Gosnell Trial: Coverage Lapse is Much to do About the Race of...

Gosnell Trial: Coverage Lapse is Much to do About the Race of the Victims


This week began the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who ran an unsanitary and horribly filthy women’s clinic in Philadelphia and violated the law routinely by aborting fetuses past the legal permitted gestational age of 24 weeks and outright killing live-birthed, fully formed pre-delivery newborns.  In 2011, a grand jury determined that Gosnell should go to trial for the deaths of patient Karnamaya Monger and seven babies, born alive, who he then killed by severing their spinal cords.

And as can be expected, the whole fiasco has quickly turned into a political battle among Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Advocates, Liberals and Conservatives and everyone in between.

The core of most disagreement is the fact that traditional media news sites have not afforded much coverage to this national story, back in 2011 and again today. The Right believes it is because the media swings to the left and are wary of shining light on a news piece that would cast abortion negatively.  After all, the traditional  media, in their minds supports abortion.

The conspiracy theories have been rampant. Certainly, the race and socioeconomic standing of the women who  frequented Gosnell’s West Philadelphia Women’s Medical Center perhaps play into to sparse coverage.

Of course, the argument can easily be made that the traditional  media select which  crime cases the general audience should care about sometimes based on who it  considers to be sympathetic victims.

Compare the 2002 coverage of Lacy Peterson to that of  LaToyia Figueroa, both women were murdered while pregnant by their significant others under similar bizarre circumstances. Figueroa in 2005, but few know how the trial of Figueroa’s killer, her boyfriend Stephen Poaches, ended (life with no parole).  Her life was only worthy of occasional local coverage around the same time that national media talked daily about Natalee Holloway,  the 17-year old pretty blonde who went missing in Aruba, West Indies,  the same time as Figueroa.  Back then the New York Times published  a piece talking about the different levesl of media coverage too. Seems we’re always talking about it in hindsight.

More recently, many can recall the blow by blow of Casey Anthony’s trial for the murder of her daughter Kaylee Anderson, but  not many saw Benita Jack’s trial for killing and dismembering her 5 children and storing their body parts in her refrigerator.  Both were “local” stories, but only one was deemed worthy of wall to wall coverage even though the victims were plenty in the Betts case.

The media seemed to only care to showcase crimes of certain victims, some have said.  And most recently, there is comparison of the horrific death of 30 children and adults in Newtown compared to the over 100 fetuses born alive, according to one clinic worker.

No doubt, the race and socioeconomic status of the victims (the dead children, the deceased women patients and those who succumbed to the unsanitary conditions) could have played a factor, even well before the clinic was raided.  It hadn’t been inspected by the Department of Health in 15 years before another unrelated crack down before Gosnell’s clinic even got busted.  Likely, there was probably wanton disregard for the clinic because it served low income, immigrant and African American patients.

The Atlantic did a great job summoning it up well here.

If anyone suggests the lack of coverage was driven primarily by the media’s disinterest to covering stories that shed abortion in a bad light are blind to what is clear and evident on its face and facts involved.

The “isms” are all over this case.  It’s nothing new, just part of status quo.


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