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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obsession: Not a cologne sample in your N&O

Posted by on Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Subscribers of the News & Observer, and more than 70 other newspapers across the country, found a DVD inserted into their papers this morning. The film is a documentary called Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. The film itself is two years old, and it is now receiving its second major push. The last time this film—and its South African director Wayne Kopping—appeared in the media was two years ago, on the eve of the 2006 election.

Now the movie—an inflammatory but otherwise unoriginal hash of Middle Eastern news footage of jihadists and interviews with right-wing talking heads like Alan Dershowitz and Daniel Pipes—is in our faces again. Over at the N&O, the editorial staff seems none too happy about the paper's decision to accept the ad placement from a group called The Clarion Fund. See today's front-pager by Yonat Shimron to see more about the paper's efforts to identify the motives and people behind The Clarion Fund

The N&O's publisher isn't bothered by the fuss, however. 

In a statement, N&O Publisher Orage Quarles III wrote: "As a newspaper we tend to shy away from censorship. In cases of controversial topics, if we err, we tend to do so on the side of freedom of speech."

But some questioned whether this is a censorship issue.

"If there was a 30-minute DVD warning people against the danger of blacks or Jews, would the N&O distribute it?" asked Safi.

For those who don't get the print edition of the N&O, no worries: You can watch it free on Google Videos right here.

Two years ago, the film was broadcast on Fox News. Here is an interview from that time with Kopping, which was broadcast on Fox's Fox and Friends morning show. 

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