Ghoulish Gosnell Details Mount, But Media Presence Doesn't, as Abortionist's Trial Unfolds

April 18, 2013 - 12:58 PM

When it comes to the trial of abortionist doctor Kermit Gosnell, the media play a "now you see me, now you don't" game.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced of big media names rushing in to finally cover the Gosnell case. Yet, besides the Media Research Center, an average of only 12 - 15 reporters appeared in the courtroom at a time on Wednesday, April 17. While a few outlets like The Washington Post have started covering the trial, there has been no sea change in the major media. CBS did one story on April 15 and NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked Obama a question about Gosnell later in the week. That's all.

The April 15 New York Times claimed "Online Furor Draws Press to Abortion Doctor's Trial," but that hasn't been the case. A dozen reporters hardly represents the media attention typical for a high-profile case.  The media present on Wednesday hailed from both local and national news organizations, including: The News Journal, CBN, NBC, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Reuters.

Among other crimes, Kermit Gosnell is on trial for the murder of seven babies plus a female patient at his Women's Medical Center, an abortion clinic located in West Philadelphia.

As the trial goes on, the details continue to be ghoulish. On Wednesday, two witnesses spoke: a former patient at Gosnell's clinic, Mary Kincaid, and Latosha Lewis, an employee who faces 80 years of imprisonment and a fine for her involvement at the clinic, including the unauthorized administering of anesthesia to patients.

After Lewis testified that the clinic was "not kept very clean," Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron handed out patient files for review and stressed that those who touch them should wear gloves because of a "red, dry substance." Lewis confirmed a stench from one stained file. "Everybody's job was not to clean," she later said. An employee only cleaned in the immediate area where he or she worked.

At the end of the day, defense attorney Jack McMahon, argued that the female patients Dr. Gosnell treated (many of them over 24 weeks pregnant and thus illegal to abort under Pennsylvania law) signed consent forms for abortions. Cameron countered, "Whether they consent or not you can't do them!"

The media initially ignored the Gosnell trial earlier this month, but recently paid a little attention to the case after Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, along with 20 other conservative leaders, called for accountability from the networks.

Editor's Note: Katie Yoder is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's (MRC) Culture and Media Institute. CNSNews.com, another division of the MRC, also covered the trial.

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