In yesterday's blog about Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a DVD inserted into the Sunday Denver Post and many other newspapers from coast to coast, I noted that editorial department personnel were forwarding the many complaints from readers they'd received to Greig Smith, vice president of national and majors advertising for the Denver Newspaper Agency. I added that I'd left a message for Smith and would provide an update once he replied to my queries, which he eventually did -- sort of. DNA spokesman Jim Nolan contacted me on Smith's behalf, and this morning, Nolan e-mailed a response to my questions -- the same generic explanation being provided to upset subscribers.
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Here it is:
Thank you for contacting us concerning the DVD delivered with the newspaper on Sunday. DNA, the organization that handles all of the business functions for The Denver Post placed the DVD in the newspaper in accordance with our advertising guidelines. Public opinion advertising is only accepted when the group preparing the message is clearly labeled either on the packaging, as with this DVD, or in legible type on ROP ads. Your concerns over the content of this message have been noted and we will make sure our content reviews take them under advisement.
This reply doesn't say whether or not DNA reps screened the film in advance. However, the absence of such a reference, and the section about packaging, implies that they didn't. There's no telling if the volume of complaints about Obsession will cause them to do so in the future. But with advertising so hard to come by these days for media outlets in general, and print products in particular, I suspect that they'll err on the side of increased revenue. So don't be surprised if more DVDs, partisan or not, turn up in a newspaper near you. -- Michael Roberts