The Oregonian and 70 other newspapers have come under fire for distributing a DVD as an advertising insert that many are calling “anti-Muslim propaganda.” The mini-movie called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” was created by Raphael Shore and media watch group HonestReporting. It was distributed by the Clarion Fund. You can watch an abridged version above. The newspaper has since been besieged with protesters outside of its office and letters/calls of complaints.
The regional newspaper’s publisher, Fred Stickel, said The Oregonian distributed the “DVD because it has an obligation to make its advertising as open as possible under the principle of free speech.”
The mayor of Oregon pleaded with the paper not to distribute it.
Meanwhile, North Carolina paper, The Greensboro News & Record, rejected the ad calling it “fear-mongering.” Editor, John Robinson, has said: “Of course it’s not free speech… Newspapers decide not to publish information every day. Most of the time we call it news judgment.”
Is this a case of a newspaper being so desperate for dollars that anything will fly? Keep in mind that The Oregonian is in the middle of offering buy-out deals to staffers, as are other newspapers under the Advance Publications banner.
Or is it tied into the election as The Guardian is speculating considering that the DVDs were sent to swing states (Ohio, Michigan, Florida)? More likely, it’s a bit of both. It definitely takes two to tango.