The latest hissy fit from the anti-abortion movement is about what they claim is a "media black out" of the case involving a Philadelphia abortion doctor who allegedly murdered seven babies and one woman in a horrific clinic that would be in Dante's inner circles of hell. Lack of coverage was blamed on an alleged pro-choice media and in the last week there has been a social media campaign (spearheaded by Michelle Malkin) to demand more national coverage. Assisting in these efforts was Fox's Kirsten Powers whose article about this so called black-out is being credited for media picking up the story. So not surprisingly, Fox News, whose coverage hasn't been exactly front burner, picked up this newest "outrage" which fits nicely with their anti-abortion bias and their patented meme about the librul media. Never wasting an opportunity to bash the president, Fox's politicization of the issue includes the perfunctory "pro-life" smear about how the president supports infanticide. Fox News - fair & balanced as always!
More than even the horrors of the Gosnell case, the coverage has become the story because anti-abortion forces were upset that what was a local issue wasn't getting national coverage - coverage that could provide them with opportunity to, in attempting to use this case as an example of how all abortion clinics are run, press their agenda to ban all abortions and promote the discredited myth that the president supports infanticide. Assisting in these efforts was Fox's Kirsten Powers who, despite being a liberal Democrat, is "pro-life" and is vehemently against all late term abortion. So not surprisingly, Powers was part of Bret Baier's "fair and balanced" panel that discussed this case.
Friday's Special Report began with video of anti-abortion Congressman GOP Marvin Stutzman, was speaking on the House floor, about the case. He was followed by video of a woman from the anti-abortion Susan B Anthony list. While Planned Parenthood has condemned Gosnell's action, that wasn't mentioned. Baier articulated the anti-abortion claim that the case isn't "getting a lot of attention, anywhere." When he said that he couldn't get any statements from any groups, except from the National Abortion Federation, he wasn't looking hard enough because Planned Parenthood's statement, from 2011, is readily available. He cited media that hadn't covered the topic. (As noted on Salon, the issue has been covered by feminist media and news networks. Another Salon article points out that right wing media, including Fox, wasn't all that interested in the issue until the anti-abortion forces gave it attention. As cited in a number of articles, the judge in the case issued a gag order last year.)
Powers was puzzled at the lack of coverage given that the media seems to love criminal trial coverage. She then made the "pro-life" claim that the reason why the clinic wasn't inspected was because pro-choice forces "lobbied the state to "not do this." (Pro-choicers are appalled at the lack of regulation which might have occurred because Gov's Ridge and Rendell were responding to anti-abortion harassment.)
Jonah Goldberg compared the lack of coverage to the debate over so called partial birth abortion which was, he claimed, treated as a right wing myth because the press referred to it as "so called partial birth abortion." (So called because it is a non-medical political term coined by Catholic bishops). He launched into the perfunctory anti-abortion lie about how Pres. Obama supported infanticide in his claim that Obama supported what they were doing at Gosnell's clinic. (Fact, Obama objected to the Illinois "born alive" act because it would have covered even non-viable fetuses and effectively banned abortion in the state.) He *claimed that Barbara Boxer said that "a baby's life doesn't begin until they bring it home from the hospital" and that that the media is committed to these "ideological positions."
Charles Krauthammer used the case to condemn late term abortion as "murder." He speculated that those who are pro-choice aren't condemning this (wrong - see Amanda Marcotte's article on the truths about this case) because of the "slippery slope" argument. (Exactly what 2nd Amendment supporters say about gun control?) Powers said that while liberals love regulations, they don't want abortion regulated. (Small government conservatives want government in women's uteri?)
Fox News accuses the media of not covering something important when they provided far less coverage of the News Corps hacking scandal. And while they provided full support for the Catholic church's opposition to the HHS mandate, they have given scant coverage to the Church's position on immigration, the environment, and war. And while Baier allowed his panel to rail against late term abortion, nobody said anything about how Gosnell exploited poor, minority women who had nowhere else to go. Nobody mentioned that if abortion is criminalized, there will be lots more Gosnell's. Fox News - "fair & balance." Ya think!
*During a 1999 debate about banning so called partial birth abortion this is the exchange that took place between Boxer and Rick Santorum:
Santorum: But I would like to ask you a question. You agree, once that child is born, is separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed? Do you agree with that? Boxer: I would make this statement: That this Constitution, as it currently is - - some of you want to amend it to say that life begins at conception. I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born - - and there is no such thing as partial-birth - - the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights. But I am not willing to amend the Constitution to say that a fetus is a person, which I know you would
At the same time, the gory and unpleasant details of this story make it unlikely that any newspaper of any political stripe would make this Page 1 material anywhere. And the fact is, it WAS covered fairly extensively in 2011, at the time that Gosnell was charged and the state officials were held responsible. At that time, multiple media sources, particularly on the left, made the appropriate point that this situation is what happens when poor women either don’t have any options or don’t know they have any options. If the anti-choice people were to have their way, this rare situation would become sadly more common.
It isn’t just Fox News trying to blare this meme. Right wing radio hosts are having a field day with this. Gary Hoffman at Los Angeles AM radio’s KFI spent a good amount of time this Sunday on the matter. He dwelled on the gory details, took a very moral tone in his voice and intoned against the media that was shockingly not telling the story. And at the end of 30 minutes of banging this drum, he then piously tried to connect the case to the safe and legal abortions that many women choose to have. He did admit that the case was rare, but he forgot to discuss the gag order or the plentiful coverage the case has already received. His listeners immediately responded on his Facebook page with plaudits. I went on there to respond to a few of them, to correct the record.
The kicker here is that neither Fox News nor the AM radio hosts are being honest about why they are trying to spotlight this story. They’re hiding behind the victims and a projected moral outrage over the crimes. But they don’t normally come out and say what Gary Hoffman admitted at the end of his show – they just don’t want women to have abortions, period. They wish that Roe v Wade would be overturned, and if they can’t get their way on it (and they can’t), then they’ll just keep trying to chip away at it – using situations like this, or the attempted “gotcha” in the Florida State House last month. It’s clear that they’re trying to shame women out of choosing to have abortions by describing the most heinous images possible. And if they can’t shame them, they’ll settle for terrifying them. But the agenda is the same.
It points out the reason for websites like Newshounds and projects like Outfoxed to exist in the first place. Someone has to keep the record straight.