Updated 05/10/13 at 2:00 pm EST.
PRINCETON, NJ, May 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Only a tiny percentage of Americans - 7% - are following the sensational Gosnell trial "very closely" according to a new poll by Gallup. Another 18% said they were following it "somewhat closely." But according to Gallup even the combined total of Americans following the story at all - 25% - "is well below the 61 percent average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991."
At least part of the blame may be due to a media blackout in the case. Of those following the case, 46% said they believe the media has not been reporting enough on the trial, as opposed to 20% who said the media has been reporting "too much" on it.
Gosnell is facing capital murder charges for allegedly severing the spines of live newborn babies who survived late-term abortion attempts, as well one third-degree murder charge for the overdose death of a woman under his care. However, workers at Gosnell’s filthy “House of Horrors” clinic in Philadelphia have testified that “hundreds” of living newborn babies may have been killed by having their spinal cords snipped.
Gosnell also faces hundreds of additional counts of wrongdoing, including breaking federal drug laws and performing abortions after Pennsylvania’s 24-week legal cutoff.
Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll was conducted May 2-7, right after closing arguments in the Gosnell trial. It showed that American attitudes toward abortion are nearly unchanged in the wake of the grisly case.
According to Gallup’s research, currently, 26% of Americans favor legalized abortion under any and all circumstances, 13% favor legality under most circumstances, 38% favor it in only a few circumstances, and 20% say it should always be illegal. These numbers are similar to polls from May and December of 2012, before the Gosnell trial began.
Gallup researchers speculate that the main reason the Gosnell has had no impact on abortion attitudes is that that relatively few Americans are paying attention to the case.
Pro-life activists have charged the mainstream media with gross negligence in failing to cover the case, making it difficult for ordinary Americans to find information on the case, even if they wanted to.
On April 12, mid-way through the Gosnell trial, hundreds of thousands of frustrated pro-life activists and others took to Twitter en masse for a Gosnell “Tweetfest” in an attempt to spread the word about the trial of the abortionist and pressure the media into covering it. By the end of the day over half a million Gosnell-related ‘tweets’ had been sent on the social media site.
In the wake of the Tweet-fest several large media outlets, including CNN, did sit up and take notice of the trial, but coverage quickly waned in the wake of the Boston bombing, and has remained spotty ever since.
In late April 72 members of Congress sent a strongly-worded letter to the three mainstream American broadcast networks – ABC, NBC and CBS – accusing them of “blatant media bias” for failing to report on the case, and calling it “one of the biggest and most politically-motivated media cover-ups in our nation’s history.”
Some journalists themselves admitted that their fear of how the grotesque case might influence public opinion against abortion kept them from covering the story.
“I say we didn’t write more because the only abortion story most outlets ever cover in the news pages is every single threat or perceived threat to abortion rights,” wrote Melinda Henneberger of The Washington Post. “In fact, that is so fixed a view of what constitutes coverage of that issue that it’s genuinely hard, I think, for many journalists to see a story outside that paradigm as news, even if that’s less a conscious decision than a reflex,” she wrote.
Her column came just days after the Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, said, “We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.”
Liberal feminist commentator Kirsten Powers of USAToday called her colleagues out for their cowardice.
“Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven't heard about these sickening accusations?” asked Powers in the opening to her column, published on USAToday.
“It's not your fault,” she wrote. “Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.”
“Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. ... Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn't make the cut."
Powers concluded: “You don't have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life.’ It's about basic human rights. The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.”