Monday, May 27, 2013

The two different worlds of Jodi Arias and Dr. Kermit Gosnell

I do not pretend to understand why the mainstream media chooses some stories to emphasize more than others. I gave up trying to do that long ago after my attempts to understand yielded nothing but pounding headaches.
However, there have been two recent court cases that have caused me to scratch my head once again. The two cases involve Jodi Arias and Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
The only way people could not know of the Arias case is if they have been living in a cave in South America for the last four months. Actually, that lifestyle sounds more appealing than having to live through the excruciating detail in which the mainstream media has brought us this case.
Arias was recently convicted of first degree murder of her ex-boyfriend. During the trial, the media micro-analyzed every morsel of information provided. Explicit details about sex lives, Mormon religious beliefs, and gruesome details about the killing were presented in eyebrow-raising detail.
Every year or two, the media anoints certain stories to cram down the throats of the public, and I guess this one was chosen for early 2013. I know no formal votes are taken on such things. Things just turn out this way.
However, when so much time and energy is presented to one trial, others fall through the cracks. The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia is one trial that did not receive anywhere near the amount of coverage it deserved.
Gosnell is an abortion doctor who was charged with four counts of first degree murder, and among the allegations were that he was responsible for the snipping of spinal cords of premature babies born alive. He was convicted on three of those counts.
Call me crazy, but the potential murder of newborn babies by a doctor seems a lot more compelling than the sex life of Jodi Arias. Despite this, the Gosnell case went largely ignored by the mainstream media.
I credit columnist and pundit Kirsten Powers for practically shaming the media into providing what little coverage was reported. After her efforts, some light was shown on the trial but nowhere near what should have been.
There have been plenty of excuses. Some rationalized that the testimony in the Gosnell trial was just too graphic to be reported. I agree the testimony was graphic, but the subject matter was infinitely more important than the circus surrounding the Arias trial. And the Arias trial was definitely graphic when it came to evidence reported.
The biggest disappointment of the Gosnell trial was how quiet pro-choice abortion rights groups were. There was not much criticism of Gosnell, and what little there was came late.
As for why one trial got so much coverage and one did not, I am not naïve. The Arias trial was one that titillated. It had sex, obsession, romance, murder and a lot of other things that appeal to us.
On the other hand, the Gosnell trial dealt with issues that are difficult to talk about and are polarizing to the public. Still, it is hard to believe people would be more interested in a woman whacking her ex-boyfriend compared to a doctor accused of murdering babies.
However, maybe this is the culture we live in. Even when watching our justice system, we want to be entertained and want to use it as a form of escapism. I do not want to believe this is the case, but television networks and web sites know what types of stories will cause people to be interested.
And, apparently, the Gosnell trial was not one of those trials. I guess we can only take so much when watching the news over our evening dinner.

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