Bozell Column: Avoiding Dr. Kermit Gosnell
Once again the "news" media yawned as tens of thousands of
Americans clogged the streets of Washington on January 24 for the
annual "March for Life." This year's protests should have gained more
attention since it came in the wake of absolutely vomit-inducing news
from Philadelphia that an abortionist named Kermit Gosnell was charged
by the District Attorney with a series of murders.
In a horrific 261-page report, Gosnell is accused of delivering seven babies alive and then killing them with scissors. He also allowed a woman who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal to be incompetently overmedicated on Demerol and die at his clinic.
So much for abortion being "safe, legal, and rare."
Associated Press reported "Prosecutors described the clinic as a 'house of horrors' where Gosnell kept baby body parts on the shelves, allowed a 15-year-old high school student to perform intravenous anesthesia on patients, and had his licensed cosmetologist wife do late-term abortions."
Or try the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Semiconscious, moaning women sat in dirty recliners and on bloodstained blankets. The air reeked of urine from the flea-infested cats permitted to roam the clinic. There was blood on the floor and cat feces on the stairs."
"If it bleeds, it leads." Remember that mantra to explain the TV networks' fascination with gory visuals? And yet these same networks could barely touch this story, even with its jaw-dropping ratings potential. "CBS Evening News" had one story, NBC's "Today" "offered 50 vague words, and ABC couldn't be bothered. Rachel Maddow anchored an entire hour-long special on the shooting death of abortionist George Tiller, but a Nexis search finds no one on MSNBC could even whisper the name of Kermit Gosnell. (CNN and Fox News each followed the story for a few days.)
What monster would kill a child who survived an abortion? On August 5, 2002, President Bush signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which stated that any baby mistakenly born (oh, the irony!) during an abortion has all the rights of any other living human being. None of the broadcast networks covered that at the time. On CNN that day, it was dismissed as "a really symbolic bill" (reporter Kelly Wallace), a "largely symbolic law" (anchor Miles O'Brien) that was only aimed "to appease anti-abortion advocates" (deputy bureau chief Steve Redisch). Was it "symbolic" to Dr. Gosnell's seven infants, born alive and then stabbed in the neck with scissors?
Again, the Philadelphia Inquirer: "One premature infant wiggled around on a counter for 20 minutes before an untrained worker slit his neck - after first playing with him."
But the networks just don't bear blame for skipping past this story in 2011. This hideous creature was making headlines in 2010, too. NPR reported on Gosnell on March 30 of last year, when his medical license was revoked. Marie Smith told her story of her abortion at the filthy clinic at the age of 19, followed by a week of fever and vomiting. Smith was rushed to a local hospital, where X-rays revealed parts of her baby were still lodged in her uterus.
Somehow, the national media can find no scandal in the state's abortion lobbyists - and the alleged clinic inspectors at national groups like the National Abortion Federation - failing to report these conditions to authorities. How can liberal media outlets who bray about Catholic bishops failing to go to the police about child abusers in the 1950s fail to muster any outrage over doctors and clinic inspectors failing to go to the police about baby killers? No state official had inspected Gosnell's practice since 1993 - and that's not worth exposing?
NPR's story typically concluded with bizarre defenses of this killer and the people who failed to report on him. Abortion advocate Susan Schewel claimed "all we had was hearsay" from the women who were patients, and the patients can't go to the authorities, apparently, because "the thought of talking to a state bureaucrat about something as stigmatized as an abortion, it's a low priority when you're trying to figure out how to pay your electric bills."
How's that for a putting a value on human life?
Gosnell's then-attorney, William Brennan, insisted the doctor "provides family care to individuals who otherwise would have to most likely travel outside their neighborhood." Wouldn't it be better for women to travel "outside their neighborhood" rather than end up dead from an overdose? Wouldn't it better than a filthy clinic that lets people with no medical qualifications do the anesthetics and the abortions?
Apparently, just about nobody in the national media really cares about who dies at an abortion clinic, whether it's a child or a mother. But kill a killer of babies - and that's headline news. That's why tens of thousands clog the streets to protest - not just the killing, but the radio silence.