The media are often criticized for spending too much time covering sensational crime stories. But that’s not so in the Philadelphia murder trial of an abortion doctor named Kermit Gosnell. A just-released Fox News national poll asked why.
Gosnell is accused of killing babies born alive in his abortion clinic. Two of his employees have already pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for killing babies born alive. Gosnell pleaded not guilty and his case went to trial. The defense rested Wednesday and closing arguments begin Monday.
The latest Fox poll asked voters why they thought the Gosnell case received relatively little attention from the national press.
The most common answer: Bias. Forty-one percent of voters think the lack of coverage is because there’s a pro-abortion rights bias in the news media.
Another 26 percent say the lack of national coverage is because this is a local crime story, while 17 percent blame it on the gruesomeness of the story’s details.
The Fox poll finds that only about a third of voters say they are familiar with the Gosnell story (11 percent say “very” and 21 percent “somewhat” familiar). Most voters -- 68 percent -- are unfamiliar with it.
Seventy-two members of Congress signed three separate letters to network news executives last Thursday expressing their displeasure with the lack of news coverage and demanding the networks report on the story.
Among just those who are familiar, over half -- 57 percent -- think the reason the story hasn’t received more attention is media bias. The remaining views are split between the details being too horrific (18 percent) and it not being a national story (16 percent).
Pro-life respondents (42 percent) are twice as likely as those who are pro-choice (22 percent) to be familiar with the Gosnell case. Likewise, nearly twice as many Republicans (43 percent) as Democrats (22 percent) say they know about it.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,009 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 20 to April 22. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.