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CNN not to air <i>Death of a President</i>

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Los Angeles (Reuters): Two major US news outlets, CNN and National Public Radio, will not air advertisements for a controversial movie depicting the assassination of President George W Bush, citing the film's content, said a network spokeswomen. The movie, Death of a President, caused a stir at the Toronto Film Festival in September where it debuted, and two major US theater chains have declined to screen the movie when it debuts in the United States on Friday.

''CNN has decided not to take the ad because of the extreme nature of the movie's subject matter,'' the cable television network said in a statement yesterday. A spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement. The network has reported about the movie in recent months. NPR will not run sponsor announcements to avoid any notion that it was reporting about the movie 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 theater 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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