The Gosnell story and its lessons by Archbishop Charles Chaput: CatholicPhilly.com. April 26, 2013 April 28, 2013Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations.
Tags: abortion, Charles Chaput, Kermit Gosnell
Some stories, no matter how unsettling, just can’t be ignored — even when some people are determined to look away.
The murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell will soon go to jury. And like every other criminally accused person under the law, Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. Whatever the verdict though, there’s no ambiguity about the kind of business he ran at his West Philadelphia “Women’s Medical Center” — an abortion clinic that critics have likened to a meatpacking plant or a butcher shop, with unborn children delivered into a toilet, and jars of fetal body parts stored around the facility.
Dr. Gosnell was originally charged with one count of infanticide and five counts of “abuse of corpse” for killing fetuses born alive by plunging scissors into their necks. Without explanation, the judge in the case accepted a motion to acquit Gosnell of these charges earlier this week. Gosnell still faces four counts of first-degree and one count of third-degree murder. Eight of his coworkers have already pleaded guilty in the case, including three to third-degree murder.
Or so said The New York Times in a report dated April 23. The date is important. Gosnell’s trial began March 18, more than a month ago. The Times coverage, while modest, is significant. Why? Because until shamed into doing it, most prestige national media seemed remarkably eager to ignore the story.
The continuing debate over legalized abortion is a hot-button national issue that drew half a million pro-life demonstrators to Washington in January. The battle over abortion restrictions continues in every state. Forty years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, resistance to permissive abortion remains high. And the vivid details of the Gosnell clinic tragedy have the kind of salacious appeal that few national media would normally avoid — if the issue were anything else. But abortion is too often, and in too many news rooms, exactly the kind of topic that brings on a sudden case of snow blindness.
The real story in the Gosnell trial is bigger than the ugly allegations against Gosnell himself; it includes the failure — the allergic disinterest — of some of our most important national media. A headline in The Atlantic magazine, April 12, states the obvious: “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story: The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.”
The Atlantic story by Conor Friedersdorf is worth reading. But don’t stop there. Read this by Kirsten Powers, columnist for The Daily Beast, in USA Today. And these excellent analyses by journalists Terry Mattingly, Mollie Hemingway and George Conger.
The irony is that much of the media’s lethargy in covering the Gosnell case really doesn’t surprise. It’s part of the fabric of a culture that simply will not see what it doesn’t want to see about the realities of abortion. And it leads to the kind of implausible claim made recently by one local commentator that “no sense of guilt is warranted” by the media because “there is no causal connection between coverage of [the Gosnell] case and bias.” It’s hard to imagine a more untenable alibi.
The brutality in abortion is intimate, personal and permanent. It violates women, and it kills a developing human life every time — whether the venue is a “Women’s Medical Center”-style meat factory or a soothing suburban clinic. What makes the Gosnell story unique is that it should distress anyone with its details, pro-choice or pro-life, regardless of religion or politics.
But of course, people need to know about an evil before they can do anything about it.
Printed in CatholicPhilly.com
Interview: Issues, Etc.: February 21, 2013 February 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Press criticism.
Tags: anti-Catholic bias, Guardian
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on 21 February 2013
Interview: Issues, Etc., January 22, 2013 January 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc.
Tags: BBC, Paris, Sydney Morning Herald
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on 22 Jan 2013
Interview: Issues, Etc., November 19, 2012 November 22, 2012Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Press criticism.
Tags: adultery, gay marriage, New York Times
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on 19 Nov 2012.
2. Media Coverage of Adultery, Gays in Pakistan, and same-sex marriage in Spain – George Conger, 11/19/12
Interview: Issues, Etc., September 24, 2012 September 25, 2012Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Politics, Press criticism.
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on Sept 24, 2012.
2. Media Coverage of the Cairo and Behghazi Attacks, and Mohammad Cartoons in a French Magazine – George Conger, 9/24/12
Interview: Issues, Etc., August 14, 2012 August 15, 2012Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Religion Reporting.
Tags: Amendment 2, Inclusive Catholics, Marc Dutroux, RNS
Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on Aug 14, 2012.
Tags: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Religion & Ethics Report, same-sex blessings
It was the church of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, George Bush Sr and seven other United States presidents. The Episcopal Church is the US branch of the Anglican Church and it was once very influential. More than a third of Supreme Court justices have been Episcopalians. It was one of the first mainstream churches to ordain women; the first to consecrate an openly gay bishop. But over the past 20 years, the church has lost more than a third of its members, falling from 3.4 million in 1992 to 2.3 million in 2012. Now, following its convention in Indianapolis, the Episcopal Church appears on the brink of collapse. Beliefnet.com reports 46 members of the synod have spoken out in support of seceding from the Episcopal Church; six bishops have petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury for permission to leave the Church but remain part of the worldwide Anglican communion. Not all the tension is over liberal policies on sexuality. There’s also deep disagreement on fundamental matters of Christian doctrine. Author, journalist, and Episcopal minister from Florida, George Conger, explains the developments at the convention that sparked the latest crisis.
Tags: gay marriage, Seventh-Day Adventism
In this week’s podcast Issues Etc. host Todd Wilkin and I discussed two recent GetReligion stories: Gay marriages in Denmark and the Lindy Chamberlain affairin Australia. Press ignorance quickly became the theme of the show.
