Interview: Why the Kermit Gosnell Case Was Ignored, Until Now

'The media didn't want to show abortion in a bad light' — new book set to become major film

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 15 Feb 2017 at 7:23 AM

One of the more blatant examples of the failures of today’s mainstream media involves the case of Kermit Gosnell. He was convicted in 2013 of the murders of three infants, of the involuntary manslaughter of an adult woman, and of 21 counts of illegal late-term abortions.

Gosnell’s story was the thing of nightmares — and certainly a piece of reality people should know about today. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find the mainstream media anywhere near the court proceedings or the shocking details of the former doctor’s late-term abortions that dropped daily. The appalling news was either buried in other coverage or was left to more independent news outlets to handle.

Gosnell’s story was the thing of nightmares — and certainly a piece of reality people should have been made more aware of today.

Film producer Ann McElhinney saw the failings of the media as an opportunity to step up and tell the story the way it needed to be told. “It’s particularly good for journalists to tell stories that no one else wants to report,” McElhinney told LifeZette.

Her recently released book on the case is already a bestseller. “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer,” was written with her filmmaking partner, Phelim McAleer, and is available now. The couple, who are married, are originally from Ireland and today are based in Los Angeles.

McElhinney believes the media’s cold-shouldering of the shocking Gosnell story came down to one thing: They didn’t want to show abortion in a bad light.

“I think it’s very simply one of the things that was very important in the trial. It was important that the jury were [sic] able to distinguish between legal abortion and illegal abortion,” she said. “In order for that to be established, it was important to have two abortion doctors take the stand to describe what legal abortion is like. That’s why the media didn’t want to cover this story — because that testimony was deeply shocking and disturbing.”

“That’s what put them off,” added McElhinney of the press. The media’s fumbling of the story was so apparent that McElhinney and McAleer dedicated an entire chapter of the book to them.

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“They took on the job of censor rather than journalist,” said McElhinney. “The job of journalists should be to report the news, whether they like it or not.”

While the media may hide behind the vulgar details of Gosnell’s case as excuses for underreporting, the old adage, “If it bleeds, it leads,” exists for a reason. The media ignored Gosnell’s case while giving one of the Boston Marathon bombers a glamorous cover photo on Rolling Stone magazine — and turning O.J. Simpson into a 24/7 celebrity over his murder trial.

"This was the kind of story that every newspaper in the country and every TV channel in the country should have been serializing because it had so much to say about so many things," said McElhinney. She's not only dedicated a book to the story but has also produced a film about it, starring Dean Cain.

The film raised nearly $2.4 million on Indiegogo in 2014. The crowdfunding campaign is still open and people can contribute as little as $1 to help the film see a major release in the future.

McElhinney told LifeZette the film is finished and has scored very well with audiences that have seen it. The producers have even heard positive words from major distributors, though the same people all turned down the film — displaying the same political fears the media originally did.

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"You have these Hollywood studios and they don't want to do anything that would interfere with abortion in America," said McElhinney. She said producers have been forced to take the film in a more independent direction as far as a release goes.

The film, it would seem, would sell itself. It has a successful crowdfunding campaign, a major actor like Dean Cain in the lead role, a praised novelist — Andrew Klavan — tackling the script, and "Justified" actor Nick Searcy behind the camera. However, that's simply not the case.

McElhinney said audiences will see the film "as soon as possible," but producers are doing their best to give the movie a "traditional release."

"The film deserves and needs a theatrical release," said McElhinney. "It's important that everyone sees it."

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