NPR Shies Away From Calling Gosnell "Abortion" Doctor

Uploaded 9/18/18 by JVL, courtesy of Gosnell site

As much as we on the pro-life side like to think the name of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is a household name, far too many people don’t know about him or the horrors he inflicted on vulnerable women – or that he was tried and convicted of murder. A new documentary, Gosnell, telling that story, is set to open in October.


John Sullivan, the movie’s executive producer, approached NPR and wanted to sponsor “Fresh Air,” the network’s popular (well, for NPR) interview segment. Matt Lewis at the Daily Beast writes:

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.”

Seems straightforward. The man is serving three life terms in prison after his conviction, and abortion is something normal, something to be proud of, right?

Only if it’s not associated with a serial killer, apparently.

According to emails provided to the Daily Beast, NPR thought “abortionist” was too strong, so Sullivan proposed “abortion doctor.” NPR again refused, saying they’d only allow them to describe Gosnell as a “Philadelphia doctor.”

He’s not *just* a doctor. He’s an abortion doctor. As producer Phelim McAleer commented:


“Our movie isn’t about a podiatrist or a cardiologist or a proctologist. It’s specifically about a doctor who performs abortions.”

When contacted by the Daily Beast, an NPR spokesperson claimed it was about being “value neutral.”

“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.”

That’s a great principle, but how does it apply here? It’s a truthful description of what Gosnell did, and how he advertised himself. He was a doctor who performed abortions. In NPR’s own coverage of Gosnell, as the Daily Beast pointed out, they refer to him as an abortion doctor, and they’ve referred to other doctors as “abortion doctors.”

And NPR can’t claim they have a problem with the word “abortion,” or that it’s not value-neutral. They interviewed Cecile Richards at length about Planned Parenthood’s fear that under a new Title X rule doctors wouldn’t be able to discuss abortion with patients or refer them for abortion services. Or are they trying to slice-and-dice their “value neutral” stance to only apply to statements from sponsors, which, it should be noted, listeners know are paid for and aren’t actually journalism.

It’s one thing to complain about not getting earned media for a movie, a candidate, or a cause, but to be prohibited from purchasing ad time or held to different standards than other advertisers is another matter altogether, as Lewis writes:


Of course, the makers of Gosnell are currently focused on a more pressing problem: promoting a movie that has been at least four years in the making. Almost everyone concedes that the mainstream media tilts leftward, and almost everyone agrees that nobody has a “right” to free publicity for their movie. The interesting thing here, though, is that the producers of Gosnell can’t even pay to accurately promote theirs.

McAleer and McElhenney rightfully argue that the reason Kermit Gosnell isn’t a household name and the reason his house of horrors isn’t associated with “safe, legal, and rare” abortion is because the mainstream media wouldn’t give more than a passing mention to the trial, and they act as if the victims don’t exist. By preventing them from purchasing a sponsorship which includes a literal and truthful description of what Kermit Gosnell (I refuse to call him doctor) did, NPR is continuing that media blackout.

Please view the movie’s trailer:

More information about the Gosnell Movie and where you can find it in a theater near you can be found here.

Follow me on Twitter: @jenvanlaar or Facebook.


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