Gosnell Movie Panel: Media Bias and More

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Five years ago, the mainstream media ignored the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. It was only after USA TODAY’s Kirsten Powers blasted her colleagues for burying the story that it received widespread national attention.

That was in 2013. Today, the media still tries to bury Dr. Gosnell’s “House of Horrors,” as Values Voters Summit attendees heard firsthand during a special panel on Friday which promoted the upcoming movie Gosnell: Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

“We were looking to advertise on NPR because they have a lot of true crime stories on there. This is a true crime story,” Gosnell Executive Producer John Sullivan said on the panel. “With NPR, we said we wanted to call him an ‘abortionist,’ and we wanted to talk about how the government and the media had covered this up.”

“They came back to us, and they said, ‘Well, you can’t use the word ‘cover-up,’ and you can’t use the word ‘abortionist.’” Sullivan explained that NPR had used the term “abortion doctor” to describe Gosnell and other abortionists, so his team suggested that term.

NPR’s response: “Why don’t you call him ‘a Philadelphia doctor’?”

“’Cause he’s an orthopedist, right?” mocked panel moderator Sarah Perry.

Sullivan’s story received significant coverage among conservative and pro-life outlets last week, as well as at The Daily Beast by in-house conservative senior writer Matt Lewis. NPR’s excuse to Lewis was, “Sponsor credits that run on NPR are required to be value neutral to comply with FCC requirements and to avoid suggesting bias in NPR’s journalism.”

Sullivan said that his team faced other difficulties in getting the film widespread attention, but “we fought long and hard for over a year to make sure we got a distribution deal that had Netflix included in it” to “subvert the culture in a smart way.”

Sullivan and Perry discussed the movie’s depiction of what Sullivan called “dereliction of duty” in the media’s lack of coverage of Gosnell’s trial. The movie trailer shows empty seats in the courtroom, despite Director Attorney Dan Molinari’s prediction that the media would jump on such a grisly story.

“Gosnell captured the horrific story in a compelling and gut-wrenching manner while managing to avoid blood and gore,” PJ Media Assistant Editor Tyler O’Neil told CatholicVote after watching it on Friday. “The story presented the media’s lack of interest, and showed the sea change after a blogger Tweeted about how unconscionable it was to ignore such a story.”

While Gosnell star Dean Cain supports abortion “until viability,” he told Perry that he decided to join the film’s cast “as soon as I read the script.”

“It was compelling,” said Cain. “It was something that needed to be told….I said ‘yes’ right away, no problem.” He said that he has “absolutely” taken “heat and abuse every day” for being in Gosnell, but instead of making him “mad,” he said “it just shows people’s intolerance…towards listening to another opinion.” Cain highlighted that “people were blowing me up all day long” for showing up to Values Voters Summit.

Cain encouraged people to see Gosnell when it comes out on October 12, though he said he would receive more attacks the more successful the film is. Sullivan said the movie’s director received similar attacks in Hollywood.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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1 Comment

  1. Honestly, it would take about three seconds to do some research about public radio. Simply put, public radio stations don’t air advertisements. They air sponsorships. “Programming on Chicago Public Radio is supported by ____.” (Insert tagline here about blank). Such sponsorships are, by definition, value-neutral, and have been since approximately forever. The very model of public radio doesn’t work with non-neutral advertising. If the airwave truly belongs to all people, who decides what ads air? Whoever pays the most money? Whoever buys out all the slots? Likewise, the model of public radio is predicated on NOT having to sell out to non-value neutral individuals and organizations, since individuals and organizations in the for-profit world have decided it’s morally acceptable to thrown around their wealth to influence news content. Example: Sheldon Adelson.
    This is a non-issue.

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