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The Clarion Call of Obsession
September 18, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The Clarion Fund has been placing DVD advertisements in newspapers. That, in itself is not terribly new. What's new is that they are advertising fear and propaganda, and they're only targeting swing states.

The Clarion Fund, a shadowy 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has also been sending Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West sort-of previously to people as direct mail, but there's no telling who they buy their list from, since they don't seem to answer the phones at their rent-an-office. Apparently, one of their affiliates even handed them out at the RNC. Supposedly the Producer/Co-Writer, Raphael Shore, is related to David Shore, creator of Fox’s House, M.D., though that doesn’t seem to have helped the movie’s production values. It’s not easy to figure out who makes up Clarion - some have claimed that even some of the crew positions are false names. And, nobody can seem to figure out where the money is coming from. That’s OK though, because the Executive Producer for “24” says, “...it's required viewing for everyone.”

In case you haven't had your fear propagandized enough for you, they've also got another happy little feature coming out October 10th called The Third Jihad. And, in case you really want to get behind the fear and hate and vitriol against a religion usually called the religion of peace, you can get your fill of it at their “Learning” site.
posted by tomierna (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is called "Astroturfing". Politics 101.

I'm sorry, but you're going to see a lot more of it for 2 months.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:49 PM on September 18, 2008


This grass has no roots!
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:51 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I got one of those! I haven't had the time to watch it yet. I think I will have time once those monkeys fly out of my butt.
posted by Mister_A at 3:02 PM on September 18, 2008


Alan Smithee for President!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:04 PM on September 18, 2008


Dammit, one of these showed up in my mailbox a couple of days ago (here in Florida).

I wrote "Return to Right-wing Douchebag" on it and put it back in the mailbox. 2 days later and the mailman still hasn't taken it. Damn.
posted by kableh at 3:09 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


We got one in our Sunday paper. Haven't watched it yet.
posted by Miko at 3:17 PM on September 18, 2008


We got one inside our Sunday NYT. Inside the NYT!!!! Talk about advertisers wasting their money...I took a cursory look at the mailer piece and decided that it must be an advance for the next episode in Battlefield Earth.

When I looked closer, though, i saw that it was prezackly what I feared it was: 10,000 free hours on AOL dialup.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:18 PM on September 18, 2008


"Palin is a gateway drug to a back-alley brawl Obama can't win"

Ouch
posted by mattoxic at 4:19 PM on September 18, 2008


Methinks the GOP's magic fear card has long since stopped working its magic, and eight years of Bush-fatigue has taken its toll even among some diehard Republicans.
posted by ornate insect at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2008


I saw one of these in the newspaper in Jacksonville, FL last Sunday, and I thought "I don't know who is behind this, but I bet someone will post on Metafilter about it."

Thank goodness I was right!
posted by wittgenstein at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2008


I got one of those in my Sunday paper. I threw it straight in the trash.
posted by mike3k at 4:38 PM on September 18, 2008


ARRRRGHGGHGHLGLHGHGGG I've had at least THREE separate parishioners bring this noxious, racist garbage to my attention since it went out in the Grand Rapids Press on Sunday. I have one sitting on my desk in front of me right now, like a snake.

Simply watch the trailer for this sinister tripe and you'll get what they're trying to say. Arabs are evil, we're in a holy war. I immediately wrote a letter to the GR press, communicating my outrage at this disgusting excuse for a "documentary." I don't know what else to do, I feel like my hometown paper just willingly distributed hate speech.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:09 PM on September 18, 2008


Brigitte Gabriel: "I disapprove of any religion that calls for the killing of other people. If Christianity called for that, I would condemn it."

19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Go on now, Brigitte.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:59 PM on September 18, 2008


Methinks the GOP's magic fear card has long since stopped working its magic...

If this were a normal election cycle, I might agree. However, this isn't ordinary. We have a black man in position to be in the Oval Office. And I know many of you who are lucky enough to live in more enlightened parts of this nation still can't fathom it, but, here in middle-America, that fact utterly scares the piss out of a lot of otherwise level-headed people. Seriously. And they hear the whispers from their friends about that black man's supposed Islamic past, and his middle name is Hussein, for cryin' out loud. They listen and it stays with them and it festers.

This election is going to turn on whether these people listen to their inner bigotries and fears. The Clarion Fund is just one of many groups who are going to work hard to make sure their inner bigot is scared shitless.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:21 PM on September 18, 2008


This election is going to turn on whether these people listen to their inner bigotries and fears.

