The makers of the upcoming movie, "Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer," wanted to run an ad for the film about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on National Public Radio — and was willing to fork over six figures for the spot on the award-winning "Fresh Air" program, the Daily Beast reported, citing leaked emails.
The ad said, “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,” the Daily Beast added.
But NPR rejected the ad, the outlet said.
Not 'abortionist,' not even 'abortion doctor' — just 'doctor'
The issue? Among other minor points, the ad copy referring to Gosnell as an "abortionist" was a no-no, the Daily Beast reported, adding that NPR said the "neutral word ‘doctor’” would need to replace it.
John Sullivan, the movie's executive producer, asked NPR if the term "abortion doctor" could be used instead of "abortionist" — but the taxpayer-funded station again said no, the Daily Beast said.
“Our movie isn’t about a podiatrist or a cardiologist or a proctologist. It’s specifically about a doctor who performs abortions,” producer Phelim McAleer told the outlet, which said the impasse was a "deal-breaker" for the movie's creators.
More from Matt Lewis, who penned the Daily Beast piece:
When asked to comment, NPR’s Senior Director of Media Relations Isabel Lara explained, “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."
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.”
Lewis said he couldn't figure out why the term “abortion doctor” also was unacceptable, particularly when several NPR stories used it: “Joyce Carol Oates' New Novel Begins With an Abortion Doctor's Murder”; “Abortion Doctor Killer Appeals to Kansas High Court"; “Training the next generation of abortion doctors.” He also pointed out that NPR, in its Gosnell coverage, used the headline, “Convicted Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Gets Life in Prison.”
Here's a trailer for "Gosnell":
'Precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page'
Apart from the difficulty the movie's creators have endured getting it to the screen (it opens Oct. 12) over a four-year period, apparently the very subject of Gosnell is like kryptonite to the likes of NPR and others in the media.
Lewis pointed out that left-leaning columnist Kirsten Powers noted in 2013 the lack of media attention the Gosnell trial was receiving:
Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven't heard about these sickening accusations? It's not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.
As for the NPR ad rejection, Lewis added that "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 added to Lewis that Congress should look into it, noting that if NPR is "so well-funded that they’re turning away advertisers like us, maybe they don't need government subsidies anymore."
'A legitimate gripe'
Lewis noted that the NPR-Gosnell movie dust-up is "merely the latest example of why conservatives have a legitimate gripe about liberal media bias."
"Those of us trying to defend a free press (whether it’s The New York Times or NPR) against [President Donald] Trump’s claims about 'fake news' have a simple message for the mainstream media," he concluded. "Please quit proving him right."