The national media aren’t interested in telling the story of a man accused of butchering women and slaughtering babies, but at least local news outlets are still in the news-reporting business. Delaware Online has a reporter assigned to the trial of Kermit Gosnell, and Sean O’Sullivan of the News Journal provided this low-budget video wrap-up of the testimony of a key witness. Lynda Williams helped Gosnell “ensure the fetal demise” of the babies that resulted from his botched late-term abortions, and got into an argument with Gosnell’s defense attorney about whether the babies were actually alive at all:
Attorneys sparred today over whether the child whose neck Lynda Williams said she “snipped” at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic was alive or dead at the time.
Gosnell’s defense attorney John McMahon also brought out on cross examination that the 44-year-old Williams, of Wilmington, never saw movement, breathing or any other signs of life in the 30 or so other fetuses that she said she saw Gosnell cut the spinal cords of to ensure “fetal demise.”
But Williams ultimately stuck to her testimony that she saw independent movement in a child that she said she cut the neck of on Gosnell’s orders and that what was going on at Gosnell’s clinic was wrong.
I understand that Gosnell’s attorney has a duty to present a robust defense of his client, and that there isn’t any rational defense to be found. However, this is sophistry at its worst. If the babies were dead, Gosnell wouldn’t have directed his staff to chop their spinal columns at the neck, would he? The direction to do so shows that Gosnell’s state of mind was concern that the babies would survive, and his response to ensure they didn’t demonstrates his intent to kill.
These are the kinds of details, though, that most media would find fascinating in any other criminal trial. Kirsten Powers makes the same point in a column at USA Today this morning, wondering why national media outlets can’t find room to discuss a butcher who maimed women and the government agencies that looked the other way:
It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart. …
A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segmenton Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.
The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial andThe New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.
Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams intoned, “A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,” as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.
You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.
Indeed. Powers calls the silence “a disgrace,” but it’s a revealing disgrace.