Willfully blind to the media bias against Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer

By Dave Andrusko

Elsewhere today we’ve reposted a story from Newsbusters, based on information provided by the co-producers of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer talk about the latest from the New York Times.

In a word it is still another example of the hurdles, obstacles, and attempts to slow-walk anything that will alert the public to the current showing of a movie that tells the story of thrice-convicted murderer, abortionist Kermit Gosnell. (For a list of theatres where it is still showing, go to gosnellmovie.com/theaters.)

We’ve written about those impediments, driven by pro-abortion bias, dozens of times. Still another twist is to absolutely misrepresent what Gosnell is about (the film is not the least bit gory, although what Gosnell did to full-term babies after he aborted them alive provided many opportunities) and to trivialize legitimate complaints of a media blackout.

Enter “Why the Right-Wing Press Is Obsessed With This Gory Indie Thriller,” a piece that ran on Slate  written by Ruth Graham.

This is hugely disappointing, not just because it reinforces a reassuring myth the pro-abortion readers of the pro-abortion Slate ascribe to — that they needn’t see the film — or because it clouds the content of the film. It’s also disappointing because Graham has proven she is able to do better.

So what is our gripe with her story? For starters, as noted above, there is limitless potential for goriness in the Gosnell movie but none taken. The Grand Jury report included shocking photos of full-term, or nearly full-term babies, whose spinal cords Gosnell had severed. And, as we talked about over the years, there was blood everywhere and women moaning in unbelievable amounts of pain.

Then there is the issue of media bias. Graham concedes the film accurately portrays the virtual complete absence of media attention to the trial in the beginning:

The mainstream media’s lack of interest in the case is a major theme in the movie. In one dramatic scene, the prosecutors prepare for the first day of the trial by discussing how they’ll navigate the hordes of media they expect to greet them at the courthouse. When they arrive, the courthouse steps are empty and so are the multiple benches reserved for the press inside the courtroom. (This detail is based on a photo of empty seats that circulated on conservative sites during the trial.) Things turn around thanks to a feisty tattooed blogger and a major story in the “USA Post” — perhaps a nod to a Kirsten Powers column in USA Today that drew attention to the case at the time.

But Graham then cleverly switches over to what she considers co-producer McAleer’s, a former investigative journalist, overwrought charges of media bias. However the issue isn’t whether McAleer “is an experienced conservative provocateur,” but whether his allegations were and are true. (Guess what? They are!)

This allows Graham to concede media bias – “It’s true that many media outlets ignored the Gosnell story for too long” — but immediately imply that once Powers shamed the institutional media into covering the trial in Philadelphia, reporters came in waves.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as Newsbusters wrote about at the time:

Well that didn’t last long. In fact, it barely happened at all. After a month of ignoring the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of murdering one woman and seven infants, it looked like the media had been shamed into covering the story.

Barely. Even after the most gruesome detail in a trial full of them came out – a baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out” – the silence resumed. In fact, the only major news outlet that bothered to report on that testimony was The Chicago Tribune. CNN.com mentioned it, it got no air time.
The Gosnell trial has returned to the obscurity the pro-abortion media hoped all along to preserve.

What coverage there was started on Thursday April 11 when The Washington Post discovered the story (though the Post mainly engaged in media navel-gazing over the lack of coverage, and allowed its executive editor to claim he’d never heard of the trial). CNN began covering it on Friday, April 12, and CBS gave it play on This Morning the following Monday. And on Wednesday, April 17, Savannah Guthrie included a question about the case in a long, wide-ranging interview with President Obama.

There endeth the coverage.

ABC has never once mentioned Gosnell. CBS hasn’t followed up, and NBC has yet to do any reporting on the story. Yes, the Post is covering it, but in the most antiseptic of ways. On Sunday, April 21, it published a piece titled, “Problems at Pa. abortion clinic point to lack of facilities oversight.”

One other point. Graham’s not so subtle thesis is that the “Right-Wing press” (which unfairly sweeps in many pro-life outlets, such as this one) were busy elevating “its own oppression” and having done so making it easy to turn stumbling blocks into stairs.”

That is to say, McAleer and McElhinney are making mountains out of molehills. This is grotesquely inaccurate.

We’ve talked previously about just some of those, along with today’s post on the New York Time’s unfair treatment. The list of examples is as long as your arm.

If you believe all that is not pro-abortion media bias or not proof-positive that Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer has been treated with deliberate malevolence, then you are willfully blind.