Jewish Journal


October 30, 2008

Protesters storm LA Times, demand Obama-Khalidi tape


We’re now on Day 3 of Obama-Khalidi video watch at The God Blog.

Tuesday McCain joined the conservative bloggers and pundits demanding the Los Angeles Times release a video of Barack Obama at a 2003 farewell dinner for scholar Rashid Khalidi, an outspoken critic of Israel. Yesterday demands from angry readers grew and McCain, on the campaign trail, accused the Times of protecting its favored son. Today protests have been organized outside the Times’ building on Spring Street. VideoJew Jay Firestone is there right now; we should have footage up soon.

This whole “controversy” will be moot by this time next week, regardless of whether the tape is ever released. And don’t count on it to be. A surprising defense of the Times and reporter Peter Wallsten—one I would agree with—comes from Fox News:

To me, it’s pretty simple. Reporter Peter Wallsten made an agreement with a source to refrain from publicly disclosing the tape. Unless that source lets Wallsten off the hook, the reporter is journalistically bound to abide by the agreement, regardless of how much heat his newspaper takes from pundits on TV.

Indeed, Wallsten has little choice in the matter. If he were to cave in to mounting public demands for the tape, no self-respecting source would ever give him another shred of information. Nor should they.

Again, I don’t understand why the newspaper won’t release a transcript of the tape or why Obama was only paraphrased and not quoted. But all the protesting in the world isn’t going to push the Times to make the tape public. I would hope that Wallsten has gone back to the source, over and over, and urged their permission to release the tape. But, if he hasn’t, attacking his reputation isn’t going to encourage him to do so.

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