Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of a modest, popular bill regulating abortion clinics in the state lasted 11 hours.
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on charges of infanticide in his late-term Philadelphia abortion mill lasted 58 days.
According to the Media Research Center, the mainstream media gave Davis three times the coverage it gave to the Gosnell trial. Pink sneakers trump severed feet in jars.
In the 19 days since her June 25 filibuster, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 40 minutes, 48 seconds of their morning and evening news programs to stories including Davis. That’s more than three times the 13 minutes 30 seconds they gave Gosnell during the entire 58 days of the murder trial.
Again, Davis was filibustering a state bill in a state senate – the kind of event that might merit thorough coverage in Austin, Houston or Dallas, but very rarely makes the Big Three evening newscasts. (The 40 minutes 48 seconds excluded discussion of Davis on the network Sunday talk shows, as well as the “Sunday Spotlight” report about her that appeared on ABC’s “This Week.”) And the networks didn’t find themselves responding to a growing news story. They made it a big news story; CBS “Evening News” featured a live report from outside the Texas senate on June 25 – in the middle of the Davis filibuster.
Numbers don’t do justice to the fawning nature of Davis’ coverage. On the June 26 “Today,” NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell enthused that “Davis came ready with comfortable pink sneakers. At times, she was passionate … other times defiant.” And, lest viewers think countenancing late-term abortions is anything other than a no-brainer, O’Donnell assured them that “Her message struck a cord with the topic ‘Stand with Wendy’ trending on Twitter throughout night.”
Among those who “stood with Wendy” was the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.
During the Gosnell trial, Kliff wrote and tweeted about everything under the sun but that trial. Molly Hemingway tweeted a question at Kliff: Why aren’t you covering Gosnell’s trial?
@MZHemingway Hi Molly – I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) April 11, 2013
“Local crime.” Ok. Then why was Kliff tweeting in support of Wendy Davis during her filibuster of the Texas bill?
As good as the MRC’s study is, I’m not sure that it really captures the full range of media bias on these two stories. While the mainstream media have made Wendy Davis a national name, they have studiously ignored the hard fact that the bill in question was sponsored and championed by women. One of those women is Dr. Donna Campbell, an emergency room physician. She might know a thing or two about why abortion clinics should be upgraded to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
The allegedly mainstream media never bothered to ask her. They were too busy worshiping Davis and her stupid pink shoes.