By Dave Andrusko
Four years in the making, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (which will be in theaters October 12) knows all about obstacles and overcoming them. As we have reported many times in the past, the first attempt by co-producers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer to crowdfund via Kickstarter was shot down. However another crowdfunding route raised $2.2 million!
And as our readers also know, the husband and wife team had an awful time finding a distributor. But now, at long last, the movie will be shown next month and the story of Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist convicted of three counts of first-degree murder, will reach a larger audience.
Kudos to Matt Lewis. Posting at the Daily Beast today, Lewis narrated a genuinely remarkable story of media bias on steroids.
If you’re going to get an audience, you have to advertise. So, Lewis tells us, early last month, the film’s executive producer approached National Public Radio offering to purchase a sponsorship for Fresh Air. John Sullivan
who was prepared to spend as much as six figures, crafted his ad copy to answer the question you’re probably asking: Who is Gosnell? The proposed ad was as follows, “Support for this NPR program comes from the film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. The film is the true story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. A story the mainstream media tried to cover up because it reveals the truth about abortion.”
No dice. According to e-mails provided to The Daily Beast, NPR’s representative ran it up the legal flagpole and came back with a disappointing answer. In addition to other minor tweaks to the wording, their response stated, “The word ‘abortionist’ will also need to be changed to the neutral word ‘doctor.’
Lewis’s excellent account details the back and forth trying to find language NPR would allow. For example, “abortion doctor” is used by many media outlets. But that language didn’t work either. It was going to be “doctor” or no dice.
As Lewis then explains
For the filmmakers, this was a deal-breaker. “Our movie isn’t about a podiatrist or a cardiologist or a proctologist,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “It’s specifically about a doctor who performs abortions.”
In explaining their response, NPR’s Senior Director of Media Relations Isabel Lara talked about how NPR couldn’t show “bias.” (That’s rich.)
Lara sent me the modified language that was acceptable to NPR, which reads: “Hat Tip Distribution, with the film ‘Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,’ based on the true story of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. Out Friday
If you’ve followed either the saga of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer or listen to NPR, or both, this is really odd. Lewis provides multiple examples of how NPR has already used “abortion doctor,” including “even an NPR news story about Kermit Gosnell himself, and it was headlined, ‘Convicted Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Gets Life in Prison.’”
Be that as it may, be sure to make plans to see Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer when it comes out.