Did Media Learn Lesson on Abortion Reporting?
“We’ve forgotten what belongs on Page One,” USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers said of the case against Philadelphia late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell’s staff testified to witnessing and participating in atrocities including beheading infants, and he has since been convicted on three counts of first-degree murder. Conservative religious Americans and pro-life advocates had been following the Gosnell story since before he was arrested, but much of the mainstream media barely reported on the case until Powers published her expose in the April 11, 2013 issue of USA Today. According to Media Research Center, there was no network coverage of the story prior to this on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, or PBS, and only one mention on CNN. According to a Fox News poll, 57 percent of Americans said they believed the lack of coverage was due to media bias.
Once Powers upped the ante by shaming the mainstream media in such a public forum, some outlets course corrected. Charlie Rose devoted a segment to the trial the following Sunday that began by asking, “Why have most of us never heard the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell?” And in a moment of candor, The Washington Post lamented having ignored the story.
“In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner,” said Martin Baron, executive editor of the Post.
But pro-abortion advocates weren’t convinced that the story deserved a brighter spotlight, claiming the Gosnell horrors were an aberration.
"Gosnell is an extreme outlier when it comes to medical practice or abiding by the law," said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.
So will the Gosnell controversy serve as a wake-up call to the mainstream media on abortion reporting, or will they side with Saporta and double down?
We’re about to find out.