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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Newspapers in Swing States Are Delivering Anti-Islam DVDs to Voters

Millions of voters in U.S. states crucial to this fall's presidential election received DVD copies of a controversial documentary film as advertising inserts in their morning newspapers over the past week, with more expected to be sent out over the upcoming weekend.

The 2006 film, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, which has been accused by critics of encouraging Islamophobia, was reportedly delivered, or slated for delivery this weekend, into tens of millions of households in states such as Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri and other "swing states" that don't vote consistently for either party and usually decide elections.

Republicans and their candidate, Sen. John McCain, have made battling the threat posed by radical Islamists a central platform of their campaign, while presenting their Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, as being weak on the issue. Obama has also fought off persistent smear campaigns, particularly among Jewish voters, that he is a closet Muslim.

Clarion Fund was founded by the writer and executive produce of Obsession, Israeli-Canadian Raphael Shore. The group also runs the website -- an educational site which implores its readers to "take action against radical Islam" by exploring its resources under four headings: "fueling terror," "Sharia law," "vote 2008," and "radical Islam overview."

Because of Clarion Fund's non-profit, tax-exempt status, it is not permitted to sway voters in a partisan manner. But reportedly was, until it was recently pointed out in the
media, carrying an article that explicitly endorsed Sen. John McCain.


But exactly who paid those standard rates is still in question.
The half million dollars needed to produce the movie was reportedly borrowed by Shore and Clarion, so it is unclear that they had the money to make the recent mass distribution effort, which likely was a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

"I can't imagine that you can produce, package, distribute and advertise this product for less than 50 million dollars," Hooper told IPS.

He also insisted that the substantial financial push may have been intended to sway the election. "Why did they choose to distribute this hate propaganda to millions of homes in swing states in this election?"


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