LA Times: Why We Won't Release The Khalidi Video
This week, Breitbart News offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who produced the infamous 2003 tapes of Barack Obama at an event honoring Palestinian anti-Israel radical Rashid Khalidi. And today, James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times took to his keyboard today to write a diatribe defending the Times’ refusal to make public those tapes. While Rainey gives several justifications for not releasing the tape itself – guarding the source of the tape being the most prevalent – he offers no justification for why the Times refuses to offer even a complete transcript of that evening’s events.
Rainey rips the “Khalidi video mythology … which [Breitbart News] speculates will lay bare the ugly back story of Obama’s disdain of Israel … and his effusive support of Mideast radicals. Such fantastical thinking is rife not just on Breitbart.com but across the conservative Interwebs.” There is nothing fantastical about suggesting that the reason that the Times didn’t originally report Obama’s words at the event, or the more radical words of the evening, was to protect their beloved presidential candidate. Given the Times’ track record of Obama defense, it’s the only rational conclusion to draw.
But Rainey’s condescension continues. “In what will doubtless be a vain attempt to quell the bleating from the political fringe, I offer here a review of the trust history of the ‘Khalidi tape,’” he writes. What was that history that would shed light on the Times’ non-transparency? Not much. He rehashes the original Peter Wallsten story labeling Obama a quasi-moderate, without evidence to support that view. He then states:
In the case of the Khalidi video, the unnamed source agreed to share the illuminating bit of video evidence with Wallsten, but only with the understanding that the reporter could not reproduce or rebroadcast the images. The journalist had to make a decision: Do I agree to that condition and get to see evidence that no other reporter has seen of Obama meeting with Palestinian Americans? Or do I insist on a full public release of the video, with the likely outcome that the source would share nothing?
Wallsten pushed for the release of the video but when the source would not agree, Wallsten agreed to accept more limited access to the recording. He agreed not to reveal his source nor share the video with anyone else.
The net result: The world got a story that showed Obama the political operator, sliding between two opposite and highly contentious worlds. The audience did not get to view the video, but it got far more than it had without The Times’ reporting. That's the nature of some journalistic negotiations; giving up the perfect to obtain the very good.
Well, then, where’s the transcript? Why is it that the source was comfortable divulging the video to the Times, but not to a less Obama-friendly source like Breitbart News for far more money? Asking the Times to hand over a transcript, and asking the source to hand over the tape, is far from “fringe.” It’s an attempt to vet a candidate that the Times clearly had little interest in completely vetting.
But Rainey’s condescension doesn’t end. He writes:
The ultimate irony of the Khalidi video furor: The world would not even know about the video and would certainly know much less about Obama’s political maneuvering without the dogged reporting of Peter Wallsten. The paper put the story on Page One, hiding right in plain sight, this dark, dark political secret.
Obviously, we at Breitbart News are glad for Wallsten’s original report. All we ask is for full information, free of the filter of Times reporting. Rainey’s story gives us all we need to know about where the Times stands – he says that Breitbart News released its offer to act as a “counterpunch to the devastating video, released this week, showing Mitt Romney talking disdainfully of the 47%.” Well, no. We released our offer this week largely because President Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, including his anti-Israel leanings, must be explained, and fast. The Khalidi tape will go a long way toward doing that.
But that’s the last thing that the Times wants. So they’ll continue to stand on their supposed journalistic integrity while cashing their figurative paycheck from the Obama administration.