadists who never forgive. They caved to the corrupt media’s pressure, believing it was in their best interest.  Huge mistake. Now, not only won’t pro-life people donate to their abort-support charity (as truly worthy as it is otherwise), but abortionists have abandoned them, despite their backtracking. If they were smart they would change course again and dump Planned Parenthood and join the side of goodness. God would reward them tenfold.

  44. CBS reported on this back in 2011. There had been lots of complaints about this idiot, but the state dragged its feet investigating. The story didn’t have a lot of attention at CBS, but it didn’t at Fox either.

    I’m glad they got this guy, but I don’t think it has any more to do with finding the right abortion policy than Newtown has to do with finding the right gun policy.

  45. And isn’t the WP the same paper that accused Christians of being “Ignorant and easily led” In the 90s. It makes me wonder who are the ones who are easily led when we see the media all following their leaders. perhaps they need to be more open about who their leaders are?

  46. Every single news outlet has a bias. Every.single.one. THEY have an agenda, and so you do you. So does everyone. What makes you any different?

  47. MSM reporters have agendas and preferences, and coverage reflects that:
    1. The MSM hates guns, so will report all lurid gun deaths because that proves their narrative that “guns are icky.” The fact that overall gun deaths are actually down, school massacres are rare (and the worst school massacres were from bombs) is downplayed because the narrative is that “guns are bad in all cases.”
    2. The MSM has also spent decades showing how abortion is a wonderful thing. Please note: “abortion” is an ugly word, but those who support it are called “pro-choice,” two positive words. Opponents of abortion are denied their preferred description, “pro-life,” in favor of being called “anti-abortion,” so the ugly word sticks on them instead. (In NPR, the preferred nomenclature is “opponent of abortion rights,” just to pile on negative connotations). They have invested decades in showing that children on the other side of the womb are just clumps of tissue, even as science marches on and we find out (thanks to ultrasounds) that they start looking human quite early. The MSM has invested decades in saying that a person is a person only when their mother says they are. The MSM has invested decades in saying the only reason anyone would oppose abortion is because their minds are addled by religion and patriarchy (never mind such atheist abortion opponents as Nat Hentoff and David Harsyani, nor feminist opponents like Susan B. Anthony). The Gosnell case is repellant to them because it shows that the “clumps of cells” description doesn’t hold water when the “clump” is screaming and has to be put down with a scissors. After saying so many things about the nobility of abortion, they don’t like the cold, contradictory reality of it hitting them in the face like a wet fish, which the Gosnell case does. They can’t handle the cognitive dissonance: the case itself is repellant; and coverage may endanger the pro-abortion narrative they’ve spent so many decades constructing. This case is going to be ignored because the “right people” don’t want to hear about it.

  48. Great work Mollie. Interviewing journalists about their failed coverage of this topic is a very interesting angle. I wonder how many papers are brave enough to treat journalists as the subject of a story? I think the real story is the empty seats pictured. The more journalists ask hard questions of their peers, the better. I love seeing journalists quoted as the subject of an investigation. Perhaps if more bloggers and online news sites did this, there would be a bit more balance in the press.

  49. What Theodore said a few hours ago is absolutely right. I’ve worked in five newsrooms. Lots of reporters themselves have had abortions and don’t want to deal with the guilt.

  50. I’m just flat-out grateful for people like Mollie who call out the extreme hypocrisy of the media (and politicians) on their love for…”the children.” Love them when they are killed en masse by nuts with guns, ignore them when they are killed en masse by abortionists with any tool handy. Abortion has become such a golden calf for the left that there’s no one and no virtue they wouldn’t sacrifice to it.

