Salon on Gosnell: What Coverup?

Salon’s Irin Carmon is annoyed at the pesky right wing writers who have recently announced that the Gosnell story deserves more coverage. Her response “There is no Gosnell Coverup” is a partisan pass at a story that has been passed on by partisans long enough.

If you’ve never heard of the Gosnell story, it’s not because of a
coverup by the liberal mainstream media. It’s probably because you
failed to pay attention to the copious coverage among pro-choice and feminist journalists,
as well as the big news organizations, when the news first broke in
2011. There would be something rich, if it weren’t so infuriating, about
these (almost uniformly male, as it happens) reporters and commentators
scrambling to break open this shocking untold story. You know, the one
that was written about here, here and here, to name some disparate sources.

If you do the count, you’ll see she links 7 stories six of which are, as she indicates, more than two years old. The other story is recent but published in the Philadelphia Weekly. So the evidence that the story has not been ignored comes in two flavors: old coverage and local coverage. Where is the national coverage of the trial which is taking place right now?

Perhaps sensing she’s on thin ice, Carmon tries another approach:

I can’t speak for big news organizations like CNN and the networks, but let’s think about this question another way: How often do such places
devote their energies to covering the massive health disparities and
poor outcomes that are wrought by our current system? How often are the
travails of the women whose vulnerabilities Gosnell exploited — the
poor, immigrants and otherwise marginalized people — given wall-to-wall,
trial-level coverage?

If this were solely a story about health disparities and marginalized people, she might have a point. But notice what’s not mentioned, not at all, in her description of the story’s merits. What about the seven murdered babies whose spines were snipped with scissors after birth? What about the dozens or possibly hundreds more who died similarly over the years? How about the bloody floors, babies born in toilets or Gosnell’s penchant for keeping body parts in a freezer? If you’re casting about for reasons why CNN might be interested how about TESTIMONY REVEALS SERIAL KILLER’S HOUSE OF HORROR as a possible headline.

Next Carmon offers some news items that she finds more worthy of attention than the Gosnell’s trial:

This week, as Virginia-based pro-choice activist Michelle Kinsey Bruns noted on Twitter, “Fitting that the right is trying to whip folks into a frenzy over #Gosnell the
same day VA is trying to put safe abortion care out of reach.” She’s
referring to so-called TRAP laws, which are regulations aimed at
abortion clinics that have nothing to do with safety — say, the size of
parking lots — to seek to drive them out of business, and which are
expected to go forward in a vote today.

The abortion industry has been complaining about regulation for some time, just as every industry complains about regulation. In fact, when Gosnell was arrested for his alleged crimes in 2011, NARAL’s website was warning “Pennsylvania imposes a variety of burdensome requirements on abortion providers…” Yes, those laws were so burdensome in practice that Gosnell’s operation went on for decades. It was shut down, almost accidentally, after an FBI raid aimed at illegal drug sales discovered his clinic was a filthy hellhole.

On every other issue under the sun progressives argue that we need more regulation. Guns need regulation, banks need regulation, credit card companies need regulation, even soda sizes need regulation. But when it comes to abortion the desire to regulate abandons them, so much so that Carmon offers this completely unselfconscious conclusion, “To everyone who thinks his case was a reason for more abortion restrictions: What he did was already illegal.” Substitute “gun” for “abortion” and you have the very argument 2nd amendment advocates often make after a tragic shooting.

Here’s the difference in case it’s not already clear. After the Newtown tragedy we’ve had untold numbers of stories both on the tragedy itself and the cultural, personal, historical, local, political, populist, partisan, emotional and flat out bogus issues surrounding it. (And that’s just from one online news site.) Where is the comparable coverage of a tragedy which claimed even more innocent lives? Forget Salon, that coverage doesn’t exist at ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, LA Times, NY Times, etc.–there’s almost nothing.

If Adam Lanza had lived and been arrested, how much coverage would his trial attract? Unless Camron believes the answer is nearly zero her argument just doesn’t hold up.

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