Gosnell trial garners (some) national interest

DrKermitGosnell
Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his lawyer, William Brennan, talks to DN reporter on Monday, March 8, 2010. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

In the last week, the story became why the national press isn’t covering the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic and the alleged horrors that occurred within.

Gosnell is charged with eight homicides, the deaths of seven newborns and 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a healthy Nepalese refugee who came to Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Center seeking an abortion and died from a drug overdose.

A lot of mea culpas and hand-wringing occurred in the national press while covering one of its absolute favorite subjects: itself. Theories abounded to the point that The Atlantic.com catalogued a possible list of 14 as to why the networks and larger newspapers weren't covering the story.

Mongar’s name was rarely if ever mentioned in these stories or the number of newborns Gosnell and his associates are charged with killing.

In the press covering itself, the Gosnell case isn’t a ghastly, gruesome multiple homicide case but a chance to fling accusations about political prejudice, racial preference, and lack of a national legislative momentum.

Certainly, we will hear more.

In Judge Jeffrey Minehart’s courtroom Monday, there were additional reporters in attendance though not a significant increase. Meanwhile, The Inquirer’s Joseph Slobodzian has been inundated with interview requests from CNN, CBS, PBS, Fox NY and the Washington Post.

The trial is now in its fifth week after 25 witnesses, Monday bringing expert medical testimony. The large third-floor courtroom is crowded with ancient, outdated equipment from Gosnell’s Lancaster Avenue clinic.

All the while, the freckled doctor sits there smiling, taking copious notes on a yellow legal pad as though he is only there as an interested observer.

--Karen Heller

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