A few weeks ago, we received a DVD in the Bucks County Courier Times, which was kind of odd given the overall belt-tightening going on throughout our economy, in particular mass circulation daily newspapers (can’t remember the last time we got a free bar of soap, fabric softener, or anything like that).
The DVD packaging said that the production was called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West, with photos of hooded jihadists, a child holding a rifle, the World Trade Center site after the attacks…you get the idea (and with a ringing endorsement from Michael Medved, of course, saying it merits an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary…oooohh, spooky stuff, kids!).
I put it aside and didn’t think much more about it, though I figured I would post about it at some point. And considering that I came across this story in the LA Times a few days ago, I guess this is as good a time as any…
The campaign by Clarion Fund — a nonprofit organization founded by filmmaker Raphael Shore “to educate Americans about issues of national security,” its website says — has prompted criticism of the newspapers for distributing what some describe as Muslim-bashing propaganda.
There are also accusations that the group is trying to influence the election in favor of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, cast by some as tougher on terrorism. One Islamic advocacy group recently filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that Clarion is abusing its tax-exempt status by engaging in politics.
“Any neutral observer would say this is a biased, one-sided, inflammatory portrayal that seeks to portray Muslims and Islam as Nazi-like,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council for American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
Hooper claims the DVD campaign aims to steer voters toward McCain.
“If you’re able to raise the level of fear in the public about terrorism or national security, those people are more likely to skew toward John McCain,” he said.
Hooper said he heard reports that some DVD recipients in Ohio also had received automated phone calls referencing the film and saying, “We hope you take it into consideration when you go into the voting booth.”
Clarion spokesman Gregory Ross said the group had no involvement in such calls.
Of course they didn’t. And how dare you imply that they did, you terra-lovin’ luburuul! Why else do you think the movie criticizes Michael Moore and Moveon.org unless they were trying to be “fair and balanced”?
And who exactly is The Clarion Fund anyway, I hear you ask.
Well, this post tells us the following…
CLARION FUND, created in November 2006, is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to educate Americans about issues of national security.
This Wikipedia article tells us that the group was founded by Raphael Shore, an Israeli-Canadian film writer and producer employed full time by Aish HaTorah, which is “an Orthodox group devoted to promoting Jewish learning,” and he regularly criticizes newspaper reporting in this country for what he perceives as an anti-Israel bias.
And of course, as the L.A.Times story tells us, the release of the DVD was supposed to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11 and not the election.
If you believe that, then I’ve got a bridge in Abu Dhabi to sell to you.
I hate the break the news to Clarion and their ideological brethren, but their fear-and-smear tactics aren’t going to work on November 4th. Given the incessant parade of bad headline stories, the real world minus their fear mongering is scary enough.