Did Obama Derangement Syndrome Keep The Conservative Media From Covering The Gosnell Trial?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The latest print copy of The Weekly Standard contains an unsigned editorial condemning the press for not covering the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who is accused of murder after performing illegal later-term abortions at his Philadelphia clinic. Bill Kristol's magazine insists there's "no conceivable professional justification for the Gosnell blackout." And yet the Weekly Standard's editorial represents the first time the magazine has mentioned the Gosnell trial, which began March 18, in its pages, according to a Nexis search.

Kermit Gosnell

It's a pattern we have seen play out again and again in the last week: Indignant conservatives demanding to know why the disturbing Gosnell trial isn't receiving more coverage from the allegedly liberal media, while failing to acknowledge the trial has often been ignored by the conservative press, too. 

Both the New York Post and Fox News' The Five were guilty of that embarrassing infraction last week. And now The Weekly Standard joins the lineup.

The lingering question is, why? Why did a Philadelphia trial that conservatives now insist deserves ongoing, front-page national press coverage manage to interest so few right-leaning journalists for so long? Why did the conservative press get caught in the embarrassing position where members complained about a Gosnell "media blackout" when conservative outlets had apparently participated in the blackout? (Note that as of today, Rupert Murdoch's New York Post and still have not covered the trial as a news story and Murdoch's Wall Street Journal has published just a single report.)

I think the simple answer is that the Gosnell story did not involve President Obama, therefore it didn't sustain the attention of the far-right press, which seems fully committed to producing content that only revolves around attacking the president or ginning up phony outrage about his every action.

For four years, the GOP press has confirmed its obsession with  documenting how Obama is destroying the Constitution and that he his agenda represents payback against white Europeans who settled the country, that he attempted to "assault" liberty with his second inaugural address, the First Family's vacations cost too much, Bob Woodward was threatened by White House "thugs", inviting school children to White House events is offensive and exploitative, Friends of Hamas donated money to Obama's Secretary of Defense, or whatever other nonsense is being shoveled that given week. 

Infected with Obama Derangement Syndrome, conservative journalists often seem incapable of surveying the larger landscape and deciding what's actually newsworthy and important to their cause. They seem incapable of viewing the world through anything but an Obama-hating soda straw. And when looking through that straw in recent weeks, they couldn't see the Gosnell trial because the president was nowhere in sight.

I think the second, larger reason for the lack of interest is that the trial had not been picked up by GOP  partisans, therefore the conservative press didn't bother to elevate the trial the same way it would have if Republican politicians had made it a priority week after week. It just wasn't one of the GOP talking points coming over the digital transom each day.

From Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald, on April 12:

A search of the Congressional Record for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) turns up zero mentions for Gosnell, while a search of the current 113th Congress finds three -- all from yesterday.

I think that explains why major conservative outlets provided such tepid coverage of the trial given the sweeping magnitude we're now told it carries. Despite the recent boast from John Fund that the GOP-friendly media provided "early and consistent coverage," that's just not the case.

A search of the archives at michellemalkin.com finds very few reports about the trial itself. The Weekly Standard website appears to have published just two pieces about the trial (both written by outside contributors) before complaining about the lack of coverage became the story. And responding to claims that conservatives had mostly missed the Gosnell story, National Review Online's Jim Geraghty could only point to a handful of NRO blog posts that dealt with the trial; a trial we're now told should be front-page news everyday, everywhere.

If the conservative press could unplug itself from its Obama outrage machine and find the smallest bit of daylight between itself and the RNC, it might not miss important stories, like the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

The Weekly Standard, National Review Online
William Kristol, John Fund
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