CBS News finally broke away from its coverage of dog news to alert its readers to the existence of Kermit Gosnell’s trial:
The gruesome trial of an abortion provider resumes in Philadelphia Monday. The doctor, Kermit Gosnell, is charged with killing a female patient and seven babies.
Gosnell’s name may not be familiar, and that makes some abortion opponents angry. The case has suddenly become a political firestorm. …
But outside the state, few have even heard about the allegations against Gosnell because his trial has received little national news coverage. CBS News reported on the story at the time it broke in 2011. Just last week, a column in USA Today accused the media of ignoring the story because of what it called a bias in favor of abortion rights. Those charges went viral on Twitter and were picked up by Republicans in Congress.
“Will the decades-long national news media cover-up of the brutality and the violence of abortion methods ever end?” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., asked.
Even Gosnell’s former attorney wondered where the media has been:
Criminal defense attorney William Brennan has been involved in many high-profile trials, and even represented Gosnell until the drug case became a murder case. He said, “A case involving a medical doctor charged with eight counts of murder. It would seem to me that just that fact pattern would make national news.”
Allahpundit posted on Friday about the NBC/WSJ poll that shows a majority of respondents opposed to legalizing most abortions, except those involving rape, incest, and a physical threat to the life of the mother. Could this be a result of the firestorm over the lack of coverage — or might it be a harbinger of what will come when the media gets shamed into reporting on Gosnell?
The split is still relatively narrow, but statistically significant, between general legality and general illegality. At 52/45, that’s outside the margin of error, and a big shift from just three months ago, when the same poll showed the split at 44/55. It’s a change of 18 points in the gap. This could be a reaction to the current coverage and the suddenly fierce debate on whether the media tells the truth about abortion. It also might be the start of a serious erosion for abortion rights, one that this trial will likely fuel as the details of Gosnell’s charnel house and the absolute determination of government regulators to avoid intervention become plain.
It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is what national media outlets feared. Thanks to a local reporter named J.D. Mullane and conservative media critics, they cannot avoid it any longer.
This brings me back to another “fact pattern” that should have received national attention — the racial disparity in treatment at Gosnell’s clinic, which Mullane highlighted in his piece yesterday:
Until the FBI raided his clinic in 2010, he had operated for 30 years at 3801 Lancaster Ave., in the clinic he called the “Women’s Health Society.”
There was little healthy about it. Bloody floors, dirty equipment. The filthy gynecological bed with stirrups on which Karnamaya Mongar went into cardiac arrest from a drug reaction, and later died, sat in the middle of the courtroom, in front of the jury.
Tina Baldwin testified that Gosnell treated women differently, based on their race. White women “with money” were taken to an “immaculate” upstairs room where Gosnell treated them personally. Poor black, Latino and other women were kept in the clinic’s dingy, dirty downstairs rooms, and were usually treated by medically unqualified staff.
Tina Baldwin said she asked Gosnell about why he treated white women differently from the others. She recalled him saying, “Sorry, but that’s how it is.”
Can you imagine the national outrage in the media had this treatment been observed at a pro-life clinic? Well, you’ll have to imagine it, because this is yet another story the national media isn’t telling. That’s also a “fact pattern” that demands observance.
Note: Cover image by editorial cartoonist Tim Hartman for the Beaver County Times.
Update: Elizabeth Scalia has more thoughts on the media going AWOL on a story, including Benghazi but also Barack Obama’s efforts to kill a bill that would have stopped Gosnells in Illinois, which the media didn’t bother to investigate for more than four years.