Mainstream media finally shamed into reporting Kermit Gosnell story

Next assignment – blame the GOP for not providing enough funding to keep this from happening.

Yes, that’s satire.  But seriously, is there anyone out there who really believes that this won’t happen?  It’s just how the mainstream media works.

Unless you rely solely on the mainstream media or low information news outlets (The Daily Show, TMZ) for your “news,” you are no doubt aware of the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  He is currently on trial in Philadelphia, charged with 7 counts of first degree murder stemming from allegations that hundreds of late term illegal abortions were performed in his squalid clinic, which can only be described as an abattoir for the unborn.

Photo of the media reserved seating at the Kermit Gosnell trial, Tweeted April 11th by Bucks County Courier Times columnist J.D. Mullane

Photo of the media reserved seating at the Kermit Gosnell trial, Tweeted April 11th by Bucks County Courier Times columnist J.D. Mullane

Yet there has been a virtual blackout of the Gosnell trial in the national news media.  Philadelphia TV stations and newspapers have covered the trial, but the story has been completely off the radar of major mainstream news media outlets.

Until now, that is.

For most of this week, there has been an intense social media campaign about the Gosnell trial, culminating yesterday with a barrage of over 25,000 Tweets tagged with Gosnell’s name.  The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher tweeted – “Maybe the media would jump on the Kermit Gosnell story if Sarah Palin tweeted about him and misspelled his name.”  And from Iowahawk’s David Burge – “What Romney did with a scissors in 1965: 20 acres of front page. What Gosnell did with a scissors: crickets.”

Kirsten Powers first broke the mainstream media silence on Thursday with her powerful USA Today op-ed, “Philadelphia abortion clinic horror: we’ve forgotten what belongs on Page One“.

Ms. Powers’ confession then prompted The Atlantic’s Connor Friedersdorf to pen this lengthy article: “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should be a Major News Story.”  If you’re looking for details about the horrors of Gosnell’s clinic, this piece is chock-full of them.

And yesterday, Terry Moran from ABC News tweeted, “Kermit Gosnell is probably the most successful serial killer in the history of the world.”

So what will the mainstream media do?  As Friedersdorf notes in his story, there are numerous details about the Gosnell case that literally beg for a major investigation.  Why did various state agencies know about Gosnell’s clinic for nearly two decades, yet do nothing?  How could Gosnell’s clinic take in nearly two million dollars a year, yet make Cuban hospitals look luxurious?  Why were white women allegedly led to a clean, quiet area of the clinic for their procedures?  Did other clinics repeatedly refer women to Gosnell’s clinic because they knew he would perform illegal late term abortions with no questions asked?  And most importantly, how many more filthy abortion mills like Gosnell’s clinic are out there?

Certainly there will be a lot of “we accept responsibility, but not the blame” naval-gazing.  The Washington Post has already admitted, “In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.”

But I think the real issue here involves the almost sacramental status of abortion among committed leftists.  There is literally nothing more sacred to liberals than guaranteeing that as many abortions are performed as possible.  The Gosnell trial is a sobering reminder of what can happen when the media decides that protecting the practice of abortion is more important than the lives and safety of newborns and poor women.

Dr. Gosnell’s case bears a striking similarity to allegations brought against Dr. Patrick Chavis, who was tragically murdered in 2002.  Dr. Chavis was worshiped by affirmative action supporters because he was one of the minority students admitted to The University of California, Davis medical school during the famous Bakke incident that led to the landmark 1978 US Supreme Court ruling that race quotas for university admission were unconstitutional.

During the 1990’s, Chavis was cited for numerous ethics violations and use of improper procedures during the practice of medicine.  His primary practice was a clinic that specialized in abortions, located in one of Compton’s poorest neighborhoods.  For this reason, along with the fact that Chavis always counter-sued, alleging any racism any time complaints were filed against him, he was essentially left alone by authorities – until one of his patients died due to his incompetence.  Her death opened up a formal investigation into Chavis and his off-site shade tree liposuction clinic (for which he was never properly trained or licensed) and led to the revocation of his medical license in 1998.  Yet despite the suffering of his patients, Chavis was never criminally charged for any of his wrongdoings.

At the heart of both the Gosnell and Chavis stories is the myth that abortion is a safe  and ethical procedure practiced by competent, caring doctors in clean, modern clinics.  Indeed we are told by the keepers of the culture that Roe v. Wade guarantees this, because it eliminated “back-alley coat hanger abortions.”  Threaten the status of Roe v. Wade, and the first thing you hear from hysterical liberals is OH MY GOD!!  BACK ALLEY ABORTIONS!!!!!!

Yet Gosnell and Chavis both operated bona fide “back alley” clinics, filled with unsterilized equipment, bloody linens, filthy rooms, and unqualified personnel.

Another sacred leftist myth involves late-term and partial birth abortions, which abortion advocates insist are extremely rare and only performed when absolutely medically necessary.  Yet the Gosnell case clearly shows that his clinic performed perhaps thousands of these procedures, with at least dozens — documented by eyewitness testimony — that involved killing still living, viable premature babies as long as 20 minutes after their birth.

Regardless of what you believe about the ethics of in utero abortion, this gruesome fact should be cause for widespread outrage among anyone capable of empathy.  Not to mention the fact that poor women of color were the primary victims of Gosnell’s carelessness and incompetence.  Women’s rights and civil rights advocates should be furious.  And the national media should be leading their daily news coverage with this story.

But they weren’t.  The fact that they had to be shamed into finally reporting the story should make us question whether today’s news organizations are only interested in reporting the suffering of children and minorities if it helps to establish the leftist/progressive narrative.  The Gosnell case certainly doesn’t, and obviously there were deliberate decisions made to spike the story.

Jonah Goldberg writes,

I think the mainstream media stayed away from this story as much as it did because it had already locked into the position that partial-birth abortion is a right-wing bogeyman. If they covered the outrages that the feminists are understandably furious about, they would also have to mention somewhere in the reporting the fact that a whole bunch of actual babies were being cut up. The feminists don’t think that’s a problem. They just just want to make sure it’s done under more equitable and sanitary conditions. But the mainstream media understands that it is a problem — for them.

It’s a “problem” because most Americans have a conscience.  And as Commentary Magazine’s Seth Mandel notes, a mainstream press that would deliberately suppress the Kermit Gosnell story out of fear of exposing the truth about abortions, at the expense of the health and safety of the women who suffered at his blood-soaked hands, “should most certainly stop lecturing the rest of us on compassion, on pity, on social obligation, and on morality.”

UPDATE: An Instapundit.com reader writes, “The legacy media won’t cover the Kermit Gosnell case because they understand it could be utilized by anti-abortion activists in the way anti-Second Amendment activists utilized the Sandy Hook murders.”  Amen.

This post has been slightly edited for clarity since it was first published.

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