Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

October 30, 2008

L.A. Times Weasel-Worded Defense Continues Appearance of Cover-up

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 10:23 am

So here’s the L.A. Times’ weasel-worded defense of withholding the video.

They promised the source they wouldn’t “release” the video. Okay, why not release a transcript? Or do they no longer have the video, and failed to make a transcript at the time? Would that be a kind of malfeasance, or another result of stupid budget-cutting on the news side of newspapers that undermines the value of the product? Or was the reporter too lazy to make a detailed record of his own? Or was he only given a brief look at the video with no opportunity to make detailed notes?

Did anyone say “transparency”. Why can’t they answer these questions? They can’t allow us into the deep mysteries of how news is made. Did their source say they’re not just not allowed to “release” it (the red herring weasel word here) or demand they couldn’t talk about it any further than what was published.

What kind of agreement is that and if it were made shouldn’t it be disclosed and if it wasn’t why the silence which now sounds as likely to be about the cover up of their own incometence as about what Obama said or didn’t say? Did the dog eat their homework?

It would at least explain things better than this alleged exlanation from today’s statement:

“In reporting on Obama’s presence at the dinner for Khalidi, the article noted that some speakers exressed anger at Israel and at U.S. foreign policy, but Obama in his comments called for finding common ground.”

Did the reporter not take more detailed notes than that? It’s quite possible that an objective viewer might agree with this summary: there was “anger at Israel and at U.S. foreign policy” and Obama spoke out for moderation, “common ground”.

But why can’t the reader be allowed to decide if this extremely mild characterization of the “anger” is accurate and whether Obama’s reaction and remarks were limited to a plea for common ground.

Now that this version of the story has been challenged, why not allow the reporter to defend himself, answer questions about what he heard, if he can’t produce it, or didn’t bother to take detailed notes. Tell us whether you do or don’t have the video, who else saw it. Did the dingbat new management fire so many editors that no one else did? Again, if so, penny-wise, pound- foolish.

This LATimes response, worthy of a Rumsfeld press conference, is exactly the thing that causes people to distrust traditional journalism: even when it may well be accurate, it’s too arrogant to allow itself to be held accountable.



  1. Chicagp is a weird place. Allan Bloom writes “Closing of the American Mind” and that sexually assaults black boys. Jesse Jackson threatens to deball Barack. Woodward deconstructs Belushi. All kinds of radicals go the chic route in the city of Kielbasa and Big Shoulders. In Justice William O. Douglas astounding autobiography “Go East, Young Man” (1974), he writes how he hopped a freight train (herding sheep in a boxcar to pay his way for delivery to the Chicago stockyards, for he was dirt poor) on his way to study at Columbia Law School. Running out of money from having to bribe the brakemen and train conductors, he is forced to abandon the boxcar with his sheep as it pulls into Chicago. The first person he encounters is a rather elegant West Coast hobo, who says to Douglas, “Can you smell that odor? Can you see those gray buildings? You don’t wanna stay here even for a minute. As for me, I am going back to California where I can breathe. Leave now or you will be rolled of your last dollar tonight.” Douglas, who hadn’t bathed or really eaten for days, heeds the advice and hops the next train out.

    Comment by charlie finch — October 30, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  2. […] Read the entire story here … […]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » The L.A. Times’s Obama-Khalidi Tape Cover-Up — October 30, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  3. “traditional journalism” ?

    as opposed to what?

    I assume you use the phrase to differentiate what you call the MSM from the sort of bilious partisan heckling that appears on this site

    Comment by skink — October 30, 2008 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  4. Barack Obama does not seem to even be aware of the profound grounding of Paleosimian terrorism in the Qur’an, ahadith, and the example of the Prophet. American Leftists, as do their Western European counterparts, still think that the Muslim violence is described by their Marxist templates. People like Rashid Khalidi have been very slick and manipulative in the ways they court young Leftists like Obama. And their respective scripts have not changed at all during the last couple of decades.

