Ultra-right wing abortion opponents are promoting a bad-faith claim that a movie about the butcher Kermit Gosnell is facing a media “blackout” when it fact it has been reviewed by mainstream media outlets. This claim recently appeared in a factually inaccurate column in The Wall Street Journal, and I wrote a letter to the editor correcting the record.
It appears they won’t publish it, so I’m sharing it with you now. Facts matter:
I am writing to refute the non-factual claim of a media blackout of a biased, explicitly anti-abortion film about the butcher Kermit Gosnell released on October 12. In Jason Riley’s column he says, “Some outlets have refused to run ads for the film, and almost all major publications have declined to review it.”
This is simply untrue. In less than one week since its release major publications including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, NBC News, Forbes, and Hollywood Reporter have published pieces about the film, and a syndicated column by Cal Thomas is showing up in local papers from The Roanoke Times to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
With regards to the claim about advertising, National Public Radio runs value-neutral sponsor credits to comply with FCC regulations and to avoid the appearance of bias in its journalism. When presented with a sponsor request for the film, National Public Radio asked the filmmakers to change the non-neutral term “abortionist” to “doctor.” The filmmakers refused to do so. Notably, their refusal appears conveniently tailored for a conservative narrative about a so-called ‘blackout’ of the film.
As a leader and founder of an abortion access and reproductive justice organization, I want to be clear that Kermit Gosnell is a monster who preyed upon women with limited options, including low-income women and women of color who bear the greatest brunt of restrictions on abortion. My entire community rejects his heinous crimes. One criminal is in no way indicative of quality abortion care. Legal abortion is safe, effective, and one of the biggest public health advances in generations.
In a fact sheet released just three days after the Gosnell film, Pew Research noted that public support for legal abortion remains as high as its been in two decades of polling. Perhaps that is why Mr. Riley noticed so many empty seats in the theater.
Co-Founder and Co-Director, Reproaction
Reproaction has additional blog posts and resources available about Gosnell: