The Clarion Fund must be feeling some heat for their covert campaign to scare American voters into voting for John McCain by sending 28 million copies of the anti-Muslim film, Obsession to swing state voters. Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting notes that Clarion has added Hank Sheinkopf to its media team. The latter is a long-time Democratic consultant who has worked for Hillary Clinton:
Clarion’s new voice is Hank Sheinkopf, a long-time Democratic consultant in New York, who worked on President Clinton’s re-election campaign. The choice of a Democratic flak is a smart move, since critics have said Clarion is covertly trying to help elect Republican McCain. That kind of active political work would violate its 501(c)(3) charity exemption.
Sheinkopf’s PR firm produced this masterpiece of doublespeak on behalf of its new client:
Obsession is the film opponents of free speech don’t want you to see. Terrorist attacks don’t distinguish between political parties- they kill everyone. America needs to know the truth about the threat without censorship.
By transforming the DVD distribution into a free speech issue they attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which is the group’s violation of its 501c3 status by injecting its partisan presence into a political campaign. It’s a bunch of gobbledygook from a long-time street fighter in New York Democratic politics.
I wonder if Hank Sheinkopf, before he accepted the hefty fee he’s undoubtedly earning from Clarion’s unnamed backers, asked which right-wing Jewish Republican is behind the film’s production and distribution. Or did Sheinkopf even care? Is it all just in a day’s work for him? Doesn’t care whether he’s flacking for Hillary or a possible Republican Jewish Coalition fatcat? Is that what they call principle in the circles Sheinkopf runs in?
I was just reviewing the site, Obsession With Hate, which provides a devastating critique of the film. It reveals that the only Islamic studies professor included among the talking heads in the film has denounced it fulsomely. Khaleel Mohammed writes:
“Sadly, it would seem…I have allowed myself to be used. I gave an interview to the makers of “obsession” wherein I explained the meaning of Jihad, and its misuse by extremists. I understood that the film would be used objectively, focusing on fanatics who seek to spread violence. I am aware that there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that says it is not about Islam in general, but only about extremist interpretations.
“But the material from some of the speakers gives the lie to the disclaimer: many of them are not experts, or have used the mantle of academic qualifications to purvey hate. That their alarmist drivel should be mixed with my whittled down interview proves that the intent of the film is not to educate, but to mislead. The free distribution of the film to voters in particular districts shows the political chicanery that is the motive, and the secrecy about the financing of the distribution only underlines the evil intent in circulating this vile piece of propaganda.
“Evidence seems to indicate the involvement of Aish ha-Torah in this dishonest enterprise. I find that particularly distressing, because any Jewish organization ought to realize what the film seeks to do: they demonize an entire community…This bigotry…is precisely what caused the Shoah…
“Yet — for all the nefarious intent of the distributors of the film — I must also accept culpability for allowing myself to be so used…I cannot stand by silently and allow my participation in such satanic demonization of innocents.
No doubt, Obsession’s producers will claim Mohammed has been cowed by Muslims into recanting his testimony in the film. It will allow Clarion to revert to its typical, single-minded view of Islam as a language of threats and violence. A view that it would like American voters to adopt as well when they enter the polling booth.
Speaking of demonization of innocents, Chris Rodda reports that a Dayton mosque was attacked during Ramadan prayers. Some wingnut wannabe terrorist sprayed gas into a childcare room that housed children whose parents were praying nearby. Rodda quotes a victim of the attack:
…Gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.
“The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn’t stop sobbing.
Is it an accident that thousands of copies of Obsession were hitting Ohio homes just as this outrage happened? After all, how does such hate originate if not with vile pieces of anti-Muslim propaganda like Obsession?