Johanna Dasteel


Poll: Gosnell trial 'one of the least followed news stories Gallup has measured'

Johanna Dasteel

PHILADELPHIA, May 14, 2013, ( – Despite having all the elements of the “trial of the century,” a lack of media coverage has made the capital murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell “one of the least followed news stories” the Gallup polling form has ever covered.

Only 25 percent of Americans polled report that they have followed the Gosnell “very closely” or “somewhat closely,” according to a survey released on May 10.

Gallup reports that level is “well below the 61 percent average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991.”

Kermit Gosnell was convicted on Monday of three counts of first-degree murder for killing three newborns. Today, Judge Jeffrey Minehart sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences.

Jurors also unanimously agreed that he committed involuntary manslaughter in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, and violated scores of other laws including statutes against infanticide, conspiracy, and falsifying evidence.

A whopping 54 percent of Americans saying they are not following the case “at all.”

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Graphic pictures and eyewitness testimony about the murders of “hundreds” of newborn babies were initially reported only by bloggers and local news outlets.

The nauseating details about Gosnell's West Philadelphia “house of horrors” made its way into the mainstream media only after a pro-life “Tweetfest” generated more than half-a-million messages on Twitter.

Even after Anderson Cooper hosted a CNN special on the Gosnell case, mainstream media coverage remained minimal, apart from a Fox News Channel special that aired last Friday.

That may explain why the poll found that “nearly half of those following the case, 46 percent, say the media have not devoted enough coverage to it.”

Surprisingly, more than four-times as many people who described themselves as "pro-life" were not following the story (47 percent) as were following it (11 percent).

The polling was taken during Gallup's regular semiannual survey of opinions on the legality of abortion.

The results remained virtually unchanged from last year.

Gallup theorizes that the Gosnell case has not swayed public opinion on abortion because of the lack of media attention.

A majority of Americans, 58 percent, want abortion illegal in all or most circumstances. Forty nine percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances.

Some 26 percent of Americans still want unrestricted abortions with 38 percent favoring permissions for abortions in only a few circumstances. Another 20 percent believe abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Pro-life activists have charged the mainstream media with ignoring the Gosnell trial over fears that publicity will hurt the cause of legal abortion.

A reporter for the Bucks County (PA) Courier Times who was present in the courtroom through the duration of the trial suggested that their fears are well-founded.

J.D. Mullane, whose Twitter account became the go-to place for breaking updates on the case, told Governor Mike Huckabee during a Fox News interview the case transformed one reporter who covered it.

“There is one journalist sitting in that courtroom who writes for a local publication who has told me that he is very liberal, very pro-choice, but after sitting through the testimony in the Gosnell trial, he's reconsidered. He's changed his mind,” he said.

“That's the power of the Gosnell trial.”

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