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]