The “thanks but no thanks” newspaper insert of the week

Imagine our surprise when we opened our Sunday Review-Journal (hey, we love Blondie in color, okay?) to find a free DVD bundled in. And imagine our even greater surprise when we popped it in, only to witness a “documentary” bleak enough to make Lars Von Trier look for the double-edge, super-blue Gillettes. Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West is, basically, an hour of extremist Muslims screaming “Kill!” at the camera, only to cut to a shot of more extremists gnashing their teeth, burning American flags and teaching their hatred to their children, followed by some “expert” to remind us that “the media is not alarming people to what they should be alarmed about.” Throw in some Nazi references, and you’re just about ready to report your possibly Muslim neighbor to the police.

This shock doc is courtesy of the Clarion Fund, a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization,” according to its website, that has distributed 28 million of these DVDs among 70 newspapers primarily in swing states. As to the “nonpartisan” part, Radicalislam.org a project of the Clarion Fund, had, as early as last week, run articles in support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain. (They have since been removed.) Calls to discover the nature of this organization’s contributors went unreturned, so we turned to the R-J itself to see if any subscriber who watched this DVD had commented. “Virtually no reader reaction,” according to Publisher Sherman Frederick. So does that mean we can pay to have Fahrenheit 9/11 placed in next week’s paper? Absolutely, Frederick says. Wonder if the Clarion Fund would bankroll that …

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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