Something truly remarkable happened yesterday. After days and weeks of pushing by New Media and social media, the mainstream media have not only admitted that they should have covered the ongoing capital murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell; they have promised to immediately remedy that mistake:
The Daily Beast’s Megan McArdle: “Why I didn’t write about Gosnell’s trial — and why I should have.”
Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg writes: “It’s too late now, though, to suppress coverage. [Kirsten] Powers and others have shamed the media into paying attention, and the press is now on the case. It’s remarkable that it took this long.”
The Washington Post: “We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.”
Politico’s Dylan Byers: “Gosnell should be front-page, top-of-the-hour news by primetime tonight. And if it’s not, we’ll write about it again.”
NBC’s Joe Scarborough: “A horrifying story out of Philadelphia that the media must cover. We will cover this on Monday.”
This is not the usual-usual from our media. Normally, like a game, the media will only admit to this kind of oversight long after it is too late to do anything about it. Worse still, the admission of the mistake is generally just a convenient excuse for the media to talk about their favorite subject — themselves.
That doesn’t appear to be the case this time. Last night on CNN, Jake Tapper (one of the few who had already covered Gosnell), Erin Burnett, and Anderson Cooper devoted extensive time to the story. And as you can see above, the media are promising to do more next week than just navel gaze.
And I for one am very grateful for that, because even marginally bad coverage, like what we saw from CNN’s Erin Burnett last night, is a win. (Anderson Cooper’s segment was flat-out outstanding and a must-watch.)
Regardless, let the left-wing media spin the Gosnell horrors into a pro-choice argument for safer abortion clinics. As someone who considers abortion a moral abomination, as long as it is legal, I don’t want to see that abomination made worse with unsafe clinics and the horrific exploitation of desperate women.
But that is the worse-case scenario (which is still a plus). What is also likely to happen is an increased public knowledge of the act of outright infanticide known as partial-birth abortion. For over a decade now, the media has tried to turn that horror into a “right-wing myth.” But now we not only have an example of a doctor eagerly engaged and made wealthy by the practice, but other doctors referring patients to him.
New Media has a responsibility now, as well. We need to use this opportunity to do our own reporting on Gosnell, not just to peck away at the mainstream media for not covering the story in the way we would like.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC