The Conversation

Do Gosnell's Victims Matter, Mr. President?

In response to The media shapes public perception with the stories it chooses not to tell:


I could not agree more with your observations about the media's interest in Kermit Gosnell. Imagine for a moment that the man on trial had killed an abortion provider. Somehow I think the major media would find time to mention his trial. But a man who is arguably the worst serial killer in U.S. history, who operated a clinic that is straight out of a horror film with freezers full of body parts, a man who actually groomed his subordinates to kill, a man who smiled after he was arrested and believed he would be cleared to return to his important work--amazingly that's of no interest.

And it's not just the media that's taking a pass. President Obama has made a habit of offering words of comfort when tragedy occurs, especially tragedy that involves children. He traveled to Tucson and spoke movingly of the 9 year old girl who was killed by Jared Loughner. He had great compassion for the young victims of Adam Lanza and promised to work to change the laws that, he claimed, allowed those killings to take place.

So where is Obama on the 7 infants killed in Philly (really it's many, many times that number)? Why are there no teachable moments this time? Why no national dialogue about the grim reality of late term abortion? No discussion of the razor thin line between constitutional rights and murder from the First Lawyer. No vow to prevent this happening again by banning scissors or, more to the point, working to eradicate illegal late-term abortions (which like gun crimes are already illegal but still happen). Don't Gosnell's victims deserve a vote?

The President will not offer nationally televised words of healing at any of the funerals (complete with souvenir t-shirt). He will not stare into the rafters, pause dramatically and stage whisper something about Kermit Gosnell failing to live up to our best ideals. In short, he will not capitalize on the deaths of these innocent children. And no one in the media seems to have noticed his unusual disinterest in doing so.

I keep returning to this point because it matters. Gosnell is charged with eight murders but it's likely the true number of victims--over two decades--is in the hundreds. For perspective, consider that Gosnell's clinic may well have murdered more infants than the total number of people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. He certainly killed far more than Adam Lanza or Jared Loughner. My point is, by any measure this is a national tragedy not a local crime story.

Add to the scale of the crimes the fact that Gosnell's murder clinic flourished in the long political shadow of an industry the President enthusiastically supports and defends. The President himself voted to defended partial-birth abortion, which is one technicality away from the crimes Gosnell committed. Given all this, shouldn't the President at least be asked to comment? Even if he wants to remain silent, for obvious reasons, how can the media allow him to do so?


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