Gosnell, a doctor who ran two abortion clinics in the City of Brotherly Love, is currently on trial for eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, the illegal prescribing of drugs and other related offenses. If convicted, Gosnell faces the death penalty in Pennsylvania.
While conservative news sites and Fox News have covered the case heavily over the past few weeks, the mainstream media — with the exception of the Philadelphia papers and local network affiliates — have pushed it aside in favor of more important stories like Jay-Z’s and Beyonce’s recent trip to Cuba and former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s potential bid for mayor of New York City. In fact, as late as Friday night the NBC News flash page for the Philadelphia metro area didn’t include a single reference to the Gosnell trial.
It ultimately took an op-ed in USA Today Thursday by liberal political commentator Kirsten Powers for a major news publication to cover the story. As Powers noted, a Lexis-Nexis search of all the major national TV networks essentially failed to mention the trial in the last three months.
Soon afterwards, The Washington Post issued a mea culpa Friday night for failing to cover the trial sooner — that also skewered the networks and The New York Times for still choosing not to report on Gosnell’s trial — and CNN host Anderson Cooper tweeted the following Friday night as a preview to his show.
Some mainstream publications still doubted the seriousness of the trial, however. An article in The Daily Beast Friday — ironically discussing why the media is apologizing for its lack of coverage — claims that the story is too graphic and not controversial enough to warrant media attention. Salon went one step further, claiming that the mainstream media wasn’t covering up the story, but rather felt that it had milked the story enough when Gosnell was first arrested in 2011.
Essentially, the simple fact that the mainstream media has been forced to make amends for failing to do its job in the first place proves that pro-life activists were successful in doggedly pushing for coverage on the trial. The perseverance of organizations like the Media Research Center and National Right to Life have kept the story alive and brought the attention of Gosnell’s cruelties to the attention of the American people.
Recent studies have shown that a majority of Americans believe abortion is wrong, even if they consider themselves to be personally pro-choice. Hopefully the coverage of the Gosnell case — in whatever form it may be — will go a long way in making Americans rethink their decisions about abortion completely.