Streetwise Professor

October 29, 2008

If It Was Classified, They Would Have No Problems Releasing It

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 8:34 pm

The media’s slavish devotion to Obama hardly deserves comment, but the LA Times has truly distinguished itself in its eagerness to sacrifice principle for political expediency. These stalwart defenders of “the public’s right to know” when it comes to disclosing sensitive national security information, steadfastly refuse to release even a transcript of a video tape of a party honoring radical Palestinian academic Rashid Khalidi which Obama attended, and at which he delivered a testimonial to Khalidi.

The LAT has offered a menu of explanations/excuses–always a tip off to a lie. The first was “well, we reported on it, so we’ve fulfilled our obligation.” In their own words: “It sounds as if you don’t find ‘mere reporting’ to be enough, but The Times is not suppressing anything.” So in other words, the paper’s motto is: “All the news that we deign to give you.” The lame-o, blow off response begs several questions, the most important of which is: “You’ve reported something, but have you reported completely?” And, how can the Times not be suppressing “anything” if it refuses to release the entire tape? In their twisted logic, a piece is the whole: If we report on a part of something, but leave out something, we haven’t suppressed anything! We’ve told you the whole story! By analogy, if an LA Times editor gives give a beggar a bone, he’s actually given the poor mendicant a steak dinner. Maybe the LAT should get a clue from Paul Harvey, and tell us “the rest of the story.” My guess that that will happen, either (a) when Hell freezes over, or (b) next Wednesday.

That certainly wouldn’t fly in a court. The oath says, “Tell the whole truth.” The LAT is giving us part of the truth, and telling us to pound sand about the rest. The partial truth is often worse than a total lie.

It appears that that risible “defense” is no longer operative, so the Times has switched gears. It now wraps itself in sacred bargains struck with confidential sources: The Times “did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it.”

This violates the “you can’t be a little bit pregnant” principle, and completely contradicts the original justification. The Times already reported on, and quoted from, the tape–they admitted that in their original defense (not that they could deny it). So, they’ve already violated their sacred trust with Mr. LA Confidential. Maybe you guys haven’t heard yet, but you can’t get back your virginity. You lost that when the article on the event first ran.

Since the serial explanations are clearly bogus, the only possible conclusion is that the LA Times has no justification for its actions, other than that the tape would damage Obama’s prospects, and that the Times cannot abide that.

Once the phrase “military intelligence” was the standard joking illustration of an oxymoron. That phrase should be replaced by “journalistic ethics.” Sadly, that’s no joke.

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  1. Actually recently I’ve been thinking it would be better for the country is McCain were to win.

    Both McCain and Obama are deep within the System – the fact they’re presidential candidates prove it. Obama has a popular image and plans that will satiate the masses, thus preserving the system and making him in a sense a far more insidious choice than McCain and Palin – who are unabashedly, very visibly a part of the system. Under McCain, the contradictions in society might build up to such a level as to trigger the revolutionary change that this country really needs, which will tear apart the oppressive System. Whereas Obama has made steps to pre-empt such a possibility by assuming the rhetoric and the language of radical change and promising more hand-outs to the middle-class (i.e. the guards who protect the elites in their prison-palace and enslave the rest), which will allow him to much more effectively preserve the System he is a part of. As you yourself say, flexible is better than hard.

    As such, from now on I endorse McCain-Palin 08!! Release the tape! Bring on the revolt of the guards!!!

    Comment by Da Russophile — October 30, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  2. Ah, a true Leninist. “The worse, the better.”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2008 @ 6:18 am

  3. Well, if McCain were elected, the worst case scenario in my mind would be thus: McCain wins, dies of something or other within months of taking office, and shortly afterward President Palin tries to impose her vision on America. However, unlike Russia, the United States, still has an independent Congress, independent governors, independent judges, independent media…. So, if President Palin is true to her past (i.e. Troopergate) and in my imaginary scenario is eventually impeached, as I still believe that American democracy works in spite of its flaws, the only question that I would have (not being American and not having studied your constitution) is constitutionally who would succeed her in this hypothetical scenario? If a President dies and the VP takes office, does the VP office remain empty? Who would replace the President in a hypothetical case where the President dies and the new VP/President is impeached before new presidential election are held?

    Comment by Michel — October 30, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  4. Michel–

    But Sarah is almost a neighbor of yours, no? Thought you’d be more sympatico. 🙂

    Re Constitution, when the President dies, the successor (the former VP) chooses a new VP. There can be a period of time in which the VP office is vacant, but it is likely to be filled quickly. There is an elaborate succession plan. This was developed in large part over fear of a nuclear war that would decapitate the leadership. 3d in line is the Speaker of the House (Pelosi at present.) And, to really put the fear of God in you, regardless of your political leanings, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Robert Byrd (the senile former Klansman) is next after Pelosi. Then Secretary of State, and then down the line through various cabinet positions.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 30, 2008 @ 10:17 am

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