April 14, 2013

Snortworthy Myth: ‘Conservative’ Media Almost as Culpable as Broadcast Networks in Ignoring Gosnell Trial

UPDATE, 3:45 P.M. — Mark Steyn has more to say at The Corner about the misdirection of Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald and the lack of Gosnell media coverage.

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One of the more bizarre memes propagated by the proabort left about the trial of Kermit Gosnell, who “faces 43 criminal counts, including eight counts of murder in the death of one patient, Karnamaya Monger, and seven newborn infants,” is that Fox News and conservative media in general have been almost as negligent in covering the story and the trial as the Big Three broadcast networks.

Through Monday evening, April 8, the Media Research Center’s Matt Philbin noted that Gosnell’s trial “has received exactly zero seconds of airtime on the broadcast networks.” In a pathetic attempt at a response on Friday, Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald and several others are trying to claim that “conservative” outlets have also virtually ignored the trial. Seitz-Wald’s own text shows that his argument is weak, as seen in excerpts following the jump.

First, the Salon writer went after conservative politicians (bolds are mine throughout this post):

On Gosnell “blackout,” where were conservatives before this week?
While they blame the liberal media for ignoring the story, conservatives have mostly missed it themselves

A search of the Congressional Record for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) turns up zero mentions for Gosnell, while a search of the current 113th Congress finds three — all from yesterday.

“I’m here today to talk about an uncomfortable subject which no one seems to want to talk about,” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry said on the floor yesterday. “The media doesn’t want to talk about it — not NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC, not Fox, and not the leaders of our Nation, not the President.”

But where was Perry until Thursday? Or, for that matter, where were the other two lawmakers who spoke out yesterday, Texas Republican Roger Williams and New Jersey’s Chris Smith?

This vapid criticism would only make sense if politicians, who as we all know have a hard enough time competently carrying out the jobs they were elected to do, had time to be media monitors. But they don’t.

Then Seitz-Wald went after the “conservative” media (links are in original):

What about the conservative media? A search of TVEyes finds that Fox News mentioned the case just a handful of times. Special Report With Bret Baier included brief updates on the trail in its roundup of the day’s news on several nights over the past month, while Mike Huckabee aired a taped segment followed by a panel discussion on his weekend show late last month, but it’s hardly been leading news. The “Obama phone” got far more coverage.

A search of the National Review’s website shows it’s written little on Gosnell, while the Weekly Standard has done three pieces (the magazine has run six stories on Justin Bieber). To its credit, Breitbart.com, which decried “a full-blown, coordinated blackout throughout the entire national media” has written plenty about Gosnell. But Twitchy, the Michelle Malkin-backed conservative Twitter-activism site that has been haranguing the media for not covering the case, didn’t offer its first real mention until March 19.

And I couldn’t find anything from Fox contributor Kirsten Powers on Gosnell from before this week. She kicked off this whole conversation with a USA Today Op-Ed.

So the Salon writer concedes that Fox has had “brief updates” on the case (more on that in a bit), that National Review and the Weekly Standard have had several items (he originally claimed that National Review was ignoring it, and had to issue a correction), and that Breitbart.com is all over it. As to Twitchy.com, if its first mention was really March 19, that’s three weeks ago, and happens to be, well, the day after the trial actually began – meaning that Michelle Malkin’s site has been on the story since the start of substantive proceedings.

Keep in mind that all of this coverage self-identified by Alex Seitz-Wald contrasts with absolutely zero airtime on the Big 3 broadcast networks through Monday evening. On Friday, Dylan Byers at Politico appeared to take as given that the non-coverage streak continued through at least Thursday evening.

As to Seitz’s alleged “brief updates” at Fox, it wasn’t particularly difficult to find a “brief update” of two minutes and 27 seconds aired over two weeks ago during the March 28 edition of “Special Report.” The full transcript follows, so as to further expose the outrageous claim being made by proaborts that Gosnell’s House of Horrors is entirely the fault of the … wait for it … prolife movement, prolife leglislation, and a “stigmatizing” culture (auto-generated transcript was edited by me to accurately reflect the audio and to identify speakers):

Trial of Dr. Gosnell stirring emotions in abortion debate

Chris Wallace: A Pennsylvania late term abortion provider which has received little national attention outside of this network is getting more intense by the day with shouting and other disruptions in the courtroom.

The facts of the case and the bigger issue are stirring emotions on both sides of the abortion debate. Correspondent Molly Henneberg has more.

Henneberg: Testimony today and earlier this week in the trial of abortion provider Doctor Kermit Gosnell focused on how and why 41 year-old immigrant Karnamaya Mongar died during an abortion at Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic in 2009.

Gosnell is charged with her murder, and with the murder of seven infants, who prosecutors say were born alive at his clinic during late-term abortions, and then killed by Gosnell and his staff by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.

Gosnell has pleaded not guilty.

And now prochoice advocates are going on the offensive in the wake of this case.

The latest salvo: A newspaper op-ed this week written by Kate Michelman the former president of NARAL Prochoice America, arguing that women turn to Gosnell’s rogue clinic because of, quote, “Medicaid’s refusal to cover most abortions, the scarcity of providers in Pennsylvania, fear of violent protesters, and a right wing culture that has stigmatized abortion.”

Prolife groups are firing back, saying they are pushing for more regulations on abortion and abortion clinics to make sure women don’t receive substandard care.

Anna Franzanello, Americans United for Life: Gosnell’s clinic is the result of Roe vs. Wade and unregulated abortion. This is, Gosnell’s clinic is as a result of putting cash and access to abortion above women’s health and safety.

Henneberg: Fox News contacted several prochoice groups for an interview and all declined.

But Michelman contends that her op-ed that, quote, “The long-term impact of burdening and stigmatizing abortion care could be that the most vulnerable women will once again have to risk their health and lives to get what should be a completely safe and common medical procedure.”

But it’s not safe, prolife advocates warned. Americans United for Life said these fifteen states (AL, CA, DE, FL, IL, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NM, ND, PA, TX — Ed.) have launched investigations into abortion providers just in the past two years.

Franzanello: Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors is unfortunately not an anomaly.

Henneberg: The trial ended early today for the Easter holiday weekend but will continue next week.

The jury is not expected to get the case until late April.

Understatement of the day: That’s hardly a “brief update,” Alex.

I guess Kate Michelman’s “logic” explains why the Associated Press has applied its “Reproductive Rights” tag to most of its stories about the Gosnell trial.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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