The shining insert – a DVD called ‘Obsession’ – in yesterday’s Toledo Blade (self-touting as ‘one of America’s great newspapers’) was quite a treat to Muslims in my town as well as in other select parts of the country. Its arrival was especially poignant since it was arrogantly planned to surface during the holy month of Ramadan, when we ‘Radical’ Muslims are commanded to abstain from food, drinks, vain talk and other frivolities that include watching TV as well.
However, we watched the movie ‘Obsession’. But not before reading the accolades and ‘must see’ merits heaped by the immortals in the entertainment and education business on the cover.
Is it something new? NO.
Will it be the only one? NO.
Was it accidental by any chance? NO.
Then it occurred to me: Surely, Sarah Palin’s induction on the ticket to the White House has given the supremacists in the US new fangs against Islam, especially after her statement last week that the Iraq war is a War of God.
Today we learned that 28 million copies were slipped in the Sunday paper across the country. We all know there is a sheer desperation in one particular political camp right now, but what is beyond the comprehension of even ‘radical’ Muslims, is the fact that this frustration on the part of Evangelical zealots in his cozy camp against Islam will be manifested by such a lowly tool.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported on its ‘Under The Dome’ politics blog that the paper is preparing to bundle copies of the DVD with this Saturday’s newspapers. Jim McClure, vice president of display advertising for The N&O, said the “ultimate decision” to distribute the DVD’s had been made by publisher Orage Quarles, and compared the propaganda to harmless household samples.
“Obviously, we have distributed other product samples, whether it’s cereal or toothpaste,” he said. He declined to say how much the agency paid.”
Subscribers shrieked: Come on, a hate-mongering and fear-instilling tactic is being called a box of cereal? Toothpaste? Does a box of cereal or a tube of toothpaste encourage me to look with hatred and suspicion on my law abiding neighbors who have a different religion than mine? Does cereal and toothpaste lead to pogroms, religious harassment, fear and intimidation? The trailer for this video is about hate, pure and simple, and shows the video has only one goal – to instill fear and hatred of neighbor against neighbor. If I receive this DVD in my paper, that day, after 22 years of receiving the N&O, will be the last day of my subscription. Please, please reconsider this decision!
The News & Observer recently announced deep buyouts and layoffs for its employees. It is owned by the struggling McClatchy news chain, which is slashing newsroom jobs and pages at the papers it owns around the country. Advertising revenues have plummeted during the ongoing economic downturn, and it appears the paper is now auctioning off its journalistic integrity to the highest bidder.
But you see, these days when solid banks and storied financial institutions are falling down left and right like the Afghan civilians, any amount of green will do. After all, how can one forget the journey of 32 pieces of silver almost 2000 years ago?
Interestingly, although supposedly a 501 c(3) non-profit, this week the Clarion Fund’s website featured an article supporting John McCain. The Patriot-News in PA reported on the DVD’s showing up in Pennsylvania, and noted that on Wednesday, there was an article on the group’s new website, www.radicalislam.org that backed Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The article discusses both candidates and concludes: “McCain’s policies seek to confront radical Islamic extremism and terrorism and roll it back while [Barack] Obama’s, although intending to do the same, could in fact make the situation facing the West even worse.”
Did I get the name right? Shouldn’t it be Carrion Fund?
Here is the kicker though. I confess that the disclaimer on the DVD (must be at the behest of the executive producer of ’24’) was quite captivating, but honestly, I expected a better and more professional job from the experts whose name I saw on the credits. And the actors were pathetic.
We have seen many lows from the political campaign so far but this tops it all. It also goes on to tell the country, how far one particular candidate will go to claim his stake on the next Presidency, even if it is by employing the same fear-mongering tactic that was the hallmark of his Godly predecessor in 2004.
So, tell me again, how different is this game from four years ago?
The sane people in my town and everywhere across this country must ask: how far down the journalistic profession under the coercion of some right-wing religious fanatics will stoop, before this election is over?
Is the adage ‘all is fair game’ hereafter true for newspapers too?
Now, only if the distributors of this DVD had waited just another day!
They could have included a hasty footnote about the historic saga of the fall of the Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch too and all would have tied well with the doings of the ‘radical’ Muslims that we are.
One ought to wonder though: why didn’t the folks who seem to be receiving revelations directly from God for the past eight years, see this colossal mishap coming?
We recognize that the editors and publishers of cash-strapped news media succumbed to the financial gain in doing this, but they must remember and learn from their own headlines today: excessive greed and myopic stupidity has led to the fall of two storied commercial infallibles.