Philly Archbishop: National Media Have ‘Allergic Disinterest’ to Abortionist's Murder Trial

Michael W. Chapman | April 30, 2013 | 4:05pm EDT
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Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, head of the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia. (AP)

( – Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput, head of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, said that in addition to the ongoing trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, an equally important story is the “failure” of the “most important national media” outlets to cover the case.

“The real story in the Gosnell trial is bigger than the ugly allegations against Gosnell himself,” said Abp. Chaput in his April 25 column. “It includes the failure – the allergic disinterest – of some of our most important national media.”

Gosnell has been on trial in Philadelphia since Mar. 18. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, for killing babies born alive during abortions by snipping their spinal cords with surgical scissors.  He is also charged with the third-degree murder of a woman who died from an anesthesia overdose, as well as infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, theft, corruption, and myriad related offenses.

While the local media in Philadelphia have covered the trial extensively, the national media have largely ignored it, prompting criticism from some news analysts and media watchdog groups.

In his column, Archbishop Chaput cited The Atlantic magazine for running an Apr. 12 article entitled “why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story: The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.”

“Some stories, no matter how unsettling, just can’t be ignored, even when some people are determined to look away,” said Archbishop Chaput. “Gosnell is much more than a ‘local’ story. … Forty years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, resistance to permissive abortion remains high. And the vivid details of the Gosnell clinic tragedy have the kind of salacious appeal that few national media would normally avoid – if the issue were anything else.”

Fetal remains in a freezer in the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (Grand Jury Report.)

“But abortion is too often, and in too many newsrooms, exactly the kind of topic that brings on a sudden case of snow blindness,” said the archbishop. “The irony is that much of the media’s lethargy in covering the Gosnell case really doesn’t surprise. It’s part of the fabric of a culture that simply will not see what it doen’t want to see about the realities of abortion.”

“What makes the Gosnell story unique is that it should distress anyone with its details, pro-choice or pro-life, regardless of religion or politics,” said Abp. Chaput. “But, of course, people need to know about an evil before they can do anything about it.”

There are an estimated 1.5 million Catholics in the archdiocese of Philadelphia and 279 parishes.

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