Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Film On George W. Bush 'Assassination' - CNN Steers Clear.

Major U.S. news outlets CNN and National Public Radio will not air paid ads or sponsor announcements for a controversial film depicting the assassination of President George W. Bush, citing the film's content, network spokeswomen said on Tuesday. The film, "Death of a President," caused a stir at the Toronto Film Festival in September where it debuted, and two major U.S. cinema chains have declined to screen the film when it debuts in the United States on Friday.

"CNN has decided not to take the ad because of the extreme nature of the film's subject matter," the cable television network said in a statement. A spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement. The network has reported about the film in recent months.

As a non-profit organisation, NPR does not accept ads but accepts money from foundations and corporations in return for brief on-the-air messages of acknowledgment. NPR said it will not run sponsor announcements concerning the movie to avoid any notion that it was reporting about the film because it took the sponsorships, an NPR spokeswoman said. "The movie is fairly likely to generate significant controversy and we'll cover it as a news story," said spokeswoman Andi Sporkin. "To take a sponsorship spot would raise questions and cause confusion" among listeners.

"Death of a President" is told like a documentary that tracks the political drama behind an investigation into Bush's murder in October 2007. The film, which was directed by Britain's Gabriel Range, uses digital technology to depict Bush being gunned down, and its detractors have criticized the display of murdering a sitting president.

Its distributors at Newmarket Films say the film ultimately tries to send audiences an anti-violence message and Newmarket noted many major newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post have run ads. ''Death of a President' is the opposite of a call for violence," Newmarket co-founder Chris Ball said in a statement. "It's a powerfully cautionary tale about the pernicious effects of violence."

Earlier this month, the U.S. No. 1 cinema chain Regal Entertainment Group and a smaller competitor, Cinemark USA, said they would not screen the movie. About 100 local and art-house venues around the country will screen the film at its debut.



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