September 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – National Public Radio nixed using the terms “abortionist” and “abortion doctor” to reference convicted murderer and late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell when producers of the forthcoming Gosnell movie tried to purchase NPR airtime sponsorship to promote the film.
NPR’s decision to prohibit the language follows years of obstacles faced by filmmakers in getting the Gosnell story told beyond the pro-life community.
The film, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, is set for release in October.
Leaked emails show that NPR leadership insisted the term “abortionist” be changed to “doctor,” The Daily Beast reported. When producers offered the compromise terminology of “abortion doctor,” NPR still refused.
Gosnell executive producer John Sullivan, ready to drop as much as six figures for a sponsorship for NPR’s Peabody Award-winning weekday interview program, Fresh Air, wrote his ad copy to address a key question for potential viewers, according to the report: Who is Gosnell?
Sullivan’s proposed ad read:
“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.”
Together with other edits, the NPR response stated, “The word ‘abortionist’ will also need to be changed to the neutral word ‘doctor.’”
Sullivan, who also co-directed Dinesh D’Souza’s successful first two documentaries, then suggested “abortion doctor,” considering the term to be both descriptive and neutral morally.
NPR said no. It was “Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell” or nothing.
“Our movie isn’t about a podiatrist or a cardiologist or a proctologist,” producer Phelim McAleer said. “It’s specifically about a doctor who performs abortions.”
The makers of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer have faced challenges in the media as well, along with the legal system and abortion-friendly Hollywood. The judge at the Gosnell trial, Jeffrey Minehart, sued last year to block the release of the film, alleging the movie and the book written by the producers it was based upon slandered his integrity.
The film was funded by a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, and every major distributor in Hollywood rejected it. Producers reached a deal with independent distributor GVN Releasing, announced earlier this past summer after the legal matter with Minehart was resolved.
GVN will open the film in as many as 750 theaters next month, with DVD and Blu-ray disc sales and streaming deals to follow.
Asked to comment on NPR’s refusal to allow Gosnell to be termed as either an “abortionist” or an “abortion doctor,” NPR senior director of media relations Isabel Lara stated, “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.”
The language approved by taxpayer-funded NPR was: “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.”
The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis noted that it remained unclear why “abortion doctor” was unacceptable.
He listed other previous NPR stories that included the term. Some of them were:
“Joyce Carol Oates' New Novel Begins With an Abortion Doctor's Murder” and “Abortion Doctor Killer Appeals to Kansas High Court.”
Additionally, NPR did a special series called “Training the next generation of abortion doctors,” and an NPR news story about Gosnell had the headline, “Convicted Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Gets Life in Prison.”
Lewis wrote that the controversy “is merely the latest example of why conservatives have a legitimate gripe about liberal media bias.”
“Most Americans have never heard the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell because the mainstream journalists chose not to cover the trail,” producer Ann McElhinney told MRC Culture in June, because “the left don't want the truth about abortion to be known.”
“The movie is as much as exposé of the media as it is of abortion,” McElhinney said. “The media who ignored the story will have to explain to millions of people who will see the movie why they censored this story.”
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