Several readers have contacted me recently criticizing The Star for not covering the trial of Kermit Gosnell, who performed abortions at an unlicensed clinic in Philadelphia. He's currently on trial for the murder of one adult woman and seven infants.
I'll be the first to admit that I simply don't understand the national cable news channels, which I don't watch regularly. I've never really grasped what makes them focus on some stories, such as the Jodi Arias murder trial, other than the obvious lurid appeal.
But there's no question that once these stories take hold in the public's consciousness, a self-sustaining loop develops and it demands ongoing coverage. And in general, The Star doesn't follow those stories in great detail unless they have a direct connection to the Kansas City area.
Gosnell made The Star's print edition twice in 2011 when he was charged in 2011. I haven't seen any coverage in print since the trial started. However, KansasCity.com has run several stories from the wire services.
It's sometimes difficult to have a rational conversation about topics that involve abortion, and I think some people are missing the forest for the trees here. The heart of the story from a simple journalistic standpoint is that Gosnell is accused of multiple murders and illegal medical procedures.
Would that be in regional papers outside Philadelphia, such as The Star, if the doctor instead performed other procedures and caused the deaths? I usually don't like what ifs, but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say it would probably generate some coverage. It isn't the kind of story one normally sees on The Star's front page, but it wouldn't be out of place inside the A section, which covers national and world events of all kinds.
And that's why the story's relatively low profile looks like bias to many readers. It's not difficult to understand why they'd think any paper that hasn't published stories about it is doing so because it doesn't want to print something that puts an abortion provider in a bad light.
I've shared all this feedback with the editors who work on the A section. You don't have to be an abortion opponent to find this news important.