    There is no common ground between the minions of Allah and the true Jews of Israel. There can be only one. It will be a battle to the death. And believe me, you don’t want the winner to be the sock puppet deity of Muhammad.

    No one should be surprised by the malfeasance of the LA Times. Honestly, would you expect the media to behave any differently? If so, you need your head examined.

    Comment by fred — October 30, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  5. My suspicion is that while Obama made relatively “mild” commentary, notable “fellow travelers” of his did not. Guilt by association, therefore, the video was blocked from publication.

    Comment by Allston — October 30, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  6. Time to play TAPS for this and every other newspaper that can’t report in a fair and balanced manner.

    Comment by thegr8_1 — October 30, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  7. Perhaps someone can explain the “ethics” of this particular brand of journalism.

    Let me get this straight. A “source” (suggested perhaps to be Ali Abuminah, but we don’t know), gives a tape to an LA Times reporter, ostensibly for publication.

    The source tells the reporter that he can “do x, but not y” with the tape. The reporter publishes an article regarding the contents of the tape, which basically is a promotion for Senator Obama’s “image” enhancement, writes it in such a way as to be careful not to offend the Jewish electorate, but in a clever enough way to suggest that he is there to support with open arms his Palestinian friend.

    Neat trick.

    Except…now people are asking who else was present. And what precisely did Senator Obama say. ALL…of what he said. And didn’t say…in response to the other speeches.

    Uh-oh. Better think fast. Ummmm, well…ummm….we are not authorized to RELEASE THE TAPE.

    Huh? In what parallel universe is it ethical (even in the very, very, very low hurdle of the entrenched media cesspool) to agree to ONLY provide propaganda “pieces” from the evidentiary whole of a sourced videotape? This obstruction is breach of trust and a fraud perpetrated on the public.

    Moreover, the HIDING of the tape brings the stench to new levels. So, you will protect the “source” somehow…fine. Answer the questions:

    1)Did Senator Obama say something more than you have reported?
    2)Were Ayers, Dohrn, and others there shown in a friendly or cozy interaction with Senator Obama?
    3)Were speeches given that were tinged with rabid rhetoric against Jewish people in general and/or Israel in specific. If so, were there reaction shots that included Senator Obama clapping, nodding or approving?
    4)How would a complete, full and total transcript violate your “source”?
    5)Would you allow an in camera inspection by a neutral board of five Jounalistic Ethics professors and board members from the association, chosen for their unimpeachable integrity and impartiality?
    6)Would you do so tomorrow, so that a full exploration of your shoddy practices as well as the contents of the tape can be broadcast to the voting public and to the world?
    7)Would you immediately fire the reporter and editors who conspired to secrete material facts and propagandize away every semblance of objectivity that you are supposed to maintain?
    8)Will you even have the courage to face these questions? Or will you dodge them and lay low, hoping it will all pass over?

    Comment by cfbleachers — October 30, 2008 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  8. the latimes and the nytimes float in the same toilet. it’s only those renowned names they retained, neither has any resemblance to the news organizations you once knew. get used to it. don’t read them. don’t go to their sites. just know they smell really bad and why bother smelling their crap, unless you’re very weird, like the paid acorn comments, and the acorn one’s who show up here. stay away. email their advertisers and let them know. always vote for those they defame. maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll drop dead while we’re not looking (although, i would kind of like to be there cheering on their final moments).

    Comment by Judy, NYC — October 30, 2008 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  9. “The Obama campaign was quick to point out that an organization co-founded by Khalidi has received large sums of grant money from the International Republican Institute, chaired by McCain since 1993. One such grant was for $448,873 in 1998 to assist the Center for Palestine Research and Studies in its work in the West Bank.”

    We really need to find out more about who this John McCain really is.

    Comment by AlanNYC — October 30, 2008 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  10. The “Win – Win” election strategy. Watching the news over the past six weeks and a certain pattern appears. I do not know who will actually win the election, but Obama and his supporters will ensure a victory no matter what the actual vote count.

