New York Times Maintains Blackout on Philadelphia Abortionist Gosnell's Trial on Infanticide

Kermit Gosnell is the late-term abortion doctor in Philadelphia, on trial for infanticide in the gruesome killing of seven babies. The day after his trial began March 18 (as Tom Blumer noted at Newsbusters) Jon Hurdle at the New York Times opened by telling readers that "In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor who operated a women’s health clinic here killed seven viable fetuses..."

Fetuses? The Times more accurately described it in a January 2011 brief, when Gosnell was first charged with murder:

An abortion doctor who served minority and immigrant women in his clinic in Philadelphia was charged with multiple counts of murder on Wednesday in the deaths of a woman and seven newborn babies whose spinal cords had been cut with scissors, the district attorney’s office said.

The paper ran two additional stories over the next month, focusing on the clinic's horrific conditions, but then dropped it completely until last month's story on "viable fetuses." The Times has yet to pick it up again, even as conservatives have shamed some other media outlets into at least noticing their initial omissions and playing catch up. Only today, April 15, has the paper succumbed to public pressure and sent a reporter to cover the trial.

For instance, the Washington Post has covered it sporadically since the outcry. Yet the only mention of the case Times Watch could find in the Times since the March 20 story was in Sunday's column by right-leaning columnist Ross Douthat on bias by omission in the liberal media, though Douthat doesn't use Gosnell's name.

“Leading the conversation” is how you end up with the major Sunday shows somehow neglecting to invite a single anti-amnesty politician on a weekend dominated by the immigration debate. It’s how you end up with officially nonideological anchors and journalists lecturing social conservatives for being out of step with modern values. And it’s how you end up with a press corps that went all-in for the supposed “war on women” having to be shamed and harassed -- by two writers in particular, Kirsten Powers in USA Today and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway of GetReligion -- into paying attention to the grisly case of a Philadelphia doctor whose methods of late-term abortion included snipping the spines of neonates after they were delivered.

The Times isn't ignoring crime and abortion entirely. The paper focused on an older and much-covered case of abortion murders in its Sunday lead editorial, "Courage in Kansas – Four years after the murder of a Wichita abortion provider, a new women's clinic has opened." That editorial managed not to mention the Gosnell case.

Giving in, the Times as of Monday morning now has a reporter, Trip Gabriel, at the Gosnell trial, according to Public Editor Margaret Sullivan.