Remember back when Duke Lacrosse team members were accused of rape. Remember how the bloviating heads on Fox accused the public, the mainstream media, and the prosecuting attorney of declaring that the young men were guilty before having been proven innocent. Well, hold that thought and flash forward to 2013 and a case that has become a cause celebre for Fox News as it offers an opportunity to bash the media for not covering it sufficiently and promote anti-choice propaganda about the evils of abortion. As you've probably guessed, I'm talking about murder trial of abortion provider, Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Tonight, Fox News will present its special report that doesn't appear to be a "fair & balanced" documentary but more anti-choice, anti-media propaganda. No verdict has been returned. Still, Fox legal analyst and resident of "The Five's" coveted leg chair, Kimberly Guilfoyle, has rendered one and we're talking guilty!
The title of the Fox Special, "See No Evil," suggests that Fox (which wasn't exactly at the head of the media pack in covering this) will advance the anti-choice meme that there is a mainstream media "blackout" of coverage. It might also suggest that they will advance the anti-choice meme that abortion rights advocates and Planned Parenthood knew about this and did nothing. One imagines that they will accuse negligent state inspectors of bowing to pro-choice pressure. Just a guess...But the title does imply a value judgment on abortion which is seen by the anti-choice movement as "evil" - not a choice driven by personal circumstances and needs.
But, as detailed on Media Matters, Fox's special report will feature reporter, Peter Boyer, saying that "though abortion itself isn't on trial - it ends up being that it really is." Yowza, that's exactly what the anti-choice zealots are saying - that what happened in Gosnell's filthy clinic is what happens in all abortion clinics, an assertion that they are using to press their case that American women will be so much better off if abortion is criminalized.
Kimberly Guilfoyle will be featured in the presentation. Accompanying the video which shows some of her commentary she provides written commentary which includes a quote from Pope John Paul II about abortion. (Guilfoyle's a twice married and divorced Catholic). While she laments the death of the "most vulnerable," she says nothing about the grinding poverty of the women who went to Gosnell. She does use the word "alleged" in describing what Gosnell allegedly did. The video features witnesses for the prosecution who describe Gosnell's abortion procedure after which former prosecutor Guilfoyle expresses her opinion:
"That's not abortion, that's homicide."
So forget about innocent until proven guilty. Kimberly Guilfoyle, as judge and jury, has declared Dr. Gosnell guilty. And that, ladies and gentlemen, proves it!
There was no “media blackout” of this story and nobody would have thought there was one until Fox News and AM radio pundits began creating that talking point. The story was well-covered in 2011, and particularly from the point of view that Maia describes. Several Pennsylvania officials lost their jobs over their failure to oversee what was going on. There is absolutely no evidence to say that Planned Parenthood approved of what Gosnell was doing or that they thought his procedures as we understand them now were acceptable. The only reason the right wing is trying to get away with that falsehood is to tar PP with the same brush. Further, what Gosnell was doing would not be considered appopriate or even sane in a typical abortion clinic.
I agree with Maia that the best result to come out of the Gosnell matter would be more education for people to know what their reproductive options are. It’s obvious that the women who Gosnell bilked had no understanding of this. I also agree with Maia that it would be better to have more real clinics available to poor women – not just for abortion but for general health in the first place. Had they had such options open to them, people like Gosnell would not be able to take advantage of them.
The point of this case isn’t to attack abortion, and it never was. The point of this case is that poor women have far less options open to them than women who are more affluent. That’s an obvious statement on its face, but in this case, it resulted in death. That’s the real issue that needed to be dealt with here, which was the point of the real coverage that was done on this case in 2011.
The right wing really doesn’t care about that point, and they’ve made that feeling very clear. They just want to make a case that Gosnell is somehow a typical abortion provider so they can scare and shame women away from having an abortion. It sounds like this special report is taking the opportunity to get away with calling women who have abortions murderers. Which should tell you how far over to the right Fox News has been tilting. It’s a shame that the pundits who’ve been pushing this story have so little understanding of the real issues here, and so little empathy for the women who have to deal with them.