About 70 protesters gathered outside The Oregonian Monday morning to reprimand the newspaper for distributing an hourlong DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” as paid advertising in its Sunday editions.
In a brief news conference, speakers characterized the DVD as Muslim-bashing propaganda promoting fear, hate and division.
“It is a moral obligation of a newspaper in a community to inform, not misinform,” said the Rev. Chuck Cooper, director of ministries of Micah’s Village, a progressive Christian community near Clackamas.
“Obsession” conflicts with Oregon values of equity, diversity and inclusion, said Kayse Jama, executive director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing in North Portland, which organized the demonstration with help from The Good Faith Coalitiom and other faith and human rights groups.
The Oregonian distributed the DVD because it has an obligation to make its advertising as open as possible under the principle of free speech, Publisher Fred Stickel said. Newspapers generally accept all advertising that is not illegal or blatantly immoral.
Kudos to the Oregonian for supporting free speech.
September 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm
Kudos to anyone who canceled their subscription to the Oregonian as a consequence of disgusting propaganda using free speech as its crutch. Freedom of will is not freedom from consequence
You can say anything you want. I am just as free to a) not be in the room when you say it and b) contest and counter it by any means I have at my disposal.
September 29, 2008 at 10:18 pm
Seriously, to suggest that this is a free speech issue shows remarkable naivete.
September 30, 2008 at 5:06 am
“Not blatantly immoral”–how is lying about an entire religion and promoting terrorism against it not immoral? I’ll agree that this is technically protected under free speech, but I’m most definitely not giving the Oregonian any kudos.
September 30, 2008 at 9:57 am
I live in Portland and have been wanting to see Obsession. If anyone gets a copy, let me know.
Cancelling a subscription to a newspaper that does something you object to is an appropriate and Western responce, as is withholding of kudos.
September 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm
I don’t usually buy the Oregonian, but I did Sunday. Still sitting on my freezer. There’s a DVD in there somewhere?
September 30, 2008 at 4:45 pm
Shane – Sorry for being naive, but how is this NOT a free speech issue? I can understand protesting the Clarion Fund, the producers of the DVD, but I have no sympathy for those protesting the Oregonian for including it as paid advertising. Are there people protesting the company that pressed the DVDs and printed the sleeves?
Lupa – I haven’t seen the video so I won’t comment on its contents, but I agree that the notion not running something that is “blatantly immoral” is nonsensical. Newspapers run all sorts of ads that could be described as “blatantly immoral.” Should the Oregonian accept ads for Wal-Mart? McDonalds? The McCain/Palin campaign? Cigarette companies?
It’s a real problem for media outlets (even running such a tiny venture as Technoccult I have to deal with it). If you decide not to run an ad because of its content, does that mean you approve of the content of all the other ads you run? From a strictly logical perspective, no you don’t. But practically, that’s what it ends up meaning.
And lest people think I’m defending the Clarion Group, here is an article on why what they are doing might not even be legal: