Silence and the Gosnell fiasco

Perhaps you’ve read the details of the Kermit Gosnell trial, which sounds like something straight out of a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" plot.

“That’s when he used to go ahead and do the suction in the back of the neck," “the cervical spine was cut,” “the doctor just slit the neck" — the list could go on.

The statements above come from eyewitness accounts from the grand jury report on the Philadelphia abortion provider.Since the beginning of the trial last month, more evidence has poured out describing the activity inside Gosnell’s clinic.

For just a moment, let’s remove the details above from the abortion clinic and place them instead in a nursing home.Picture it: a doctor “snipping” necks and suctioning brain matter for the sake of convenience.

Can you imagine the public frenzy that would ensue if such a story ever broke?

The reality is, the story of the Gosnell abortion clinic differs from the nursing home example in geography alone. Where is the frenzy?

The general muteness in the world of high-profile media outlets is concerning and frightening. Given the media’s tendency to leap at “if it bleeds it leads” headlines, as American Spectator's senior editor John Fund put it, the fact that there is not more coverage of this is even more astonishing. Think of the coverage of the Newtown shooting or the Boston bombing.

Newsweek columnist and Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers wrote a column in USA Today, castigating the media for its lack of coverage in a story which she claims “should be front page news.”

In her view, it shouldn’t matter what side of the abortion debate you stand.

“You don't have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy,” Powers wrote.

So why haven’t we been beaten over the head with this story like so many of the other stories of violence that seize our attention? In a word, fear.

Those who support abortion rights — specifically many of those same media outlets Powers refers to in her article — are afraid of risking coverage for the sake of their political ideologies.

In a column for the National Review, Fund credits Powers for her courage and paraphrases her thought that “many people at both ends of the political spectrum wear ideological blinders.”

Pious devotion to political platforms makes individuals — on both the right and the left — blind to the real issue at hand.

In failing to adequately report on a story that screams horror and tragedy on every level, the media allows political reverence to override the truth.

The truth is, what happened inside that Philadelphia abortion clinic and the evidence that now stands in the public eye is disgusting and repulsive.

One of the few reporters at the trial questioned one of the court staffers as to the lack of coverage, to which the man pointed at a filthy piece of equipment from the clinic:“If you’re pro-choice, do you really want anyone to know about this?”

It’s a shame, really, that in a country that claims to promote liberty and justice for everyone, a story that reeks of the degradation of human dignity fails to make the list.

As Powers more eloquently put it, “The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.

 

Reach the columnist at mrrich2@asu.edu or on twitter @cshmneyrichard


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.