Conservative media, led by Fox News, are alleging that their “liberal” mainstream counterparts have purposefully ignored the horrific case of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor charged with eight counts of murder for grisly procedures committed under the guise of women's reproductive health. But when news of Gosnell's arrest and the enormity of his alleged crimes first broke in January 2011, Fox News covered the story the least of the three cable networks.
In recent days, Fox has been working to ascribe nefarious motives to the allegation that mainstream outlets have supposedly ignored Gosnell. “The fact that it is not covered I think is easily explained,” said Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer on the April 11 edition of Special Report. “It puts the pro-abortion forces in a very bad light.”
Gosnell was arrested on January 19, 2011, and the details of the allegations against him were made public that same day. A search* of Media Matters' transcript and video archive (along with Nexis transcripts) from January 19 to January 31, 2011, revealed that among the three major cable news networks, Gosnell's arrest was covered the most by CNN (33 minutes, 24 seconds of coverage), followed by MSNBC (9 minutes, 16 seconds), followed by Fox News (6 minutes, 31 seconds).
Fox News' coverage of Gosnell's arrest was confined to a brief report on the January 20 edition of Special Report, a longer report on the January 21 Special Report, and a January 27 segment on The O'Reilly Factor. MSNBC featured three separate reports on the January 20 edition of Jansing & Co., the January 21 edition of First Look, and the January 23 edition of MSNBC News Live. CNN's coverage was spread across seven segments airing on CNN Newsroom between January 19 and January 25. Re-airings of programs that featured Gosnell coverage were not included in the final tally.
In addition to devoting more time overall to the story, CNN also featured interviews with Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams, one of Gosnell's former patients, and the relatives of one of Gosnell's alleged victims.
*Keywords searched for include “kermit,” “gosnell,” “abortion,” “murder,” “philadelphia,” and related terms.