Ought to be done, but won’t be: Jonathan Capehart brought a touch of comic relief to the flap about Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell is the Philadelphia doctor who is on trial for a wide range of abuses at his abortion clinic. How crazy was Dr. Gosnell?
This crazy: According to the grand jury report, “The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely.” Gosnell is charged with more serious crimes, but that helps paint the picture.
Starting on April 11, conservatives began to complain that the mainstream press wasn’t covering Gosnell’s trial enough. We’d be inclined to agree.
On the other hand, conservative news orgs were largely ignoring the trial as well! In this morning’s New York Times, Trip Gabriel reports the completely ridiculous conduct at the Washington Times:
GABRIEL (4/16/13): 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.Let's review:
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.”
As of April 11, the Washington Times was ignoring the trial. Since then, the Washington Times has been loudly complaining that mainstream orgs were ignoring the trial!
This is a wonderfully comic example of our utterly clownish and subhuman American public discourse. In this case, it’s also a wonderful example of the relentless pile of big stupid shit conservative voters are constantly handed by orgs like the Washington Times.
In a slightly more rational world, liberal activists and mainstream news orgs would explore this contradiction more fully. Ideally, liberals would speak to conservative leaning voters, using this case to help them see the ways they are often abused.
Remember when Fox kept telling those voters that Romney was way ahead in the polls? Here is another groaning example where many such voters might be able to see the way they are constantly clowned.
Sad to say, the liberal world will not be approaching conservative voters that way. The liberal world has very few forums to which such voters pay any attention.
Our career liberal “leaders” spend lots of time entertaining us with attacks on such voters—often, with blindingly stupid attacks. (Rachel Maddow's week-and-a-half of dick jokes remains the all-time example.) In the process, we lose the ability to help such voters see how badly they often get played.
(At present, your lizard brain is telling you that it’s all the conservatives’ fault. You should spend less time with your lizard.)
It’s also unlikely that the mainstream press will do much with this comical episode. Gabriel downplays this part of the story. In our opinion, so did Paul Farhi in yesterday’s Washington Post.
Farhi discussed the conservative clowning midway through his report—after his report has left the front page of the Style section. In our opinion, he then overstates the amount of coverage the story was getting on Fox:
FARHI (4/15/13): The charge of liberal media bias is perhaps undercut by the fact that a number of conservative media outlets—and conservative leaders—overlooked the story, too, until a flood of tweets and commentaries about it began late last week.Please. Fox was doing next to nothing as of April 11, when the coverage flap blew up due to Powers’ op-ed column. Before that day, the Gosnell story had only been mentioned once on Fox in the previous two weeks, dating all the way back to March 28.
The Weekly Standard and the National Review, two leading conservative magazines, for example, hadn’t published anything on the trial, according to a search of the Nexis database. The New York Post’s conservative editorial board has written one commentary—an editorial lamenting the lack of coverage, which, although it doesn’t mention it, includes its own paper. The Washington Times has published five staff-written articles and guest commentaries on the matter, all focusing on the absence of press coverage.
Fox News has been the only consistent national TV source on the story, having run 11 news reports or commentaries on it over the past month.
Also note: Farhi and Gabriel managed to note the clownish conduct of the Washington Times. But neither reporter told us if the more powerful Wall Street Journal had been covering this topic. And while Farhi overstated the coverage on Fox, Gabriel didn't bother describing the coverage on Fox at all.
Is this really the best our major newspapers can do? When it comes to complaints about powerful conservatives, the answer to that is yes.
The liberal world simply doesn’t have game when it comes to matters like this. We don’t know how to talk to conservatives. And our “leaders” refuse to challenge the timid conduct of our big mainstream news organs such as the Post and the Times.
And good lord, how timid those organs are! They would rather jump off a bridge than challenge the world of Fox. This brings us back to the clownish Capehart, providing some comic relief:
In this morning’s New York Times, Gabriel tells us what the Washington Post’s Martin Baron has said regarding his paper’s failure to cover this trial. Beyond that, Gabriel says that his own newspaper, the New York Times, did cover the trial’s first day.
But what about the Washington Times? There is no sign that they were asked to explain their ridiculous conduct, even as Gabriel hurries past Fox and the WSJ altogether.
At any rate, Baron copped a plea on behalf of the Washington Post, inspiring Capehart’s comedy stylings. Here's what Capehart says in a blog post for that same Washington Post:
CAPEHART (4/16/13): Many critics claim that there has been silence on the Gosnell case from the national media because of the abortion issue. I side with The Post’s executive editor Martin Baron on this. “I wish I could be conscious of all stories everywhere,” he told The Post’s Paul Farhi yesterday, “but I can’t be. Nor can any of us.”Too funny! Capehart’s boss said he didn't know about the Gosnell trial. Capehart says he “sides with” Baron on that, whatever that might mean.
We thought that was the comic relief. Instantly, though, Capehart topped it:
CAPEHART (continuing directly): Ultimately, the conspiracy of silence on Gosnell lies not with the press. It lies with the workers at the clinic who allegedly participated in barbarous acts or allegedly watched them happen and said nothing. It lies with members of the community who knew about the alleged deplorable activity and conditions at “Women’s Medical Society” and said nothing. And it lies with Philadelphia and Pennsylvania officials who fielded numerous credible complaints about Gosnell and did nothing.By the immutable rules of the guild, the silence can’t lie with Capehart's newspaper! The real silence lies with the people who worked in the clinic—the people who were apparently committing crimes, just like Dr. Gosnell. (Many have already pled.)
The Post didn't give Gosnell a pass. His accomplices should have spoken up on their own!
In these days of degradation, that is the voice of your upper-end press corps! Truly, when it comes to our press elite, it’s mediocrity—or something much worse—pretty much all the way up!