Abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell is arguably the biggest serial killer in history. And yet, he has hardly received attention commensurate with this dubious distinction. This transcends that lack of mainstream news coverage, and extends into the pop culture world, where everyone from Jodi Arias to Ted Bundy has been depicted on the small screen.
One could, I suppose, argue that this radio silence is a good thing — that killers kill because they want attention. There’s also a danger that turning something like this into entertainment might trivialize the tragedy. But Gosnell was a different kind of killer, and one supposes the public might benefit from learning more about his gruesome ways, if — for no other reason — than to spark a debate about the abortion industry.
And for those who think this story deserves a wider audience, there is good news. The filmmakers behind FrackNation have launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a Gosnell movie (the deadline is fast approaching, but their goal seems within reach).
Ann McElhinney, one of the filmmakers behind the project, and I recently caught up (you can listen to our full conversation here.)
It was a wide-ranging discussion, but one interesting thing that came from a question I asked about how to take this macabre story about a villain, and make it three dimensional and entertaining.
And here, McElhinney implied the story wasn’t just about Kermit Gosnell. This makes sense. It takes a village to catch a killer, and for every villain, there are usually several heroes — often unsung.
“The stories of the police officers are incredible,” McElhinney said. “The stories of the journalists are incredible — and there are heroes here — there are stories here that are memorable and inspirational, actually. People like Kirsten Powers — what she did, how she dealt with this story — it’s heroic, it’s impressive. So there are ways of telling stories — even stories that are disturbing — that can be told in a way that works for a mass audience.”
(As you might recall, Powers’ USA Today column was instrumental in forcing the national mainstream media to cover the Gosnell trial.)
This leads me to believe that my friend Kirsten might well be depicted in this TV movie — perhaps as part of a subplot that demonstrates how journalists can champion heroic causes, and raise awareness about a story that many believe was de facto censored.
This would be a big deal. Granted, one would wish that this would have happened under better circumstances, but for a journalist, being depicted in a movie is a Woodward and Bernstein-ian-type accomplishment
And this makes me wonder whom they will cast.