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Denver Post belatedly tackles Obsession DVD controversy

The Clarion Fund logo.
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As noted in this More Messages blog and a subsequent followup, the decision by more than seventy newspapers across the country, including the Denver Post, to insert DVD samplers of the film Obsession; Radical Islam's War Against the West into September 14 editions prompted complaints from groups that saw political motivation behind its inclusion. After all, the DVDs' distribution was focused on swing states such as Colorado, leading critics to conclude that it was intended to earn additional support for Republican presidential candidate John McCain through the bashing and demonizing of Muslims.

Now, a full nine days after the DVD landed in Denver-area driveways, the Post has finally written about the brouhaha. Unfortunately, the paper's piece adds nothing to what we already know.

"DVD on Radical Islam Stirs Protests," penned by Electa Draper, points out that the ad buy was made by the Clarion Fund, identified as a "New York-based nonprofit;" the organization's website also identifies it as "non-partisan." Included at that address is a link to RadicalIslam.org, which furthers this theme via a "Vote 2008" resource page that includes links to the homeland security plans promoted by McCain and Democratic opponent Barack Obama. For what it's worth, McCain's appears first.

Other information proves harder to come by. The Clarion site doesn't list the group's board of directors, and representatives didn't return the Post's calls for comment. That leaves Draper to quote from a bunch of people upset about the distribution of the DVD, including Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni of the Islamic Center of Al-Beit in Lakewood. These passages are supplemented by comments from Denver Newspaper Agency spokesman Jim Nolan, who says the DNA accepts "issue advertising so long as it is clearly labeled as to who is paying for it" because it is part of free expression.

Maybe so, but my guess is that neither the DNA nor business siders at those other seventy-plus newspapers will be so cavalier about taking the money of mysterious outfits, like the Clarion Fund, that clearly have political agendas -- at least until the election is over. -- Michael Roberts

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