National Review Online: New Censors’ Obsession

National Review Online (9/25/08)

New Censors’ Obsession

George Bernard Shaw once wrote that assassination is the extreme form of censorship. Today, I wonder what he would say about the censorship of assassination as a political organizing principle. Sadly, one is forced to ask this question just now as we witness some of our nation’s newspapers refusing to accept a paid advertisement in the form of the documentary Obsession.

For those unfamiliar, Obsession was put together in the aftermath of 9/11/01 to help educate Americans and other English speakers about the roots and methods of terrorism, the uses of propaganda in the Middle East, and the tactics of recruitment — including the recruitment of children and suicide bombers (too often, the same thing). It was one of many civilian-distributed educational efforts that sprung up after 9/11 to help educate on a topic of obvious concern and too little knowledge. It was a heroic effort. Of late, that effort has been regenerated, with a campaign to have Obsession sent into homes and distributed in local newspapers.

But not all newspapers are accepting the advertisement. And in the quest to keep the DVD out of the hands of too many Americans, some journalists are betraying their own ignorance. Take Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. Olbermann recently said Obsession is “neocon pornography.” I can only imagine what Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz must have thought of this comment, he being one of the most prominently featured experts in the documentary. Professor Alan Dershowitz, a supporter of Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, and an opponent of the Iraq war, would be just about the last person to think of himself as a neoconservative.sy

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