Media admit, deny Gosnell media blackout due to pro-abortion bias
PHILADELPHIA, April 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As three national networks cover the murder trial of aboritonist Kermit Gosnell, a reporter for The Washington Post has admitted the media's pro-abortion bias kept the story from breaking through their internal censors.
"I say we didn’t write more because the only abortion story most outlets ever cover in the news pages is every single threat or perceived threat to abortion rights,” wrote Melinda Henneberger of The Washington Post on Monday.
“In fact, that is so fixed a view of what constitutes coverage of that issue that it’s genuinely hard, I think, for many journalists to see a story outside that paradigm as news, even if that’s less a conscious decision than a reflex,” she wrote.
Her column came just days after the Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, said, “We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.”
Alexandra Sifferlin of Time denied her magazine had ignored the case, citing one 2011 story, but said, “it’s undeniable that media coverage, including our own, has picked up again after Powers’ brought the gruesome trial back into the spotlight.”
The plethora of national network, cable, and mainstream media stories about the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell prove the success of last Friday's “tweetfest,” which generated more than 166,800 tweets in 12 hours.
The CBS Evening News ran a story on Gosnell Sunday night. Anchor Charlie Rose began by asking, “Why have most of us never heard the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell?” Reporter Jan Crawford admitted “his trial has received little national news coverage” until allegations of media bias “went viral on Twitter.”
“In the Grand Jury report it indicates that it was political pressure, I guess pro-choice groups campaigning to stop” inspections of abortion facilities, Cooper said. He later said the failures of state inspectors “bears further investigation.”
Joseph Slobodzian, a reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer, replied that he did not know why state officials did not follow up after “trying to restrict abortion in every way they can.”
Earlier that day, Slobodzian told CNN's Jake Tapper that as a medical professional Kermit Gosnell “served the community. If you couldn't pay, you got your medical care for free.”
Many reporters denied there was a media blackout, among them another of Cooper's guests, Jeffrey Toobin.
“I don't buy that at all,” Toobin said, saying there was certainly no censorship at CNN or The New Yorker, where he works.
“I have some sense of mainstream New York” media opinion, he said.
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“We are not operating with a political agenda here,” he insisted. “I think that's a way of trying to ginning up [sic] their supporters.”
Altrogge disagreed. “I do think it's because we're uncomfortable talking about the issue of abortion,” he said, “and unfortunately because we haven't talked about it, these women and these babies are being forgotten.”
Slobodozian, who appeared via Skype, rolled his eyes, and Toobin looked displeased when Cooper asked Altrogge to give the website of his documentary, 3801Lancaster.com, so his audience could see the film.
More coverage followed on Monday morning, as MSNBC's Morning Joe aired a full segment on the trial that including hard questions for former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Even White House spokesman Jay Carney called reports of the facility “unsettling,” although he declined further comment.
Ebony magazine, which leans heavily to the Left, linked to Conor Friedersdorf's piece in The Atlantic.
Many believe the trial had not been covered because of the media's inherent political bias. “We believe the media want to prevent public-relations damage to the abortion industry, in the same way we believe the media want to inflict public-relations damage on other institutions – say, the Catholic Church,” said Tim Graham of the Media Research Center.
Others gave conflicting explanations of why the media had not covered what one writer called “the trial of the century.”
Paul Farhi of The Washington Post intimated its lack of coverage as compared to the Jodi Arias trial may be for the “banal” reason that Gosnell does not allow cameras in the courtroom. Richard Prince of TheRoot.com wrote that “ the Gosnell story — and it is a horrifying, grisly one — is also a story about race and the media.”
Others stated the dearth of stories sprang from the nation's lack of interest in Philadelphia. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote, “It could be because it's a Philadelphia story, and the national media doesn't usually give a lot of time to local cases like this.”