What’s there to ignore?
Recently, main steam media outlets began to admit their mistake in ignoring the murder trial of abortion provider, Kermit Gosnell (see article from The Washington Post). In a video segment from Huffington Post Live, Mark Lamont Hill gave the following explanation:
“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.”
A bad idea. Dangerous. But that’s the way it is.
Why would it be a bad idea to, according to one Washington Post reporter, “not [cover] local crime”?
In the case of Kermit Gosnell, the “local crime” of killing numerous live children by severing their spinal cord with scissors is tantamount to mass murder — after all, he is on trial for the murder of those seven children and at least one woman. Ordinarily, that alone would qualify him a as serial killer. But if that were the case, one would think this “local crime” ought to garner national media attention.
Thus, the media has begun to respond to inquiries as to why they ignored the issue. As one might expect, the response has been widely diversified. Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics distinguishes 4 different responses:
(1) They admitted fault, and openly addressed the underlying problem. This was the course taken by Huffington Post Live host Marc Lamont Hill. “For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights,” he said. “Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.”
(2) They could skip the mea culpa, but attempt to make amends in their coverage. This is the course Washington Post appeared to take. Top editor Martin Baron rejected the conspiracy explanation, but vowed to start covering the trial, and said the Post probably should have done so all along.
(3) They could, as did the New York Times, claim that a confluence of coincidences had conspired against them; that, yes, they probably should have covered the Gosnell trial, but they maintain that this failure proves nothing.
(4) They could double-down, and essentially act as an advocate for abortion providers. This was the road traveled by MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. In an eight-minute segment on that show, Matthews dispensed with any talk of journalism ethics. Instead, he attacked the actions and motivations of Republican state legislatures seeking to chip away at the Roe decision by outlawing third — or even second — trimester abortions.
Whether you are outraged or not, it’s no surprise that MSM failed to cover the Gosnell trial, until now. What is surprising is that most of them are now admitting that they should have covered it. Why?
Okay, it’s a murder trial. The nature of this particular murder trial also reveals the graphic horror of what goes on inside an abortion clinic. It reveals that keeping abortion “safe and legal” is merely a slogan, when the reality happens to be quite the opposite — and the media is covering this up, due to its silent complacency. By sticking to their hardline policy of acting as abortion advocates, in the name of women’s health and reproductive rights, they choose to condone murder, rather than report it.
As reporter Marc Hill admits, “those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights.” But “this trial” is a murder trial. So whose rights are really being violated here?
The answer: Yours.
Not to mention the murder victims, of course. But the duty of investigative journalism is to inform the public about things they would not ordinarily know by themselves. Think of how much light thorough and professional journalism could shed on what actually occurs during an abortion procedure, how safe they really are, how many women die a year as a result of botched abortions.
The problem as they see it is that once you start to associate the word abortion with “death” and “baby” and “child,” you start to sound like… a pro-life advocate (as opposed to a murder advocate).
There is no way to get around making that association in the case of Kermit Gosnell. And that is why they chose to ignore it.
For a contrasting opinion, you can read The Washington Post’s rationale for not covering the story