I have faith that what's best about America will rise to the occasion and not give into fear.
posted by ornate insect at 6:39 PM on September 18, 2008


You guys know that the Rifftrax guys are starting to accept submissions of viewer tracks to sell through their site?

I'd so love to write one for one of these DVDs. When life hands you urine, make urinade!
posted by JHarris at 6:42 PM on September 18, 2008


Thorzdad: And they hear the whispers from their friends about that black man's supposed Islamic past, and his middle name is Hussein, for cryin' out loud. They listen and it stays with them and it festers.

What amazes me about this is that, really, what knowledge do most people even have of radical Muslims? The people who are most gung-ho about this "war on terror" stuff are so because they remember 9/11 to vividly, even though they are nearly as divorced in lifestyle and social mores from the folks who died in the attacks as from the people who carried them out.

ornate insect: I have faith that what's best about America will rise to the occasion and not give into fear.

Karl Rove loves people who believe this.
posted by JHarris at 6:50 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I got one of these today. I plan on writing my local newspaper and asking why they would distribute such nasty propogada. What's next an Aryan Nation advertorial?
posted by humanfont at 6:58 PM on September 18, 2008


Karl Rove loves people who believe this.

If the point of this thread is to play the familiar pundit-trick of cynical realpolitik one-upmanship and always return to the default position that the Rovian dirty politics of Swiftboating innuendo and lowest common denominator always takes the prize, I get it. But guess what? Obama is no John Kerry. From the start he's been proactive about taking head on the distortions (see the Rev. Wright stuff) and outright lies that have been spun about him, and he has also helped spread his own whisper campaign about McSame--one that has the benefit of being true: that McCain offers nothing more than a repeat of the eight years of failed Bush policies the country has just endured. That he is an elitist whose economic advisors (re: Gramm) think the economic hardship of the middle class is all in their heads, and that he has no plan to get us Iraq or Afghanistan, no plan to ween us off foreign oil, no plan to end global warming, and no plan solve the health care crisis. I realize these are "issues," but if the market continues with its tremors then people will vote w/their pocket books--and Obama/Biden will win, and win heartily. Obama is a really, really talented politician, and I have no doubt he can withstand the mud-slinging and smears.
posted by ornate insect at 7:03 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is about more than just the election. Even if Obama is elected, these same people will be agitating for him to confront the threat. Fear makes some people very rich, and the millions they're spending on this effort is an investment.
posted by cell divide at 7:07 PM on September 18, 2008


I like how in http://www.radicalislam.info they use the twin towers in the logo. I kept expecting an animated be-crescented plan to fly in and knock them down.
posted by cell divide at 7:09 PM on September 18, 2008


Just found out that this was included in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, which used to be a pretty respectable newspaper. It even won some pullet surprises back in the day.

Obama is a really, really talented politician, and I have no doubt he can withstand the mud-slinging and smears.

I hope that you are right, but I'm not convinced that talent will have anything to do with it.
posted by fixedgear at 7:25 PM on September 18, 2008


I hope what you're saying is true, but from the fact that over a quarter of people still think Bush is doing a good job, Barack has a funny name and a tenous muslim connection, and there's a large number of people who don't deal in things like "facts" and "reason" but rely on faith and gut checks and truthiness and not blinking and, well, we may be looking at Adlai Stevenson 2.0.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:17 PM on September 18, 2008


The guy on the cover of Obsession totally looks like Altair from Assassin's Creed and I loved that game.

Game rhymes with McCain, I now know who I am voting for!
posted by clearly at 9:07 PM on September 18, 2008


I don't mind a "cold war" with ideologically backwards cultures (like say our own Christians). But what prey tell do the republicans imagine they might achieve?

To fight communism, American conservatives shut up, allowed the N.E.A., let the CIA fund Jackson Pollock, supported civil rights, etc. To fight radical Islam, you shut up the Christians, fund reformist & anti- Islamic feminists, support gay rights, make TV espousing women's & gay rights from many perspectives especially Islamic, and broadcast these shows from satelights for free.

You conservatives want this war, but none of you can make any appropriate weapons. Air dropped propaganda only deceives briefly. You must honestly show people realistic and better lives if you want victory.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:50 PM on September 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


In what possible way can this be allowed to be legal?
posted by flippant at 12:03 AM on September 19, 2008


Clarion Fund, these are the people "Anonymous" should target.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:50 AM on September 19, 2008


This is called "Astroturfing". Politics 101.

