As the Press Ignores the Abortion Trial, Our Mollie Hemingway and Conor Friedersdorf Shout Foul

 

I’d had only a dim awareness of the Philadelphia trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell–until now.

What just changed?  Two of Ricochet’s own–our editor, Mollie Hemingway, and our longtime member, Conor Friedersdorf–both published searing, brilliant articles on the nature of the charges against Gosnell—among the many crimes on the list, Gosnell is alleged to have quite routinely delivered live babies, then severed their spinal columns–and the utter outrage of the indifference to the story of the national press.

Mollie, on the non-coverage of the story by the Washington Post’s health reporter, Sarah Kliff:

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….

And what policies could possibly be under discussion with this Gosnell trial? Other than, you know, abortion clinic hiring practices? And enforcement of sanitary conditions? And laws on abortion practices that extend to killing live infants by beheading them? And the killing of their mothers? And state or federal oversight of clinics with records of botched abortions? And pain medication practices? And how to handle the racist practices of some clinics? And how big of a problem this is (don’t tell anyone but another clinic nearby to Gosnell was shut down this week over similar sanitation concerns)? And disposal of babies’ bodies? And discussion of whether it’s cool to snip baby’s spines after they’re born? And how often are abortion clinics inspected anyway? What are the results of inspections? When emergency rooms take in victims of botched abortions, do they report that? How did this clinic go 17 years without an inspection? Gosh, I just can’t think of a single health policy angle here. Can you?

images-1.jpgSince the case has been so underreported, Conor begins his piece with a simple (but skillful) recounting of the facts:

On February 18, 2010, the FBI raided the “Women’s Medical Society,” entering its offices about 8:30 p.m. Agents expected to find evidence that it was illegally selling prescription drugs. On entering, they quickly realized something else was amiss. In the grand jury report’s telling, “There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff.” Authorities had also learned about the patient that died at the facility several months prior.Public health officials inspected the surgery rooms. “Instruments were not sterile,” the grand jury states. “Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff.” Upon further inspection, “the search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers.”And “Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls….”

Then Conor ends with a devastating litany of the reasons this story, reported by no major news outlet in the country, should instead be in headlines everywhere:

[T]his isn’t solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn’t make national headlines…?

Why isn’t [the trial] being covered more? I’ve got my theories. But rather than offer them at the end of an already lengthy item, I’d like to survey some of the editors and writers making coverage decisions. 

Mollie, too, ends her piece by promising to continue reporting, so to speak, on the lack of reporting.

Mollie and Conor, demonstrating the skill and sheer outraged indignation that informs journalism at its best.

I’m just proud to know them.

There are 69 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest

    Thanks to Mollie and Conor for reporting on this issue, and for their courage in standing up to the elite media’s shamelessness.

    Rod Dreher, I think, had the best short summary: “M.Z. Hemingway woodsheds journalist.”

    The outrage on this FoxNews segment with Mollie, Kirsten, and Megyn Kelly? Priceless.

    • #1
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    @CharlesMark

    Since last night two mainstream media outlets in Ireland (one of which is strongly “pro-choice”) have carried news reports about Gosnell. This is a breakthrough. Up until now the story has been confined to conservatives on social media. I have been sharing news reports with like-minded friends from an early stage. There was a big move by leading conservatives on Twitter to get traction for the story throughout the week. The concern now is that the MSM will now say. “there you are, we covered it” and move on without more.

    • #2
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    @JamesOfEngland
    Twofistedreader: Also, as an aside, I got into a Facebook discussion with a “friend” over the media coverage. For some reason, he jumped off the media and turned the argument into a biological one, downplaying the gravity o Gosnell’s actions, questioning whether the babies qualified as living. So, I actually spent part of the day arguing that a live baby was a living thing. Yes, you read that correctly. God help our country. · 

    You’re missing a large part of what makes the Gosnell story so important. It’s not just a big deal if you care about the infanticide. Read through this wiki, for instance, and be shocked at the abuse of adult women. Read about Jerry Brown lifting a fake doctor out of jail because unlicensed experiments (involving putting a ball of razor blades into 15 uteruses as a second wave of experiments on a failed device) aren’t bad when the subject is abortion (Gosnell was involved in this 1972 crime).

