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Gosnell Case Reveals MSM’s Waning Power


The trial of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, which started on March 18, has spawned a number of revelations—revelations for which the adjective “disturbing” hardly does justice. According to the Grand Jury report, Gosnell “regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy—and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.” And that’s just the beginning of the horror show of crimes he has been accused of (read the report for a full account). It is a sensational story, touching on one of the rawest nerves in American politics. Too raw, evidently, for the delicate sensibilities of the MSM, which has studiously ignored the story.

Except the MSM’s silence has now become the story. As Kirsten Powers notes in USA Today:

A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.

The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony….

The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.

This piece and others have sparked a Twitter campaign to shame media outlets into covering this story. The Twitter hashtag #Gosnell is trending nationwide, even in deep blue NYC. Slate’s David Weigel, the Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf, and others have both weighed in on the MSM’s ho-hum reaction to accusations of the murder of innocents.

Much of the speculation has been about why so many news outlets ignored the story. But perhaps the real story here is the way the trial became a national story without the help of the MSM—and arguably even despite its best efforts to ignore the trial. In the last century, there were a few central news gatekeepers who controlled what stories Americans heard. The internet and social media have changed all that; the people have swept aside the gatekeepers and ripped the gates from their hinges.

The MSM is no longer in control; anyone and everyone now has the tools to call the media out and if the story is hot and compelling enough (and the trial of an accused multiple baby killer passes that test with ease), it will force itself into the national conversation.


[Image courtesy of Wikipedia]

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  • Anthony

    “In the last century, there were a few central news gatekeepers who controlled what stories Americans heard.” Welcome to the new world though I do recall MSM airing Gosnell case last month (perhaps without enough intensity given subject matter).

  • Jim Luebke

    It makes you wonder what else the MSM has swept under the rug over the last few decades.

    It’s certainly plausible to me that many of the trends in thought over the last generation have been formed without adequate attention to reality.

  • CygnusA81

    If only the MSM had any shame left in them.

    • Jim Luebke

      Shame is something the Boomers are trying to do away with, to become more “accepting and enlightened”. Look at what the MSM is pushing on us as “marriage” these days.

  • It is a story that the MSM has been bypassed by people outraged by this story, I suppose, but that does not change the fact they have monstrously ignored a story about the murder of mothers and babies because they favor abortion. This makes them morally culpable in a very real way. They control the narrative on many other issues that need to see the light of day but never do. Many should leave the business. Kudos to Kirsten Powers for having the courage to point this out.
    When will we see some introspection from other people who call themselves purveyors of the news? From what I can see, they are a pretty shallow bunch.

    • ojfl

      Excellent comment Merina. I completely agree.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    Obama’s reelection shows just how powerful the MSM still is.

    This is a nation not only of “low information” voters, but “no information” voters.

    This is by design, and twitter and FB aren’t going to cut it.

    Each conservative must work to control both their virtual and geographical precinct, and make the case for their ideas at every water cooler and cocktail party. If they are afraid, or cowed by PC mentality, they are merely playing their part in fostering the decline of civilization.

  • The recently revealed facts about what went on in this horrific slaughterhouse in which literally dozens of common employees willingly joined in to the carnage with, apparently, no compunctions reveal to any with eyes to see that the evil work of the pro abortion lobby in devaluing human life has had its predictable result. The true scandal is that the decades of propaganda from the pro murder crowd have allowed far too many to silently accede to human abuse that would put the Nazi’s to shame.
    The “pro choice” crowd, one and all, have blood on their hands and it can only be hoped that they are too ashamed to even allow mention of these evil deeds.

  • Lorenz Gude

    I don’t think we have succeeded in prying their cold dead fingers off the gates yet. But as even the self laudatory Newseum in Washington DC admits fewer people trust the MSM every year.

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