LA Times finally speaks on the video everybody knows exists and for which I’m told there is another copy, possibly in the possession of the Romney campaign.
“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.
The Obama camp loathed the story, because it could be interpreted as showing the future president as a chameleon; siding with whatever group he happened to be sitting with at any moment in time.
(A footnote: Wallsten wrote a few other stories for The Times in the 2008 cycle that were widely loathed by Team Obama. One showed the former state senator to be perfectly comfortable, thank you, in the bare-knuckle world of Chicago politics. Another suggested that some colleagues in community organizing felt Obama snagged too much credit for projects they helped make happen. If any reporter did not buy in to Obama hagiography four years ago, it was Wallsten.)
This fine reporter, who has moved on to the Washington Post, has long since stopped answering questions about the video. There is nothing to be gained in talking about a story published four years ago. It speaks for itself and it surely does not speak in a way that Obama fans appreciate. Public discussions about arrangements with a source can only lead to trouble, even inadvertent betrayal, and Wallsten has wisely avoided those pitfalls
I can guarantee you that if this had been a tape of Romney with a Hooker it would have been out in five seconds, Wallsten be damned. And there IS something to be gained by viewing the video, that is the informing of the American people about the company the President of the United States keeps. That is supposedly the goddman job of the media.
However not that they inadvertantly admitted to the tape’s existence, it should only fuel the fires more. As I said, I find it hard to believe there was only one video and there are rumors that team Romney may just drop a copy on the public come October. We’ll see.
The Commander in Chief at Work!
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