A fascinating, soul-searching piece by Megan McArdle — who happens to be pro-choice — on why she didn’t initially cover the Kermit Gosnell trial. (In case you’ve missed it, there’s been a groundswell of protest regarding the apparent lack of coverage of the Gosnell case in the mainstream media.)
I could defend myself by saying that I wasn’t aware that the Gosnell trial was going on. Abortion is not my beat, and the mailing lists that I am on weren’t exactly blasting the news of this trial.
But that doesn’t totally let me off the hook. I knew about the Gosnell case, and I wish I had followed it more closely, even though I’d rather not. In fact, those of us who are pro-choice should be especially interested. The whole point of legal abortion is to prevent what happened in Philadelphia: to make it safer and more humane. Somehow that ideal went terribly, horribly awry. We should demand to know why.
The photo of the empty press section at the Gosnell trial is pretty damning, by the way.
Related: Conor Friedersdorf has written a fantastic piece for The Atlantic asking why the Gosnell case hasn’t received more coverage, considering the number of angles that it contains.
[T]his isn’t solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn’t make national headlines?
But it isn’t even solely a story of a rogue clinic that’s awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions! If I were a city editor for any Philadelphia newspaper the grand jury report would suggest a dozen major investigative projects I could undertake if I had the staff to support them. And I probably wouldn’t have the staff. But there is so much fodder for additional reporting.