By Kim Plummer Krull
If you know the name Kermit Gosnell, you might credit Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, a media critic who helped spotlight mainstream reporters’ lack of coverage of the murder trial of the Philadelphia abortion doctor.
“I’m glad that journalists were finally forced to acknowledge their failures in covering this story — and abortion in general — and I’m glad that some are beginning to ask themselves why,” said Hemingway, senior writer for GetReligion and a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va. “We’ve seen too much advocacy in favor of abortion and too little quality journalism on our abortion culture.”
While many national newscasts and major newspapers largely ignored the weeks-long trial, Hemingway used the social media tool Twitter to ask reporters why they snubbed what Hemingway called “arguably the country’s most horrific serial murder trial.”
“I got some fascinating answers, including [from] The Washington Post reporter who wrote dozens of stories favorable to abortion-rights advocates, who told me she thought it was nothing more than a local crime story. Since her response was visible to everyone, it sparked outrage and eventually led to The Washington Post agreeing to cover the story,” Hemingway said in an email interview May 1.
Hemingway’s role in helping bring news coverage to the abortion doctor trial also led to an appearance on a Fox News broadcast.
A former Christianity Today columnist, Hemingway has written for GetReligion.org, which analyzes how the mainstream media covers religion, since 2005.
Her Lutheran understanding of vocation, she says, “helps me understand my role.”
“Through my various vocations, I aim to serve God by serving my neighbor,” Hemingway said. “When I’m writing a news story, I don’t think my job is to convert anyone but, rather, to just share the basic information that helps the reader. When I’m doing media criticism, I push journalists not to share my political or religious beliefs but, rather, to just practice their journalism fairly. When I’m writing opinion pieces, then I get to argue for a given cause.”
Hemingway hails from Castle Rock, Colo., where her father, the Rev. Larry Ziegler, is pastor of Mount Zion Lutheran Church. She and her husband, journalist Mark Hemingway, have two young daughters.
As she awaits the Gosnell case verdict, Hemingway sees no shortage of future topics to cover. “My big stories right now revolve around religious liberty, marriage law and basic reporting errors on religion news stories,” she said.
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.