    What if the strategy is to completely discredit American democracy? Can you imagine a more certain outcome. Obama and his supporters are brazenly upfront about their expectations upon taking the White House. The campaign of Hope and Change embodied in an alluring vessel. The fundraising and voter fraud scandals barely register in the popular culture – if anything the culture has adopted the cynical view of faulty voting.

    This is a center-right country. Clinton never won a majority and managed a center left government whose greatest accomplishments any Republican President could be proud of – welfare reform, peace in Yugoslavia, a bullish economy. Bush won two narrow, but still convincing wins.

    It is somewhat implausible to believe the country could change so drastically so fast. Possible perhaps with a charismatic demagogue like Obama, but does he really have to win to accomplish the avowed goals of Ayers, Wright, Khalidi?

    Having controlled the narrative of the campaign – doesn’t Obama and crew win even if McCain garners 270+ electoral votes? Is McCain our Hindenburg (gosh, I really truly despise using that analogy, but it sort of fits doesn’t it?)

    Comment by Sydney Weinberg — October 30, 2008 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  11. to cfbleachers: Since I see that you are a bit confused by the LA Times journalism ethics rules & practices, maybe you want to seek furher advice in this matter from some true liberal morality lighthouses like Dean Baquat, Eric Lichtblau, Dana Riesen, and, why not, from Geraldo Rivera himself. They can explain why what LA Times is doing is right, and why, on the other hand, it is completely unnecessary, if not outright a hideous hate crime to research Obama’s scholastic years at Columbia, his thesis on North/South relationships, his Harvard years, his legal career in Chicago, and so on and so forth.
    And after being empowered by their advice, you may want to contact me and assure me that I will get a job as a baggage handler at LAX with recommandations from Rezko, Wright, Ayres, Khalidi and Farrakhan – looking forward for you encouragement.
    Best regards –

    Comment by misanthropicus — October 30, 2008 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  12. When I was in college I associated with ALL kinds of people, from fringe-types to super-rednecks and everything in between. It was a learning experience.

    I rather have a President who knows the real people in the World than someone who just knows the Elite.

    Associating doesn’t mean brainwashing.

    All my associations are long gone, all is left is the learning and the perspectives. And the World is different now.

    Writing in this blog doesn’t make me right-wing. But is someone hears that I deal with PJM, ohhh, he must be a Red Stater . . . People don’t get the facts and things just go downhill . . . for a while.

    Comment by vivo — October 30, 2008 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  13. LA Times editor Stanton is announced as the winner of the 2008 Dan Rather Award

    Comment by idov — October 30, 2008 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  14. Boycott LATimes advertisers. They’ll howl, and the Times will cave… or go under.

    skink – What IS your problem? You’re not even American. You have no skin in this game. Are you just here to heckle? What if our stuff here is partisan? We’re not prfoessional journalists. There’s a big difference.

    Comment by Marc Malone — October 31, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  15. Boycott LATimes advertisers. They’ll howl, and the Times will cave… or go under.

    I’ve had it. From now on I will do what I can to make sure that the media do not get a dime from me and as little of my attention as possible. Their coverage of this election has been a disgrace.

    Comment by huxley — October 31, 2008 @ 5:02 am | Reply

  16. RR — I can’t make any sense of the explanation offered by the LA Times either — other than the obvious: they are covering for Obama.

    Comment by huxley — October 31, 2008 @ 5:06 am | Reply

  17. How is this for an explanation????

    EXCLUSIVE: Ali Abunimah is Likely Source of Secreted Obama/Khalidi/Ayers Tape; LA Times’ Wallsten Plagiarized Schlussel Back in April, Said Politico

    By Debbie Schlussel

    **** UPDATE: Can Ali Abunimah be bought off for $175,000? Depends on what he’s getting from greater Arabia, Islamia, and Obama. ****

    There has been much discussion throughout the Net about a secreted video showing Barack Obama at a dinner with terrorists Bill Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn, and the anti-Semitic Arafat advisor, Rashid Khalidi.

    The Los Angeles Times has a copy of the tape, but won’t release it because they said the source–whom I believe is Arab American Action Network (AAAN) founder and anti-Israel Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada–required it not be released as a condition of sharing it. That’s because it likely shows Obama applauding an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel poem that was read at the dinner.