    Read about the stinking, unequipped, hellhole that these women suffered in, the hysterectomies and deaths. It’s tempting to feel no sympathy, but remember that telling people how awful abortions can be for mothers helps_prevent_them.

    • #3
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    @FricosisGuy

    Seems like Mollie and the other folks who spoke up in the MSM asked the questions we all need to ask ourselves more often: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

    • #4
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    @genferei

    Wonderful stuff.

    But, once again, I wonder if continuing to pretend that the US media is about reporting facts, rather than promoting the liberal worldview at all costs, really helps. Gosnell is an illustration, not an aberration.

    • #5
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    @cdor

    Eleven to twelve thousand people die in the USA annually from gun violence. That is 4, 10000’th of 1 percent of our population (.0004). Abortions, anyone care to take a guess? Very close to 1000000 per year. Yes that is one million…very close to 3% of our population (.03).

    I am not trying to be a simpleton because the two situations, gun laws/rights and abortion laws/rights have many different nuances of discussion. But we can start with the first: gun ownership, is spelled out very clearly in the 2nd amendment of our nations primary laws, the Constitution. One must do some very in depth, imaginative reading to find or dream up even the slightest of resemblance of a mention of abortion.

    So how many people did this Doctor kill or injure? And how many were killed or injured at Sandy Hook? And what is the great discussion occupying our Congress and President today? This is not about prioritizing according to damage done. It is clearly and solely prioritizing to ones political motives. It makes me sick. It is why I spend less time on this and other sights with my comments. I need to stay calm.

    • #6
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    @NickStuart
    Sisyphus: Arguing whether a baby was a living thing. Wow.I have a PP booklet somewhere in a box in which Isaac Asimov argues that until a child is two years old it has not exhibited sufficient qualities to have rights and be treated as human, but after that torturing or killing them would be unthinkable.Lost any respect for him with that. · 8 hours ago

    Never liked Asimov. This kind of thinking is one of the reasons why.

    He was, BTW, one of the signers of Humanist Manifesto II which gives a little “where the rubber meets the road” context to that screed’s lofty-sounding words.

    • #7
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    @NickStuart

    If the Pulitzers were anything more than a pretentious journalistic circle smirk, Mollie would surely receive one.

    • #8
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    @Pseudodionysius

    The only thing I can accuse Mollie of this weekend is procrastinating on her taxes. Mainstream journalists? Well…

    • #9
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    @Twofistedreader
    James Of England

    Twofistedreader: Also, as an aside, I got into a Facebook discussion with a “friend” over the media coverage. For some reason, he jumped off the media and turned the argument into a biological one, downplaying the gravity o Gosnell’s actions, questioning whether the babies qualified as living. So, I actually spent part of the day arguing that a live baby was a living thing. Yes, you read that correctly. God help our country. · 

    You’re missing a large part of what makes the Gosnell story so important. It’s not just a big deal if you care about the infanticide. Read through this wiki, for instance, and be shocked at the abuse of adult women. Read about Jerry Brown lifting a fake doctor out of jail because unlicensed experiments (involving putting a ball of razor blades into 15 uteruses as a second wave of experiments on a failed device) aren’t bad when the subject is abortion (Gosnell was involved in this 1972 crime).

    The 41 year old Nepalese immigrant did come up, but with so many vile corners of this story, acts of incredible evil get reduced to mere rabbit trails.

    • #10
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    @MatthewGilley

    So are social conservatives still supposed to sit down and shut up?

    • #11
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    @DavidKnights

    Whatever your opinion on abortion, this is a story that should be getting round the clock coverage.  Mollie may achieve that nearly single-handed.

