When it comes to the accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, here’s a headline you might have missed: “Doctor From Hell…Or Godsend.” Today, a Philadelphia jury continues its deliberations in the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist charged with multiple counts of murder. Until recently, the story had not garnered the attention of the national press.
Some reporters argued that the lurid details of beheadings, babies born alive, and fetuses flushed down the toilet were depictions too gruesome for front page coverage. The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff said that Gosnell’s was just a “local crime.” Others said that calls for more coverage and criticism for a lack thereof were politically motivated.
And yet in 2010, as the grisly list of allegations against Kermit Gosnell began to grow, the Philadelphia Inquire ran one of the most repulsive reports imaginable. Philadelphia Daily News reporter David Gambacorta wrote the article and appears to have had one of the first interviews with Gosnell. As if the headline, “Doctor From Hell…Or Godsend,” wasn’t offensive enough, the article is crammed with quotes from former Gosnell patients attempting to humanize him.
The story reads like a Tale of Two Men.
There’s the “Positive force,” as Gambacorta writes. “Herbert Creighton, 64, of Wynnefield, said Gosnell gave him a job at the Mantua Halfway House, where the Dr. Gosnell served as director”, Gambacorta wrote. “I was messing with drugs and all kinds of stuff. He [Gosnell] kept me out of jail and changed my whole life around. He’s a wonderful guy.” “Reynolds, 52, of West Philly, said Gosnell treated her and provided her with medication even though she was once uninsured for 10 years. ‘He’s done so many things for the love of this community,'” Gambacorta’s reporting continued.
I’m sure that when Kermit Gosnell wasn’t reportedly snipping the spines of 7 and 8-month-old babies or ripping a girl’s clothes off and forcing her to have an abortion, that he was a real standup guy.
Gambacorta goes on to detail some of the civil lawsuits brought against Gosnell and described how Gosnell attempted to become a member of the National Abortion Federation but was denied because his “clinic didn’t meet the federation’s standards.”
Gambacorta’s piece portrays Gosnell in what Gambacorta called “glowing terms.” Gambacorta went out of his way to positively depict Gosnell in terms that his former patients described him: “old-fashioned physician who makes house calls and cares more about people and neighborhood roots than getting paid on time.”
An investigation conducted by the Philadelphia District Attorney found that Dr. Gosnell kept jars of severed baby feet. Gosnell also created a side business illegally selling prescription drugs and had accumulated dozens of malpractice suits. But according to Gambacorta, when federal agents raided Gosnell’s clinic, the doctor said he was “tremendously traumatic” and “totally unexpected.”
But how could Gosnell have been so surprised? A another question that Gambacorta failed to ask.
Despite the mountain of evidence available at the time, Gambacorta still gave Gosnell the benefit of the doubt writing, “Finally, [Gosnell] settled on a thought, ‘I feel in the long term I will be vindicated.”
“Gosnell’s attorney forbade him from addressing much of the other disturbing accusations, noting that the doctor hasn’t even been charged with a crime […] [and] he was clearly bothered by the Frankenstein-like portrait that much of the public has of him because of recent news stories,” Gambacorta wrote. The reporter continued to quote Gosnell as saying that “No one is perfect. Everyone tries to be perfect. I aspire to perfection, certainly for my patients.”
If the allegations against him are true, the only thing that Kermit Gosnell aspired to be was a cold-blooded killer.