New York Times: Gosnell Trial Inconsequential

For The New York Times, editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal penned an apologia for the progressive media's disinterest in covering the abortion trial of Kermit Gosnell and essentially claimed that the trial is a meaningless incident when all things are considered, especially when it comes to the overall abortion debate.

"What does the trial of a Philadelphia doctor who is accused of performing illegal late-term abortions by inducing labor and then killing viable fetuses have to do with the debate over legal abortion," Rosenthal writes.

Rosenthal excuses his paper’s lack of coverage of the Gosnell trial saying that the NYT has written "six articles" already, so this, he believes, means they've adequately covered the story. He also maintains that there is "no rule" that a newspaper "has to run one piece about a bad clinic for every piece celebrating a good one."

But a mere six articles seems rather lacking. As LifeNews.com's Rob Schwarzwalder pointedly recalls, "I wonder why the Times, as it did with the trial of Tiller murderer George Roeder, did not cover such things as jury selection or pronounce endlessly on the assorted issues involved in the Gosnell case."

Speaking of Tiller, Rosenthal also invokes the murdered abortionist and finds space to mourn his death and celebrates the reopening of his clinic.

Strangely, even as the Times has more or less ignored what is essentially the trial of a serial killer, Rosenthal blames abortion opponents for Gosnell's alleged crimes because they've worked to limit abortion.

But Rosenthal's chief point is that the trial actually proves the opposite of what media critics have maintained—that the trial proves how horrible abortion can be. Instead, Rosenthal imagines that the trial proves that more abortion is necessary and that it "highlights the need for safe, affordable and available women’s reproductive health care."

Of course, abortion is already "safe, affordable and available" in most states, not to mention in the very state where Gosnell perpetrated his crimes. Sadly, as James Taranto points out, despite the Democrat's efforts to make abortion free and easy, back-alley abortions have never stopped.

Contrary to Rosenthal, Taranto says the Gosnell trial proves that, "the claim that Roe v. Wade made America safe from back-alley abortion stands exposed as a cruel hoax, and a deadly one for women and children alike."

Medical ethicist Leon Kass goes further, saying that ubiquitous abortion so devalues human life that it "means we no longer see a child as a gift but as a product of our will to be had by choice only." That concept, Kass laments, "makes human choice the basis of all value" instead of a reverence for life serving that purpose.

Kass also says, "abortion is connected to lots of other things that are threats to human dignity in its fullness."

Rosenthal and the Times aren't alone in this desire to inoculate progressive media for its failure to cover Gosnell. In US News, Susan Mulligan agrees with Rosenthal, saying that the Philadelphia trial is just a local crime story and has no national significance.

As Milligan sees it, "suggestions that the 'media' were deliberately ignoring the story to protect a so-called 'abortion doctor' are ludicrous."

"The Gosnell case is a local murder trial," Milligan concludes. She feels, "The burden of proof for the media is not why reporters outside Pennsylvania... should not be covering it nonstop. It's why they should."


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