LA Times protecting Obama

Story here

About 5 years ago, Obama went to a dinner and praised former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi. The LA Times refuse to release the video and they claim it is because they made a promise to the source.

  1. If it were McCain, would they still hold the video back?
  2. If it were released, how would it effect the election?
  3. Should the LA Times release the video?

Khalidi has consistently denied he was ever any such thing.

  1. Given that the L.A. Times does not have quite the “liberal” reputation as the New York Times or Washington Post, and in fact endorsed Obama for president after having forgone presidential endorsements for quite some time, why would they treat any such video of McCain differently?

  2. Americans seem much more concerned with economic matters than with dinner party remarks made by Obama about a non-terrorist 5 years ago.

  3. Who cares? Really.


The LA Times says they won’t release the video because it was given to them on the condition that they would not do so. That’s standard journalistic privilege. They would apply it to McCain just as Judy Miller applied it to Scooter Libby. And no, they should not release the video. Breaking promises in journalism just leads to fewer people willing to come forward.

This stuff really makes me sick. You guys keep insinuating that Obama is hiding “something” that we “don’t know enough about him” that he" may "sleep with gerbils. With all the time and money put into digging dirt on this guy all you guys can come up with are vague allusions to possible connections with possibly shady characters. Give it up. You keep trying to make this election about Obama’s character but you have nothing more than vague assertions. How’s that workin fer ya? It is not working at all except with the brain dead morons who were already going to vote for the white guy. Stop with the bullshit fear mongering. If you have some evidence of something you think is relevant then put up or shut up.

  1. If it were McCain, would they still hold the video back?
    Not necessarily. Look at how far the New York Times went to protect Judith Miller. Newspapers protect sources on both the left and the right. If they made a promise, they will keep it, or else no one will talk to them. It’s self-interest as much as morality.

  2. If it were released, how would it effect the election?
    It would hurt Obama, because enough Americans are just fucking stupid enough to think that if a person is pro-Palestinian, then they are an evil terrorist. But I doubt it would swing things decisively this late in the game.

  3. Should the LA Times release the video?
    No. Journalists should honor promises and protect sources.

It’s sort of a win-win for McCain, don’t you think? If the LA Times refuses to release the video (as it appears they both have and should), McCain can continue on his whisper campaign regarding Obama’s purported anti-Semitism. Frankly, I’m surprised that he’s been as successful as he has in spreading those rumors, but even Palin was well coached in using the code words in her speeches.

Or if the Times released the video, then (regardless of what the video is or showed) McCain could refer to the video as “fact” demonstrating Obama’s purported hatred for Israel. Again, given the number of people who bought Palin’s “I told them to take their Bridge to Nowhere and shove it!” repeated falsehood in the face of the facts demonstrating said falsehood, the truth doesn’t really matter.

And, askeptic, shame on you for bringing facts into this discussion. It’s about politics, not truth.

Note that as an Angeleno, I would not anticipate that the LA Times would take a particular stand simply to support a Democratic candidate. To protect a sale at the Macy’s, yes, but not a political candidate. The Times knows where its bread is buttered.

Further, this information is nothing new. According to the link, it was this same newspaper that made the general information about the meeting available. There was talk about it last February. This “terrorist” is also a Professor of History at the University of Chicago.

Even the linked article in the OP stresses the fact that Obama’s comments at that particular meeting focused on finding common ground.

Is McCain racist against Muslims? I thought we went to the Middle East to liberate Arabs, not to promote suspicion and prejudice.

This Harper’s article does a good job of debunking this garbage.
Khalidi was never a spokesperson for the PLO and never had any connection to Arafat or terrorism. He’s been a critic of Israel and a human rights advocate for Palestinians (he is a Palestinian American himself), but he has never advocated violence, but advocates for education and social programs instead. He is anti-violence.
Even more significantly, McCain once FUNDED Khalidi in a project called the Palestine Center. Oops. McCain really fucked himself in his own ass with this one.
My answers to the OP.

  1. Yes.
  2. It wouldn’t.
  3. No.

They made a promise to a source and that’s the end of it. They are ethically bound to honor that promise.

I’m not sure he’d really want it released anyway. According to Carl Cameron on Fox News, the tape actually shows Obama objecting to some anti-Israel and anti-American statements made by other guests at the dinner.

Silly question. Did the LA Times promise never to release it, or only wait until after the election?

I would have to assume it would be the former, because otherwise, what good would it do them to have a tape that they couldn’t release?

So we should just chalk this one up as another smear, right? After all, McCain funded this guy through his Republican institute himself, as askeptic admirably showed.

Those seeking to advance America, should strengthen moderate Palestinian voices, not undermine them. Inserting moderate Palestinians into smear campaigns is a shameful use of an Arab ally.

Ah, they broke the story so it is hardly protecting anyone but the source (protecting in my book would have been sitting on the story).

There seems no rational reason to believe this paper is playing favourites.

The McCain campaign appears to be counting on the fact that the newspaper won’t release the tape. Releasing the tape would, in fact, be damaging to McCain’s position.

As long as the tape remains confidential, it can say whatever the McCain spinmeisters want it to say. By Monday it’ll be a conversation between Obama, Satan, Hitler, Darwin, Bill Ayers, and Monica Lewinsky as they sit around the pentagram taking shots of grain alcohol from Ronald Reagan’s skull.

Many, many years ago I took a couple of courses as an undergrad from Professor Khalidi–Modern Middle Eastern History 1 and Modern Middle Eastern History 2. Apart from a tendency to spontaneously shout “Death to America! Death to Israel!” whenever I play solitaire–and hey, who doesn’t do that, right?–I seem to have suffered no ill effects.

Ooh, I just checked my transcripts and I got an “A” both quarters. Well, there go my chances of ever being elected President.

Quite. Being a Palestinian who wants a bit of their Homeland back does not make you a terrorist. The guy has every right to campaign for his beliefs and linking Obama with him is a non-issue scare tactic and there is no reason why a newspaper should play along with the Republican desire to fling shit.

Oh. My. GOD.

I don’t hate people, and I’m starting to sort of kind of hate McCain.


I’m with you. Attempts to smear Obama are par for the course, but what did Khalidi do to deserve this shit?

There’s even more to the story. . .

I’ve passed the hating him stage and have moved on to just thinking he’s a pathetic excuse for a man, who fortunately won’t ever come close to running this country (into the ground).

Not a damn thing. McCain ought to be ashamed of himself, but he’s not honorable enough to feel that emotion.

Sounds like the LAT agreed to take the tape under the condition that they protect Obama.

Has Obama been asked about the event or the tape? I haven’t seen any response directly from him.

Isn’t there an LAT/Chicago Tribune/Axelrod connection?