Thursday, September 25, 2008

Something we can do against hate

Maybe you get a daily newspaper. (Fewer and fewer of us do.) Maybe you opened your copy last week and a DVD dropped out ... It was some film called Obsession. Maybe you even looked at it before you tossed it.

Somebody is spending a lot of money to spread hate and fear with this phony pseudo-documentary about Islam. It's bunk all the way, the propaganda in service of scaring people silly. The film's talking heads are wackjobs; it showcases people like

Walid Shoebat, who once told a Missouri newspaper that he sees “many parallels between the Antichrist and Islam" and “Islam is not the religion of God -- Islam is the devil.” (Springfield News-Leader, 9/24/07)

[And] Brigitte Gabriel [who] told the Australian Jewish News: "Every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim." She also claimed that "Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word... it's the vehicle for Islam... Islam is the problem."

Obviously Islam has its crazy adherents, but so does Christianity and every other religion. This film is defamation, rather like blaming Christianity for Timothy McVeigh and Jim D. Adkisson (that's the guy who shot up the Unitarian Church in Knoxville last summer).

A shady outfit called The Clarion Fund paid to put the DVDs in newspapers, mostly in states where the Presidential election is a hot contest. Because it is a new non-profit which has not yet filed a tax return, no public record exists of its officers or donors.

Some newspapers didn't let themselves be used as a vehicle for hate. Many, however, needed the cash, so they did. They included New York Times editions in the Midwest, the Denver Post, the Des Moines Register, the Miami Herald, the Springfield News-Leader, the Las Vegas Review-Journal/Sun, the Columbus Dispatch, the Charlotte Observer, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Full list here.

I would urge readers to check that list and see whether your paper was among the ones that distributed the hate film. If so, why not contact the paper to ask why they thought it was appropriate to spread hate-filled propaganda. Do they know source of Claron Fund cash that paid them? It could have been the KKK. Would that have been alright? More action suggestions here.

The website I'm relying on for this post is a project of Hate Hurts America, "a nonpartisan interfaith community coalition... formed to address the rising problem of hatred against American minorities." I reported their boycott of hate radio host Michael Savage previously.


Anonymous said...

Are you saying the KKK shouldn't be allowed to purchase advertising? I don't see their association (if they were associated) as an issue. I received the DVD in my paper and didn't watch it. Only those interested will watch it. If it truly is a piece of propaganda as you say, I can't see it being any different that putting a Michael Moore "documentary" into the paper for free.

janinsanfran said...

To anonymous above -- I do think that newspapers should think very long and hard before they sell their credibility to hate groups. What I am advocating here is "more speech" in response to hate speech -- if readers don't like get this stuff in their papers, tell the papers.

Has Michael Moore been putting out films in newspapers? Wow, that would be a nice cheap way not to have to pay to see a movie at a theater.

Moore has very strong political views, but I hadn't heard he'd gone in for making war on his enemies. Seems to me that he was more likely to try to mock them out of the public arena. Mockery does seem to upset its targets greatly, but it is very different from falsely stigmatizing people.

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