The Associated Press has been one of the few national media outlets providing at least some coverage of the Kermit Gosnell trial, presumably from their local partners, so they certainly deserve some credit for going where their competitors wouldn’t — at least not until recently. As with most news outlets following an ongoing story, the AP started looking for fresh angles to frame their stories. Last night, though, the AP sent out a wire story headlined “Philly abortion workers saw few options,” in which Maryclaire Dale focuses on the employment woes of Gosnell’s co-defendants to explain why they followed Gosnell’s orders in his charnel house.
In testimony at the capital murder trial this past month, an unlicensed doctor and untrained aides described long, chaotic days at the clinic. They said they performed grueling, often gruesome work for little more than minimum wage, paid by Gosnell under the table.
But for most, it was the best job they could find.
Unlicensed doctor Stephen Massof, 50, of Pittsburgh, said he could not get a U.S. medical residency after finishing medical school in Grenada and went to work for Gosnell as a “backup plan” after six years running a bar. He admitted killing two babies by snipping their necks, as he said Gosnell taught him to do.
Eileen O’Neill, 56, had worked as a doctor in Louisiana but relinquished her medical license in 2000 to deal with “post-traumatic stress syndrome,” according to her 2011 grand jury testimony. She is the only employee on trial with Gosnell, fighting false billing and racketeering charges.
Another went into the baby-spine-snipping industry, Dale tells us, because the government didn’t pay her disability benefits fast enough:
The others convicted include clinic workers Lynda Williams and Sherry West. Williams was hired to clean instruments but soon helped anesthetize patients, perform ultrasounds and carry out abortions, cutting babies in the back of the neck. She has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, which carries a 20- to 40-year prison sentence.
West, 53, had been a longtime surgical technician at the Veterans Administration but quit in 2007 after contracting Hepatitis C. A year later, still waiting on disability benefits, she went to work for Gosnell.
So … we are supposed to feel sympathy for them? One could understand if they took the job out of desperation, but left when they saw the conditions and the practice of killing live infants born after botched abortions. It might be more understandable if they had alerted authorities about both after leaving. Instead, though, these adults — most if not all of them well into middle age — made the conscious decision to get paid to endanger and maim women, at least one of whom died, and kill babies.
Sorry, but chronic unemployment doesn’t begin to explain that decision.
Meanwhile, the interest of the national media continues to belatedly grow for this ghastly horror show. Anderson Cooper picked up on one of the most obvious yet overlooked angles to this story, focusing on the lack of regulatory enforcement for nearly two decades of Gosnell’s operation that allowed his barbaric practice to continue:
When faced with a series of complaints about Gosnell’s abbatoir, what did the state and local government do? Cancel inspections of all abortion clinics, of course, a decision that Cooper notes had political reasons behind it.
In January 2011, shortly after Gosnell was charged, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams told CNN, “It was a house of horrors beyond any type of definition or explanation I can humbly try to give.”
Keeping Them Honest, the question is how did these alleged practices go on with no one stopping it? Tonight you’ll see how the grand jury laid out several oversight failures over two decades.
One glaring example in its report details a former employee of Gosnell who filed a complaint with the State Board of Medicine and exposed “the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedations; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street.”
It turns out in 2010, the FBI raided Gosnell’s facility after reports that painkillers were being improperly distributed. But what they allegedly found was much more gruesome.
Allahpundit has Jake Tapper’s look at the lack of media coverage in his QOTD, which Tapper called the “buried lede,” so don’t miss that. Along those lines, Erik Wemple at the Washington Post gives us a look at what happens when someone challenges the media on their editorial decisions, as he began doing over the last couple of days:
Several outlets continue in silence—at least vis-a-vis this blog—about their coverage calculus vis-a-vis Gosnell. No surprise there. Over nearly two years in this position, the Erik Wemple Blog has sampled a great deal of what comes out of the MRC/NewsBusters operation. Much of the time, it’s ticky-tack stuff — some fool misspeaks, another moron takes to Twitter, another lame-o imprudently generalizes about something. And then sometimes, it’s a bona fide media question.
On those occasions, the Erik Wemple Blog brings the matter to the attention of any allegedly offending news organization or journalist. At that point, a pretty common transaction unfolds. We are not at liberty to quote news organizations or journalists, but we can say that, when presented with questions that have their origins in MRC/NewsBusters research, the typical response is something along the lines of ”Get out of my face with this agenda-driven stuff, and come back when you have a real story.” …
Says Graham: “I am always willing to entertain, as a conservative media critic and as a former White House reporter, that there are many reasons why you don’t do a story.” But, says Graham, “our first job is to say it’s not being covered.” The first job of the media, it would appear, is to hunker down.
It seems so.