    But what you may not know is that I started the whole story, and Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten plagiarized me. (WND’s resident ganif Aaron Klein also ripped-off the same article in May.)

    Ali Abunimah: Likely Source of Withheld Obama-Khalidi Tape
    A refresher: In January, I wrote an exclusive column about Barack Obama’s Nation of Islam staffers and “evolving” positions on Israel and the Jews. In March, I was contacted in writing by Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten, who told me he read my article and wanted to report on it for the L.A. Times. I agreed, provided that he credit me and/or mention my name and site in the article, to which he agreed. We spoke on the phone at some length.

    In April, Wallsten wrote the story. Portions of it were lifted from my article. But I was never credited, contrary to Wallsten’s promise. Even the Politico said Wallsten plagiarized me.

    I’m almost positive that the video Wallsten referenced in the story was obtained from Arab American Action Network founder Abunimah because my article–the one Wallsten ripped off from me–featured photos of Barack Obama and wife Michelle seated with PLO advisor Edward Said at another AAAN annual banquet and led Wallsten to contact Abunimah. I noted in my article–from which Wallsten got most of his info–that the pics were from Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada site, in which he wrote about Obama’s 180 on Israel from those days of AAAN dinners and PLO confabs.

    I believe that Wallsten contacted Abunimah about the photos and learned of the other AAAN annual banquet dinner (at which Abunimah, Obama, Ayers, Dohrn, and Khalidi were all in attendance), and that Abunimah is his source for the video.

    Here’s my e-mail to him. I’ll let you know when and if I get a response.

    From: Debbie Schlussel
    Date: Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 12:45 PM

    Subject: Press Inquiry for Ali Abunimah . . .


    Did you show or provide the tape of Obama at the dinner with Rashid Khalidi to the LA Times’ Peter Wallsten? Do you have a copy of the video? Will you release it for viewing? If not, why?
    Looking forward to your responses for quotation on my website.
    Debbie Schlussel

    As you probably know by now, last week, Gateway Pundit/Jim Hoft asked L.A. Times plagiarist/”reporter” Peter Wallsten whether he has the tape about which he wrote in April. I’m not sure why Jim waited until now, but I’m glad he didn’t wait until a week from now. I’m assuming he only just thought of it, unlike everyone else, I’m glad he had the instinct to look into obtaining the tape.

    In any event, the L.A. Times–usually telling us about the public’s right to know–now only believes in “the public’s right to know what we want it to know and what will aid our pan-Obama-ist agenda.”

    If I were major media sources, I would bug the heck out of Ali Abunimah and pressure him to release the tape because I’m quite sure he has it and that he is Wallsten’s unnamed source.

    Comment by nocoincidences — October 31, 2008 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  18. I suspect there is also some sort of legal threat of a massive lawsuit nature from Fascist Obama that the Times is sensitive to.
    We all suspect Obama love drives the media. It is also Obama litigation that intimidates many. He threatend the running of opposition adds in st louis. He threated Citi regarding mortgage application rejections of minorities. He has a bully side that is another tool in his tool box.

    Comment by sunshine2 — October 31, 2008 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  19. Aside from all of the bluster and fluster it seems that Mr. Rosenbaum is troubled with his certainty that Obama is not a stealth anti- semitic. Imagine how millions of other are now questioning their allegiance to Obama.

    Comment by WR Jonas — October 31, 2008 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  20. woops. You adorable, intellectually dishonest fools.

    Comment by HonestAbe — October 31, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Reply


    This will be election that lives in big biased media infamy, as noted here:

    Comment by The Historian — October 31, 2008 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  22. gosh I don’t see the usual Obama suspects/defenders shooshing away all of this as tin foil hat conspiracy theories from the right wing nut jobs… maybe they are so busy doing that, so many times, for so many unanswered questions about their hope & change hero… they just can’t cover all the bases. Nah, they’ll be showing up any minute now to pooh-pooh this as “no evidence, no problem”. Seems like a standard reply to every damn thing about this guy, except what we do know for a fact, he’s a socialist.