  51. I am old enough to remember how for years, after WW2, people wondered how normal men and women in Germany could have so willingly engaged in such inhuman slaughter as occurred in the camps. Many thought there was a basic flaw in German culture that allowed participation in such horrors and that Americans could never be compelled to do such evil. We now know that there is no unique flaw in the German soul that is not shared by most of humanity, America included. It is obvious, for all who have eyes to see, that the pro abortion lobby has, by decades of labeling babies “fetuses” or non human “clumps of cells”, done its evil work and managed to desensitize many of our fellow citizens to the horror that was done in Philadelphia. The fact that literally dozens of “normal” working people could, over the years, so easily participate in their gruesome task tells us something very telling about how dehumanized we have all become.
    The pro abortion lobby has blood on their hands in this and the frightening thing is we have all been tainted by their evil acts. All can now clearly see that any time any human is treated as expendable it effects us all and we all lose, bit by bit, our own humanity. “Fetus” by “fetus” this goes on until many see nothing wrong with “snipping” a living babies head off.There is plenty of shame to go around in this affair but the true horror is that most are so ideologically rigid that they will refuse to see the evil being done in their name as they support the “pro death” lobby and so, nothing will change.

  52. William Saletan from Slate covered Gosnell in 2010 when he went to Grand Jury. Did you? You didn’t even credit him for coverage of this story TWO YEARS AGO. Please post a survey of where journalist coverage then. And major props to Saletan.

  53. Bravo Ms. Hemingway, for your tenacity and dedication in this appalling media bias. I, like many others, have lost faith in the mainstream media’s objective pursuit of truth. I first read coverage of the trial via the Drudge Report recently, and as someone who holds moderate views and respects a woman’s right to choose in EARLY STAGE ABORTIONS ONLY, I want to applaud you and your journalistic integrity. This story “changed me”. Every American deserves to know to know the truth here and reflect for themselves upon their personal beliefs. You are doing profoundly important work – keep it up!

  54. Actually, the Trevyon Martin case WAS nothing more than a local crime story until the ‘social media’ picked up on it and got the big money race baiters involved.
    Then the liberal media got involved and tried to manufacture a false ‘news’ story to fit their agenda, which, as we have come to find out, was a massive pack of lies about how poor ol’ Trevyon was a ‘good boy’ and a victim, and Zimmerman was a racist looking for any excuse to kill someone.
    The reality is that the liberal media has no desire to merely report the facts, but to force society to fall in line with their ideological views, and the ones who don’t are marginalized, or attacked as racists, bigots, mysoginists, and every other name in the book you can think of.

  55. Coming via Rod Dreher’s link: Ms. Hemingway, I have long admired the mere existence of “Get Religion”, and I generally let journalists have much leeway in criticizing each other…

    In this case, I must respectfully challenge you and your colleagues to comment on the legal consequences of ignoring or intentionally violating a legal gag order:

    “Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner’s order came during what was to have been a routine scheduling hearing and was followed by a dispute about why prosecutors searched the prison cell of Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, shortly after Lerner allowed her to be freed on bail.”

    “Lerner issued the gag order on his own initiative.”

    Lerner also explicitly states the need to avoid a trial by public opinion. I believe I am within my right — as opposed to the egregious righteousness on both sides of this issue — to condemn any attempt to thwart every citizen’s right to a fair trial… and really, I find myself unable to give even you the benefit of the doubt that your search failed to find the linked story from just two years ago.

    • Gag orders could not be more common in trial preliminaries such as this. There’s one on the Aurora shooting, for instance. However, and this is important, reporters aren’t ethically or legally bound by judge’s gag orders and there are, roughly, eleventy billion stories that could have been written during that time.
      Nevertheless, the gag order doesn’t apply to the actual trial which has had crazy updates each day.

    • Gag orders cannot be imposed on the press, only on those directly involved in the case. Any judge stupid enough to think otherwise would be overruled in an hour.

  56. There have been so many posts that I may have missed it, but nobody seems to the mentioning the Associated Press news service. Guess what you get from a search on their web site?

  57. Let’s cut to the chase here. Reporters cover what they are told to cover. It is the owners and executives of the papers who don’t want this covered. You can be sure that Kliff and other reporters do just as they are told.

