10.01.2008 0

RE: Disclosure Double Standard

  • On: 10/31/2008 11:00:46
  • In: Barack Obama
  • ALG Editor’s Note: The following letter was from a reader who obviously did not share the view that the Los Angeles Times should release the video of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at a banquet honoring Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO spokesman. We humbly disagree.

    Dear Editor,

    Hey, dude, the [Los Angeles Times] was given that video [of Barack Obama at the banquet] with the explicit instruction it could not release it.

    But, I guess issues of fact and law mean nothing to you?

    —Steve S.

    * * *

    Dear Steve,

    Thank you for your note.

    The Los Angeles Times can do whatever it wants, but it’s not as if they haven’t published secret information before. In fact, their editor went as far as to describe when they publish state secrets.

    Granted, they were talking about government secrets, but if they’re willing to publish the existence of a top secret NSA program, why not publish a video from a banquet? I’m sure there were plenty of government officials explicitly telling these papers not to publish the story about the Terrorist Surveillance Program, that it would jeopardize the intel program, but they published it anyway. I personally would not have published it. But they have “higher” standards than me. Dean Baquet writes in a joint editorial with the New York Times, “When do we publish a secret?”:

    “[E]ach of us has decided to publish classified information over strong objections from our government.”

    Explicitly, they decided to publish the information because:

    “Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price.”

    So, “at what price” does electing Barack Obama come at? Who has he associated with? What has he said about them? How well will he fight for on our behalf if he has associated with known terrorists like Bill Ayers?

    If they refuse to publish the video, that’s fine. But it comes at the cost of their credibility to hold both Republicans and Democrats to the same standards, and the very journalistic principles which they espouse in their joint editorial with the New York Times.  There is no question that there is a public interest in what the Democrat Party presidential nominee specifically said and had said about him at this banquet.

    They claim that the people have a right to know potentially incriminating information about elected officials. Barack Obama is an elected official.

    All I’m learning here is that the Los Angeles Times has higher regard for “protecting sources”—and Senator Obama—than protecting national security.  Even if they are under contractual obligation not to release the actual video, they could release a transcript of it.

    Good day.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Romano
    Editor of ALG News Bureau


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