    Comment by Bill in NY — October 31, 2008 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  23. Obama’s early “rabbis” in Chcago included Abner Mikva, Newton Minow and the Pritzker family. Neither he nor Michelle would have advanced so far so quickly with out these essential early backers. The problem is that duality of identification is part of the stratification of the ethnic divide in Chicago. Reminds me of Adam Clayton Powell’s tale of his youth on 125th Street in Harlem. He had a black father and an Irish mother so, if he walked on the south side of the street, the irish hugs would beat ’em up; the north side, the blacks would beat ’em up. Hence, Powell always walked down the middle of 125th Street, dodging the cars. “Passing” and “pandering” are what all politicians do: it is what Barack IS, the chameleon, the shapeshifter, the man with multiple identities, yet none at all.

    Comment by charlie finch — October 31, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  24. I’m guessing that it was the belly dancers dressed as Ilsa, SheWolf of the SS, that are embarrassing.

    OR did Obama’s camp sent the tape, thinking it showed him in a “good” light?

    Comment by Rachel Cohen — October 31, 2008 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  25. […] others have surmised that the Los Angeles Times is running interference for Barack Obama, declining not just to provide […]

    Pingback by This Is the Khalidi Obama Embraced | Citizen-Right — October 31, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  26. To make some sense of how to umpire this cowardly and legally indefensible act, we can copy what happens in court if someone destroys evidence. When that happens, we can fairly make the most negative, prejudicial inference about what the evidence would have shown. There is no presumption that one destroys or withholds evidence for any legitimate reason.

    But, as has been pointed out here, the paper is apparently not under even some imaginary obligation to withhold the information in the tape. Yet, the paper is embargoing the informatoin. Again, the same inference must be drawn.

    What is that inference? This: we must draw the inference that release of the tape or the information therein would end Obama’s chance to be president. At least that’s how it would go for destroyed (or withheld) evidence in Federal Court. Why not here?

    Comment by MarkO — October 31, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  27. Ante up LA Times. After all, what was the purpose of your source giving you a tape anyway? To NOT disclose it publicly? I don’t think so. If you possessed evidence damaging to the Republicans, you wouldn’t hesitate to broadcast it to the WORLD ASAP… and you know it. How can you look at yourselves in the mirror every morning and not see a hypocrite staring back at you?


    Comment by Rob Stevenson — October 31, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  28. In a Carter’s Second Term (if Barack Obama becomes president) … What role will this association of President Obama’s play – would this guy become our chief adviser to the Middle East … or just the ambassador to the Palestinians?

    Comment by Edmund Jenks (MAXINE) — November 1, 2008 @ 5:55 am | Reply

  29. I cannot understand why the LA Times just didn’t bury the entire thing. Why mention it at all if they can’t or won’t back it up? It makes no sense. What is the saying -“Publish or Perish”
    – looks like the Times as chosen to perish.

    Comment by Janeway — November 1, 2008 @ 7:15 am | Reply

  30. […] what seems especially puzzling about all the whining over the L.A. Times‘ refusal to release a tape of Barack Obama at Rashid Khalidi’s […]

    Pingback by Kantian Journalism — November 1, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  31. Marc:

    I think skink’s problem is the same one I have with PJs. There’s so much finger-pointing, so much scorn, and so much arrogance about how this is the ONLY place where you can receive “honest” reporting.

    I find that idea offensive. I wouldn’t mind Fox News at all (There SHOULD be a conservative network, if not two or three), if it weren’t for the fact that they act like they’re neutral. They aren’t neutral. They’re as biased as MSNBC. That’s fine as well, but don’t tell me that I’m hearing nothing but the plain truth.

    I frequently get sick of the attitude here that everyone else is either a liar or just stupid. I don’t want to put words in Skink’s mouth, but I would guess that’s where he’s coming from.

    Skink: Are you out there? What’s your take?

    Comment by Someone75 — November 2, 2008 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

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