  58. I know that this isn’t the point of GR, but I think at this stage that I would be surprised if the media does not start reporting on the Gosnell case (I feel like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football as I write this as I made similar statements on other bungled abortion stories the last twelve months and the media breezily lived down to the worst expectations that their critics expressed, but still). And I think your efforts on this will likely have been a factor in seeing a shift, Mollie.

    The internet age just doesn’t allow the media to control the public discourse the way it used to occur. They can push a story into the heart of the news cycle, but they can’t always exclude a story from the news cycle *if* the story is continuing for some time – after a while their sidelining of it as not ‘news’ becomes too studied and too difficult to justify.

    We now have other journalists not on this beat publicly indicating their disagreement with the lack of stories, and the guy in the Atlantic appearing to claim that he’s going to follow up his signficant discussion of the reporting of the story with interviews of editors to get their take on why they haven’t reported on the story. If this dam doesn’t break, it is going to damn the media for bias even further – whether or not they think that their (lack of) reporting decisions had any bias behind them.

  59. I wrote a number of posts two days ago. They aren’t here? Why? There’s an hour or two of my life that I can’t get back-and nothing to show for it. The comments were “awaiting moderation”. I guess the moderator determined they were not worthy of posting, though, after reading the other posts here, I can’t see why not.

  60. I’ve had a plan for a long time to write what I hoped would be a definitive pro-life piece. I’ve spent hundreds of hours thinking about it, mulling over different approaches. After reading many of the articles on the Gosnell case, in addition to pro-life arguments that have been posted in the past, I don’t know if there’s really any point. Using logic and appeals to the emotions of readers, which are likely to be more effective than cold logic, seems unlikely to succeed when the media is so antagonistic towards ANY pro-life sentiment. It’s disheartening, to say the least. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling infuriated (the use of that word would send up red flags to many in the media-oh oh, he could be dangerous) that there could be such an overwhelming majority of the press who are indifferent to the rights of the unborn-or even the born, in this case. Where IS their humanity? I’m not a conservative ideologue. You don’t have to be a conservative at all to understand that killing defenseless human beings, no matter their age, is wrong. It is mind-boggling how twisted someone’s thinking has to be to support abortion, except in very rare cases when saving the life of the unborn child would be impossible.

    The Gosnell case does have the potential to make many rethink their views on abortion. Why is what Gosnell did wrong while what Tiller did is right? Of course, it isn’t. The media buried Tiller’s history and actually praised him after he had been killed. If the details of this case were ever so slightly changed and someone had shot Gosnell, the MSM would have been singing his praises.

    If the MSM didn’t feel that they had a dog in the hunt when it comes to abortion, it would be much easier to change hearts and minds. To almost never have them writing or saying anything that is likely to save one unborn child makes the pro-life cause much harder than it would be if the press really was neutral. I think this horrific story has the potential to do more good for the rights of the unborn than possibly anything that has ever happened. EVER. Of course the MSM is terrifed to cover it! They are only covering it now because they have been shamed out of their silence by a liberal columnist writing in a publication that isn’t conservative. There is no way they can justify their lack of coverage but they certainly will try. I’m glad USA Today was willing to publish Powers’ piece at all. Kudos to them and to her. She still holds an indefensible position regarding abortion but it did take courage to write what she did. It’s interesting that somehow her column, which didn’t reveal anything that the editors of the MSM didn’t already know, suddenly made this story worthy of attention. Shame can be a wonderful motivator. I wonder how the NYT will handle this. They are as pro-abortion in their editorials as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, etc. So are most other newspapers. How do you cover a story that is likely to hurt the pro-abortion position, a position that you hold more dearly than any others. No matter how they will spin this as not being about abortion, it is certain to raise ugly questions about abortion, itself-and that is a nightmare, much more disturbing to them than the gruesome facts of the Gosnell case.

  61. The reality of abortion is that it is gruesome, it’s not pretty, it’s horrific.
    If a story makes us think about that……then let’s not cover it!

Close Ad