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Saturday, November 3, 2018
MRC Continues Its (Paid?) PR Campaign For Right-Wing Gosnell Movie
Topic: Media Research Center

Phelim McAleer's "Gosnell" continues to show middling performance at the box office -- earning only about $3.3 million after three weeks in theaters -- but the Media Research Center is still on (apparenly bought-and-paid-for) PR patrol for the film.

In addition to publishing a column by Cal Thomas, the MRC is staying on message with its own work (with, presumably the McAleer stamp of approval). An Oct. 15 post by Gabriel Hays made a big deal out of how it "received a 99% score in terms of general audience approval" on Rotten Tomatoes, then launched into an anti-media tirade with the help of McAleer's wife and co-producer, Ann McElhinney:

McElhinney summed it up, stating prior to the movie’s release that “Most Americans have never heard the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell because mainstream journalists chose not to cover the trail.” However she seemed confident that after the release of the film, “the media who ignored the story will have to explain to millions of people who will see the movie why they censored this story.”

Considering that the movie has positive critic reviews and a stellar audience review, it seems as though McElhinney might be right. After all, even when the film was facing problems in trying to find a distributor early on, a historical crowdfund of $2.3 million made sure that the film was finished and set for release. With such a grisly story as that of Dr. Gosnell’s, people want to hear the truth, and hopefully the continued success of this movie will bring wider public awareness of not only abortion, but just how twisted and conspiratorial the media can be.

The media failing to cover something to the extent right-wing activists demand does not equal being "twisted and conspiratorial." The fact that Hays believes this -- apparently inculcated by his work at the MRC -- shows how twisted and conspiratorial his employer is.

The MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell cranked out a column whining that major newspapers didn't review the film and dismissing anyone who might be critical of the film as "elites": "In short, the cultural elites who decry how conservatives live in a 'post-truth era' have sought to bury the truth about the abortion industry. Those factories of death are an important part of the liberal base, and for them, protecting abortion on demand is defending the essence of their cultural movement."

And just like right-wing activists made alleged lack of coverage  of the Gosnell trial an issue, McAleer and Co. -- and the MRC -- are going the conspiracy route on the "Gosnell" film by blaming lack of media coverage of its polemic for its poor performance. An Oct. 22 CNS article by Emily Ward toutted how McAleer and McElhinney are attacking the National Society of Film Critics for purportedly conspiring against the film by not reviewing it. Ward gave no indication she contacted the National Society of Film Critics for a response that would have given her article balance.

(Ward also highlighted a right-wing media report about how "many movie theaters dropped the film in spite of clear interest from audiences" --never mind the fact that a film's opening week is typically the widest theater distribution a film sees and theaters drop it as interest wanes.)

Hays followed in kind in an Oct. 29 MRC post that simply repeats "a press release from the producers" of the film railing that the New York Times for not only not reviewing the film but denying it had been provided to the paper for review. "McElhinney and McAleer did not back down and insisted that this statement was a lie," Hays wrote, but he did not cite any documented proof the producers provided to substantiate their claim. Hays also apparently did not contact the Times for their side of the story.

Meanwhile, over at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, Craig Bannister tried to spin the film's middling opening-weekend performance, where it placed 12th, by highlight that it was "breaking into the top 10 on Sunday." He also touted its Rotten Tomatoes viewer ratings.

CNS published a column by Sam Sorbo -- whose claim to fame is being married to a celebrity, onetime "Hercules" Kevin Sorbo -- repeating the right-wing line that Gosnell's trial was suppressed by the "main stream media' and parrots the movie's propaganstic message: "Let us only hope the movie succeeds as well as the media’s attempt to quash its lessons: Abortion kills, all the time, and the left’s concern for minorities directly corresponds to its financial benefit."

It also published a column by Grazie Chrstie of the Catholic Association -- a conservative group that monitors coverage of Catholicism in the media -- also staying on message, declaring that "The movie poses this question for a caring society: Should not abortion clinics be regulated more, not less, rigorously than manicure parlors?"


Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT

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