Todd opened the show asking how I could say the Daily Telegraph had done a good job on reporting the story, yet made a rookie’s mistake by blowing its lede. The article claimed that all churches in Denmark would now be compelled to perform gay marriages, when the new laws apply only to the state Lutheran church.
I could not say what caused the mistake, but suggested ignorance might play its part. I did applaud the even-handed way in which the Telegraph reported on this issue — giving supporters and opponents equal opportunity to speak.
However, our conversation quickly turned to the implications for the rest of Europe and America about this issue. This is a live issue in Britain as the government has vowed to introduce gay marriage. The Church of England has voiced its strong opposition over this innovation — and it has dismissed government assurances that its ministers will be compelled to perform gay marriages. A promise today is not binding on the government of tomorrow, the church fears, while one never knows what the European Court of Human Rights may do next.
Ignorance was the central theme of our second topic, the Lindy Chamberlain story from Australia. Made famous in the U.S. by the Meryl Streep movie A Cry in the Dark, Lindy Chamberlain was jailed for murdering her baby after a jury rejected her claim that a dingo carried the child away. Behind the conviction — and a source of endless and unprofessional speculation in the press — was the role the Chamberlain’s Seventh-day Adventist faith played.
Did Seventh-day Adventists practice ritual sacrifice? What strange things were the Chamberlains, devotees of a strange faith, up to in the desert?
To this day the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia maintains a website page countering the more outlandish claims and stories arising from the Lindy Chamberlain case.
Tune in friends to Issues, Etc. for all the fun.
First published in GetReligion.
Interview: Issues, Etc. March 29, 2012 May 12, 2012Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Press criticism, Religion Reporting.
Tags: New York Times
Here is a link to a radio interview I gave to Lutheran Public Radio‘s Issues, Etc. program first broadcast on March 29, 2012.
The topics was the New York Times coverage of religion news.
Interview: Issues Etc, May 11, 2012 May 12, 2012Posted by geoconger in Interviews/Citations, Issues Etc, Presbyterian/Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: Colorado Springs Gazette, First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, Irish Times, Sean Brady
Here is a link to a radio interview I gave to Lutheran Public Radio‘s Issues, Etc. program first broadcast on May 11, 2012.
The topics were the vote by First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs to withdraw from the PCUSA and the press coverage of the Irish clergy abuse scandal.
Tags: Etc., Issues, New York Times
Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to the dramatic art; for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible. Thus it is that all journalists are, in the very nature of their calling, alarmists; and this is their way of giving interest to what they write. Herein they are like little dogs; if anything stirs, they immediately set up a shrill bark.
Arthur Schopenhauer, On Some Forms of Literature (1851)
A long time ago (for me) and in a far away place (actually Harare) I had my first experience of the foreign correspondent’s life. Amongst the many lessons I learned on that trip, the most important — aside from learning how to ingratiate oneself with a policemen armed with a machine pistol — was the central place of the “mahogany ridge” in reporting.
While events played themselves out in different parts of the city, the real action, the real news in Zimbabwe was to be found at the bar of Meikles Hotel for many of the reporters present. These memories of that exotic species — the Fleet Street hack — came to the surface for me in recent weeks as I read a number of stories in the New York Times about events in Holland and Moscow.
I took the Times to task for its reporting of the alleged castration by the Dutch Catholic Church of young men (how that one got by the editors I do not know) and on Pussy Riot and Russian Orthodox Church. I argued these stories did not live up to the standards of good journalism and asserted they displayed a lack of balance, context, sensibility and history.
I was rather hard on the Times. Did these stories rise to the level of journalism decried by Arthur Schopenhauer? Is their flavor akin to Evelyn Waugh’s anecdote about the fictitious American reporter Wenlock Jakes in the novel Scoop?
Why, once Jakes went out to cover a revolution in one of the Balkan capitals. He overslept in his carriage, woke up at the wrong station, didn’t know any different, got out, went straight to an hotel, and cabled off a thousand-word story about barricades in the streets, flaming churches, machine-guns answering the rattle of his typewriter as he wrote, a dead child, like a broken doll, spreadeagled in the deserted roadway below his window — you know.
On this week’s Issues, Ect. host Todd Wilken and I talked about the Times‘ coverage of these two stories — and demonstrated my lack of polish as a radio commentator. This is my first foray into internet radio podcasting for GetReligion. We’ll see if they ask me back.
First printed at GetReligion.
Anglican.TV episode July 23, 2011 July 24, 2011Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Interviews/Citations.
A new episode of Anglican.TV was filmed last week and released on July 23.
Anglican.TV Episode July 15, 2011 July 17, 2011Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Interviews/Citations, The Episcopal Church.
A new episode of Anglican.TV recorded on July 14 and broadcast on July 15.
Topics this week are the Nevada controversy and the Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leadership deficit of the Church of England, and the Anglican Mission in England.
Anglican Report with George Conger and Kevin Kallsen from Long Beach, CA broadcast June 25, 2011 June 26, 2011Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Interviews/Citations, The Episcopal Church.
Stephen Crittenden, host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) National Radio program The Religion Report interviewed me for the show’s June 4 broadcast on the topic of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and the church crisis in Zimbabwe.