Those nasty conservatives forced us to cover the Gosnell trial
Those nasty conservatives forced us to cover the Gosnell trial. That's my translation of the New York Times headline, "Online Furor Draws Press to Abortion Doctor's Trial." The piece by Trip Gabriel appeared on page A12 of today's print edition, and finally brings inhabitants of the Times Bubble up to date on an outline of the most dramatic details of the testimony so far. But the main thrust of the piece is to avoid confronting the nature of the blackout, and focus attention on the role of social media and the paranoid anger of the right. Here is the second paragraph:
The grisly details drew mainly local attention. But after an online furor that the case was being ignored by the national news media because of troubling accounts of late-term abortions, reporters from major newspapers and television networks descended Monday on the Court of Common Pleas. It was the latest example of the power of social media to drive a wide debate, similar to the attention paid to a rape trial last month in Steubenville, Ohio, that resulted in the conviction of two teenage football players.
Here is the narrative explaining to the Times Bubble heads -- so far blissfully ignorant of the stories of neck snipping and sickening jokes -- how the controversy developed.
In recent days, the case has become a political cause célèbre, kicked off by a commentator for Fox News, Kirsten Powers, who wrote in USA Today that "when Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke," a pro-contraception activist, "there was nonstop media hysteria," but in the case of Dr. Gosnell, there was only a "deafening silence" that was disgraceful.
Ms. Powers's complaint was picked up by others, including some who suggested the mainstream media had ignored the story because, as Jeffrey Goldberg put it in Bloomberg View, it "upsets a particular narrative about the reality of certain types of abortion, and that reality isn't something some pro-choice absolutists want to discuss."
On Twitter, conservatives began a campaign to prod more coverage. Mollie Hemingway, a columnist for Christianity Today, asked individual health journalists directly why they were ignoring the story.
Politicians also weighed in. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and 2016 presidential hopeful, wrote on Twitter, "Media's forgotten what belongs on page 1."
But others noted there had been scant coverage in conservative news outlets. Kevin Drum, a political blogger for Mother Jones, pointed out that one conservative paper, The Washington Times, had published one wire-service article about the trial and seven stories "complaining that other media outlets aren't covering the trial."
The last paragraph, pointing to a paper with maybe 5-10% of the paid circulation of the Times with a heavy focus on DC, is feeble. But the Bubble heads need reassurance that there was no bias. Everyone was treating it as a "local story," you see. But now that the meanies are ganging up, and now that social media have changed things, the Times moves forward without admitting anything.
The piece tacitly acknowledges my point in a a piece a couple of days ago titled MSM facing a new game with Gosnell blackout.
The social media are available to all sides in the poltiical debate, of course, and it is widely believed that the left, and specifically the Obama machine now somewhat ominously called "Organizing for Action," have vastly surpassed the right in using social media. But when it comes to pressing the MSM -- one of the pillars of progressive power -- conservatives have a decided advantage. A layer of insulation has melted away from the media masters.
And now the New York Times knows it.