Um, no. Astroturfing is the creation of the appearance of grass roots support (i.e. 'artificial grass'). It's normally done by paid operatives writing letters to the editor, or these days making blog posts or youtube videos designed to look like they came from 'ordinary' people.

Anyway, it seems like people are more worried about putting a senile guy who knows nothing about economics and his beauty queen sidekick in charge of the country then a scary black radical at this point, as Obama is back up in the polls.

And by the way, it's not like there isn't stuff for democrats to fear monger on. Have you seen Sicko? That's some scary shit right there. With the economy fucked, lots of people are losing their jobs, and thus their health care. People have real concerns about their healthcare, their job security and their retirement, and McCain has nothing on those fronts.
posted by delmoi at 3:42 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


At first I thought you meant the science fiction writers' society Clarion.
posted by johngoren at 8:17 AM on September 19, 2008


Afraid of Islamic terrorists? LOL! How totally lame.

I tell you what scares the hell out of me: Sarah Palin, one breath away from being POTUS. She's more scary than Bush, seeing as how she can actually speak. But the notions in her head are uninformed nonsense of the worst sort--Especially as regards noocular bomz, and the use thereof.

And, pardon me for going a bit off thread, what's up with that husband of hers? How can a VP candidate have a spouse who is openly disloyal to the United States? Especially a flag-waving Republican VP candidate? Didn't they give Obama a ration of crap over some comment his wife made, about being proud to be an American? Why does this Todd person get a free pass?
posted by Goofyy at 10:38 AM on September 19, 2008


In what possible way can this be allowed to be legal?

flippant, I don't think it is legal. One of my links was to an IRS page describing what 501(c)(3) non-profits cannot do.

Beyond the tax structure stuff, the DVD seems to me to be bordering on hate speech.
posted by tomierna at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2008


I got this in my mail today. I live in Florida, which I guess is as much of a swing state as you can get. I guess I'm even one of the prized "undecided" voters, but what they don't know is I'm undecided as to whether to vote Ron Paul on principle, or Obama to ensure the Republicans get spanked for catering to neocons. Or Bob Barr, the fake-Libertarian, so my vote gets counted and discarded rather than simply discarded.

Based on the cover (and the name "Clarion Fund") it was obvious fearmongering and I nearly chucked it. But it appeared to enclose an actual documentary which won some film festival prizes so I decided to watch it later with a skeptical mind, lots of liquor, and a way to jot down things to fact-check later.

Oh, and tomierna, I don't know where you live, but this is the United States we're discussing, not Germany. We have free speech here. (Even special zones for it!)
posted by vsync at 6:07 PM on September 19, 2008


Why does this Todd person get a free pass?

Because he's white?
posted by delmoi at 12:36 AM on September 20, 2008


vsync:

I also live in Florida, and I certainly have nothing against free speech.

What I have a problem with is groups sending out targeted propaganda as advertising under the guise of being a non-profit non-partisan organization.

Remember that this free speech that you are insinuating that I don't support was designed to allow individuals and the press to have an unthreatened voice without intercession from the government. Corporate advertising as free speech has been something which, until recently, wasn't protected.

Further complicating this particular event, is the tax status of the Clarion Fund. Since they are incorporated as a 501(c)(3), they are not supposed to engage in political discourse (read the link from my previous comment above). Other non-profits may be allowed to do that, but this particular type is not allowed to do so.

Another type of speech which is not protected is that which may incite violence. What would happen if this particular DVD had the incitement test applied to it?

Your comment may have been flippant and I may have misread it as serious rather than sarcasm (special zones...), but I felt I should clarify my thoughts on why this DVD, and the way it was distributed, grated on me. It reeks of racism, religious intolerance (and I'm an atheist!) and bigotry.
posted by tomierna at 5:55 PM on September 21, 2008


Did someone say 'incitement'?
posted by lysdexic at 4:05 AM on September 29, 2008


Halfway through my copy now. It's pretty much a clipshow of speeches made by insane people in mosques or on streetcorners, etc. proclaiming all the insane things you know they would say. It's punctuated by wild conjecture from "experts":
"Of course, not all Muslims are like that. But, we've been infiltrated with this kind of agenda. And, america has to wake up, because we are strangling ourselves with our political correctness.

They are not trying to be a part of the Am. way of life. They are not trying to be part of our culture. They are here with an agenda to make Islam the law of the land."
So far it's pretty much devoid of content.
posted by odinsdream at 4:55 PM on October 6, 2008


Am. = American.
posted by odinsdream at 4:55 PM on October 6, 2008


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