Emails from two lawyers this morning evidenced the response of non-coarsened human beings to the abortion revelations of the Kermit Gosnell trial: “They are all butcher shops,” and, “You can take abortion out of the alley, but you can’t take the alley out of abortion.” Yesterday, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, self-admittedly a resident of the “mushy middle,” put the pieces together brilliantly in an explanation of how the trial had affected him: He headlined his article “From Roe to Gosnell” and made, as his subtitle declared, “The case for regime change on abortion.”
That’s exactly the reaction pro-abortion forces don’t want onlookers to have. That’s one of the reasons liberal media have given the trial so little coverage. Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic lays out a bunch more. But one journalist of the left, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, made an acute observation: He complained Sunday that conservative media also didn’t give the trial “much coverage until conservatives decided they could make hay with charges that the story was being deliberately suppressed by the liberal media.”
Drum’s key bit of evidence is the record of the conservative Washington Times: “We have a grand total of one story about the trial itself and seven stories complaining that other media outlets aren’t covering the trial. It’s pretty obvious what the priorities are here.” He may indeed be right about the right, so I’m glad that WORLD sent Andrée Seu Peterson to sit in the courtroom day after day and offer her observations—in particular, she’s observed the slight difference between the actions of Gosnell and those of other abortionists.
I’m glad that we had six articles on Gosnell before the trial and have had 15 articles related to the trial since it began, along with three articles on the lack of coverage by other media (see Gosnell trial for links to all of WORLD’s coverage). But I don’t think the Gosnell revelations will sink the abortion regime. After all, we’ve seen horror shows before. The Chicago Sun-Times in 1978 ran a two-week-long series exposing the Windy City’s abortionists. It included sensational detail, such as one tidbit about how an abortionist’s dog, “to one couple’s horror, accompanied the nurse into the operating room and lapped blood from the floor.” Abortionists still do lucrative business in Chicago.
We’ve also seen demonstrations of press bias before. David Shaw, a Los Angeles Times writer, studied coverage in 1990 and produced a dynamite series that started under this headline: “A comprehensive Times study finds that the press often favors abortion rights in its coverage, even though journalists say they make every effort to be fair.” In this situation as in others, fairness was in the eyes of the beholder, and the band played on.
That’s why the last line of The Great Gatsby is a great one: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” That’s why the last line of the Old Testament is even greater in its sober warning: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children … or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” That’s why the last line of the New Testament is the greatest: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”