The trial details are nothing short of sensational: A doctor accused of killing seven newborns and a young woman at a filthy Philadelphia clinic strewn with body parts and described as a “slaughterhouse.”
It’s big news in Philadelphia, but nationally, not so much. The lack of coverage is a problem for a growing chorus of conservative and media critics, who allege that the scant national media attention can be attributed not to the courtroom drama but the politics of abortion.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist, meaning that any coverage of the trial risks painting the pro-choice movement in an unflattering light. In a statement issued last week, 20 conservative leaders called for an end to what they described as a “media blackout” and “censoring” of the trial for political reasons.
“The horrific excesses of the abortion industry exemplified by Gosnell and Planned Parenthood are major, national news stories any way you look at them. But the pro-abortion liberal media are determined to hide them from the public,” said the April 4 statement led by the conservative Media Research Center and signed by former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, columnist Kellyanne Conway and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
“The media have a solemn duty to the American people to report the news, not just news that helps the positions they support. It’s unprofessional, it’s disgusting, and it’s inhuman,” the statement said.
MRC also reports that there has been no network coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR or PBS, and just one brief mention on CNN.
“It’s unbelievable that Dr. Gosnell’s trial for his actions inside his ‘house of horrors’ haven’t drawn one network story,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in a March 26 column decrying the lack of coverage.
Forbes columnist Mike Ozanian said that the controversy surrounding Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice, who was shown on video abusing players and using vulgar language during practice, had received far more national attention than the Gosnell trial.