    • #12
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    @

    Sarah Kliff is writing on health policy yet claims this is about crime, not health. Well done, Mollie, for highlighting Kliff’s gap in writing about this story. Health policy does not include the care for these women at the very least?

    • #13
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    @Pseudodionysius

    Sarah Kliff is writing on health policy yet claims this is about crime, not health.

    Its true that corpses don’t have many continuing health care costs, though I would think women infected with STD’s against their will and butchered with unsterilized instruments might interrupt her brie and merlot on a Friday night. She does need cheese with that whine, doesn’t she?

    • #14
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    @DaveCarter

    Conor’s article is thorough and factually devastating.  Mollie went directly to the MSM, questioning their journalistic judgement and we watched them try to squirm back to the shadows.   Wonderful, wonderful work from both of them.  

    • #15
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    @ScottR
    David Knights: Whatever your opinion on abortion, this is a story that should be getting round the clock coverage.  Mollie may achieve that nearly single-handed. · 3 minutes ago

    In a sane world, there are two Pulitzers to be had: one reporting on the scandal and trial, one reporting on the media’s silence. Madness. Mollie’s a hero.

    • #16
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    @Pseudodionysius

    In other investigative news, Howard Kurtz is hot on the trail of Cyndi Lauper and CNN’s Jake Tapper raps about Beyonce.

    #sharkjumping

    • #17
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    @Spin

    hear hear!

    • #18
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    @emg

    I’ve forced myself to follow this story, forced because many of the details seem to be taken straight from Dante’s inferno. I’ve been sickened, heartbroken, angry, horrified and despairing at many of the details of the “healthcare” that was dispensed at this clinic. The fact that the MSM and woman’s groups have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to this criminal and depraved enterprise shows how entirely they have been corrupted by their advocacy of abortion. Abortion rights trump all. Gosnell is a souless monster, we shouldn’t allow his crimes to be hidden because public knowledge of them might cause uncomfortable conversations about how ‘terminations” are actually performed. If the press and advocacy groups are this complicit in keeping butchers like Gosnell from continuing to “practice”, how many more of him are out there preying on the poor, the desperate and the vulnerable? This is an outrage. Though sickened, we can’t turn away from the horror of it all or it will continue, and that’s the greatest sin of all.

    • #19
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    @Twofistedreader

    Mollie has earned my undying respect for her effort. She was a machine on Twitter. Mark H was, as well. Follow them @MZHemingway and @Heminator.

    • #20
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    @FeliciaB

    I am proud of them, too!

    • #21
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    @HeartofAmerica

    Mollie’s and Conor’s efforts are paying off. Last night, one of our local TV station’s commented on their Facebook page that it appeared that many of their followers wanted to know more about the trial. So they provided a link to information that could be found on the internet. Nice…but not nearly enough. I told them that their coverage shouldn’t just rely on social media or the internet. They need to report about it on the evening news. That one comment blew out the site with everyone jumping on the station to report on it, otherwise the story goes nowhere but on the internet. This station leans a little conservative (certainly their morning anchor does) and I believe that they will share the story. Other local outlets, including our newspaper will avoid it. It’s time to pick up the banner from Mollie and Conor and start shaming news outlets into doing their jobs.

    • #22
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    @Twofistedreader

    Also, as an aside, I got into a Facebook discussion with a “friend” over the media coverage. For some reason, he jumped off the media and turned the argument into a biological one, downplaying the gravity of Gosnell’s actions, questioning whether the babies qualified as living. So, I actually spent part of the day arguing that a live baby was a living thing. Yes, you read that correctly. God help our country.

    • #23
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    @MJBubba

    Republicans should be embracing opposition to to the Democrats’ defense of unfettered abortion, up to including infanticide.

    The idea that states should be able to regulate, limit and restrict abortion in a variety of ways should be a winning position.   Americans will be able to see the crying baby as a victim.   Keep the focus on the crying baby, hammer away at the mental image of jabbing the scissors into the back of the new baby’s neck to snip the spinal chord.   Pound away at the inhumane barbarism of the late-term abortion, which is no different than what Gosnell was doing, and be fearless in defense of the helpless innocents.

