Why the Media is Afraid of Dr. Gosnell

Unborn Child

Unborn Child

There has been an outcry against the media silence of perhaps one of the most horrific, under-reported story in modern times: Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his abortion clinic now known as “The House of Horrors.”

The only national TV source has been Fox News while the three major networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS continue to ignore it.  After intense public pressure, CNN finally reported on it last Friday.  This lack of interest is odd given the typical formula for news reporting: If it bleeds, it leads.  Curiosity mixed with revulsion draws audiences.  The Gosnell story can barely be topped on the revulsion index: dead babies, victimized women, racism, horrifying visuals, and extreme governmental failures.

Case Summary

If you are not familiar with the story, here is a brief summary.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with first-degree murder of seven babies born alive, and one woman patient. In addition, Gosnell is charged with performing illegal, late-term abortions and other horrifying practices at his Philadelphia abortion clinic—dubbed the “House of Horrors.” Eight former employees have pleaded guilty, some to third-degree murder, and one testified to starting there at age 15 through a high school training program, and soon assisting with abortions and administering intravenous drugs.  Gosnell faces the death penalty if convicted.

The story is shocking and horrific yet, according to the media watchdog site NewsBusters.org ABC, CBS, and NBC have completely ignored it. NewsBusters reported, “Although Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder, witnesses have testified he  murdered over 100 babies  over three decades and if true, this would rank Gosnell as one of the top five known serial killers worldwide of the 20th and 21st Centuries by victim count.”

Last Thursday, twenty-one leaders in the pro-life and conservative movements signed a statement denouncing national broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC for failing to give any attention to the trial of Gosnell.  Kirsten Power’s USA Today column played a huge role in launching it into the mainstream and admonishing the national political press for ignoring the story. The next day, a call to end the media blackout spread throughout social media and put a crack into the wall of silence.

LifeNews.com, which has reported extensively on Gosnell, announced that last Friday, pro-life activists posted on Twitter with the hashtag #Gosnell. In a 12-hour period over 166,000 tweets flooded Twitter forcing the media to cover his trial. This Wednesday will be round 2 exposing the horrors and answering the question, “Who is #gosnell?” to the world. Join us for tweet-fest, round 2: Who is #Gosnell?

Many, but not all, big media players are coming around and admitting this is a news story that should be covered. The Atlantic writer, Conor Freidersdorf admitted he knew nothing of the case before the backlash. Once he learned of it however, he wrote, Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should be a Front-Page Story, providing excerpts from the Grand Jury report.  At the end of his article he asked, “The news value is undeniable. Why isn’t it being covered more?”

Pro-choice From Afar

Only heartless people could look at this story and not cringe.  Anyone with a heart will be repulsed.  I believe that the liberal media has a heart and it is for that reason that they have been afraid to report on Gosnell.  This story will break their hearts and rattle their pro-choice leanings.  They can’t cover the Gosnell story without the truth of abortion rearing its ugly head. It is easier to be pro-choice from afar so they do not want to report on it.

The pro-choice media is like Adolf Eichmann (1906-1966).  In The Banality of Evil–The Eichmanns Among Us, Dr. Marie Meaney recalled how the atrocities of the Holocaust were acceptable to people who were personally repulsed by killing.

She pointed out that Adolf Eichmann (1906-1966) never killed anyone by his own hand but was “a desk-murderer,” ordering the transportation of Jews to the gas chambers. “He simply executed orders, and since these orders were not something that gave him pleasure (he was not a psychopathic sadist), they had the trappings of duty,” Meaney wrote. When Eichmann witnessed the grisly murdering of people, it sickened him so he determined never to witness such a thing again. Likewise, the pro-choice media are afraid to report on Gosnell because the sickening truth of choice is dead babies. To report on this case is to look at dead babies and traumatized women.

If the media reports on the rules that Gosnell did not follow performing abortions, they would have to face what the killing would have looked like if he had followed the rules. To look upon the dead babies and baby parts photographed around his clinic, is to look upon the heart-breaking murders of innocent life.

To cover this story means looking into the faces of the women who were unsure but pushed through, called names and scolded for being big babies and in some cases even physically forced. In the online documentary, http://3801lancaster.com, the harsh treatment and repulsive conditions women talk about are mere sidebars. Their deepest suffering is that their babies are dead.

The media takes pains to be non-racist but with the Gosnell story, they would need to report that Gosnell, a black man, played the race game, giving preferential treatments to whites because they were more likely to report him. The reporter might realize that this inner city abortion clinic that aborted mostly black babies is the face of abortion in this country. Black babies are as likely to be aborted as to be born.  Planned Parenthood operates the nation’s largest abortion chain and almost 80 percent of them are in minority neighborhoods. Even though black women make up only 13 percent of our population, they account for over 35 percent of abortions.

If the media reports on the lack of government oversight, they’d have to recognize that every time legislation to regulate the abortion industry is proposed, the pro-choice lobby fights against it.

If they report that some women were pushed into abortion by Gosnell, then they would have to recognize that whenever waiting periods for abortion are proposed, the media describes it as “restrictive.”

In her book, Abandoned: The Untold Story  of the Abortion Wars, Miller revealed the dramatic behind-the-scenes struggles of confronting the culture of death head-on.

“One of the reasons that the mainstream media is not covering the Gosnell trial is simply this:  America has gotten used to death, and in particular, the deaths of the unborn in abortion is simply not considered news no matter how horribly they die,” she stated.

According to her, “The law already says that we can kill the innocent–such killing is sanctioned,” she said.  “All Gosnell did was take this sanction to its logical conclusion since there is no moral distinction between killing the unborn before they are born–and slaying them after they have emerged from the womb.”

Miller has seen the horrifying reality of abortion and the equal horrifying reality of a culture that turns away and does nothing to stop it. “Perhaps it’s not just Gosnell who should stand trial,” she stated, “but our whole national ethic that needs to be indicted for permitting such killing in the first place.”


Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is a writer with Teresa Tomeo Communications, an award-winning author, and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. She has appeared on TV and radio stations across the country.  Her latest books, Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and children’s book, Dear God, I Don’t Get It (available for pre-order now!) will both be released May.

To read more visit Patti’s Catholic News and Inspiration site. Follow her on Facebook at Big Hearted Families and Dear God Books.

Looking for a Catholic Speaker?  Check out Patti’s speaker page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.

Article updated 11:13 a.m. ET, April 16, 2013.


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