At the prodding of savvy media watchers, the Internet is bursting with questions as to why the mainstream media hasn’t done more — or anything, really — to cover the Philadelphia trial of abortion provider and unlicensed doctor Kermit Gosnell. For example: NewsBusters, a conservative outlet that scouts the airwaves for signs of bias, has already compiled a collection of stories on the omissions. Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers, in a USA Today column, shamed the media for not paying attention to the courtroom drama in Philly.
The pressure is working. Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic today published a long story titled: “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story.” The piece goes through the various reasons — abuse of women, killing of babies, failure of government oversight and so much more — that news organizations should give prominent placement to the Gosnell trial. Friedersdorf held off on any judgments on why the media has made its various coverage decisions, pending a survey of “some of the editors and writers making coverage decisions.”
Good luck, Friedersdorf!
As the Gosnell thing started exploding yesterday, the Erik Wemple Blog began reaching out to various news organizations in search of interviews on how they view the case. We’ve contacted ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, The Post and the New York Times.* Haven’t gotten any takers yet.
*Note: In making these inquiries, we are not saying that all of these organizations have “blacked out” the case; for example, the New York Times did this story on the case.
UPDATE: The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, issued a short response to this blog, including an admission that “we should have sent a reporter sooner.”