    Republicans should use the Gosnell trial to find some spine.

    God bless Mollie.

    • #24
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    @KCMulville

    Not to plug another website, but for those who don’t already know, RealClear has more than Politics. It also has a Religion page,  and Mollie is regularly featured on it (her pieces from the GetReligion site). It’s one of my every-day sites to check, and I recommend it.

    As for  the story itself, it’s truly disheartening. Not only is the abortion abattoir a sickening story … but the fact that the prima donnas in the mainstream media are refusing to cover it, for blatantly ideological reasons, is both infuriating and just plain sad. When they saturate other stories and justify the gluttony of coverage on the grounds that the stories are sensational, you have to wonder how such human butchery can be ignored. 

    The clowns in the media have the nerve to present themselves as “informing” us about what’s going “really” go on. What kind of arrogant self-importance do you need to have a story that cries out (literally) to tell your community, but you ignore it so you can push a pro-abortion agenda? 

    • #25
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    @TheKingPrawn

    A google news search shows that the story is getting traction at the national level, finally. Huzzah to Mollie! You’ve done the nation a tremendous service. Megan McCardle at the Daily Beast is offering what I think will become the standard line from the left on this:

    The whole point of legal abortion is to prevent what happened in Philadelphia: to make it safer and more humane.  Somehow that ideal went terribly, horribly awry.  We should demand to know why.

    To those on the right the answer is obvious: abortion is sacrosanct to the left. Anything that brings negative coverage must be squelched. To her credit, Megan also tells the entire story in a single picture:

    press.jpg

    Yep. Those are the seats reserved for the press in the courtroom.

    • #26
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    @

    Proud doesn’t begin to cover it!  God bless you both…

    • #27
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    @ScottR
    Twofistedreader: Also, as an aside, I got into a Facebook discussion with a “friend” over the media coverage. For some reason, he jumped off the media and turned the argument into a biological one, downplaying the gravity of Gosnell’s actions, questioning whether the babies qualified as living. So, I actually spent part of the day arguing that a live baby was a living thing. Yes, you read that correctly. God help our country. · 16 minutes ago

    TFR: My daughter was born at 27 weeks, weighing a wee more than 2 lbs — pretty much Barbie doll-sized with a tennis ball-sized head. Loudest I ever heard her cry was on that day. Very much alive, I can assure your friend — every bit as alive as she is now at 17.

    • #28
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    @Freesmith

    Are Hemingway and Friedersdorf for real? Do they really not know why secular Leftist Democrat-fanboy media types ignore the Gosnell trial? Are they stupid?

    Hint: It’s the same reason they ignored Benghazi.

    Hint: It’s the same reason that Abu Ghraib was on the front page of the NY Times 38 times.

    Hint: It’s the same reason you know who Trayvon Martin was, and what he looked like as a 12-year-old.

    Ridiculous articles of feigned outrage and ingenuous disbelief are not only passive-aggressive and weak; they are also counter-productive, because they allow the mouthpieces and logic-choppers of the Left to offer phony excuses for not paying attention to the Philadelphia trial, and then blow it off.

    Don’t “Cry Foul.” Call a spade a spade, Hemingway. Speak truth to power, Friesdersdorf. Call immoral hypocrites immoral hypocrites.

    They’d do it to you.

    The MSM ignore Gosnell because Gosnell puts them on the defense in the Culture War. Period.

    The Left doesn’t want to be right. They don’t want to be fair. They don’t want to be moral. They want to win.

    When you are on defense you are losing. 

    • #29
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    @ScottR
    Freesmith: Are Hemingway and Friedersdorf for real? Do they really not know why secular Leftist Democrat-fanboy media types ignore the Gosnell trial? Are they stupid?

     

     

    Yes. No. No.

     Nobody is doing more today to expose the hypocrites and speak truth to power than MH. Sheesh. 

    • #30

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