Oh that? It's just a "local crime" story
WaPo reporter: I’m not covering the Gosnell abortionist trial because it’s not really a policy story
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One person deserves the bulk of the credit for bringing to light the media’s criminal neglect of the Gosnell trial, and that’s liberal columnist Kirsten Powers. Yeah, she is often conservatives’ favorite liberal (although I have a few others), not only because she’s a Christian, but also because she is intellctually honest and refuses to parrot the left-wing company line on stuff like Benghazi or even the treatment of Sarah Palin.
But she’s still a liberal and a strong Obama supporter, so you have to give her credit for calling the media out like this. Today on Facebook, Powers links to a very revealing post by blogger Mollie at the Get Religion blog (whose premise is that the media do not get religion, and boy is that true). Mollie looked specifically at the recent work of Washington Post health policy reporter Sarah Kliff, and noticed an abundance of coverage on stories that advance left-wing narratives - followed by total silence concerning the Gosnell trial. Mollie writes:
I have critiqued many of her stories on the Susan G. Komen Foundation (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Sandra Fluke controversy (she wrote quite a bit about that) and the Todd Akin controversy (you know where this is going). In fact, a site search for that reporter — who is named Sarah Kliff — and stories Akin and Fluke and Komen — yields more than 80 hits. Guess how many stories she’s done on this abortionist’s mass murder trial.
Did you guess zero? You’d be right.
But Mollie didn’t stop there. She contacted Kliff and asked her about the discrepancy, and received this astounding response from Kliff:
Hi Molly – I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.
Seriously. Think about that. The Komen Foundation/Planned Parenthood story involved one private party’s decision to stop funding another private party. That’s a policy issue? The Sandra Fluke story had its roots in a discussion of whether the government should force insurance companies to pay for contraception, but the actual news was that Rush Limbaugh called her a name. And the Todd Akin story involved no policy question at all. It was a story because Akin made a bizarre statement about conception and rape.
Obviously, the Gosnell trial does not interest people because it’s a “local crime” story. It interests people because it exposes the darkest elements of the abortion industry, which is very much a health policy matter.
But you see how it’s always easy for the media to justify why it covers, or ignores, a given story. All they have to do is classify the story in a way that doesn’t fit a beat or a section focus.
Anyone who is following this story, even a little, recognizes why the MSM is ignoring it. The MSM plays up stories that fit into their pre-established narratives, one of which is that abortion rights should be absolute and abortion opponents are kooks. A story like the Gosnell trial gives credence to the views of those they consider kooks. And it’s not even so much that they’re covering it up. They probably consider the story an anomaly, a factual outlier, that doesn’t reflect what really happens in the abortion industry. So they don’t want to give it a lot of play for fear that they will give aid and comfort to the more vociferous critics of the abortion industry.
That’s not their job, of course. Their job is to cover the news factually, not to worry about how exposure of the facts might impact the ideological balance of things. But all know they don’t do what they’re supposed to do.
Kudos to Mollie, and big kudos to the relentless Kirsten Powers, for bringing this to light.