Why offer confidentiality about a public meeting?
Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said Sen. Barack Obama has ties to a Columbia University professor who she said is "a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization."Frankly, I would rather have George Bush as a friend than Rashid Khalidi, Rev. Wright, or Bill Ayers. At least we know that George Bush wants the US to defeat the enemy.
The Obama campaign said on its Web site that "ugly insinuations about Barack Obama's relationship with a former neighbor and university colleague ... are completely false." The professor has denied he was a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Palin said her assertion "is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record."
"It seems that there is yet another radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama going back several years," Palin said at an event in Bowling Green, Ohio.
"This is important because his associate, Rashid Khalidi ... in addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he's a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization." Watch Palin say the LA Times is 'kowtowing' to Obama »
Sen. John McCain's campaign repeatedly has sought to tie Obama to former 1960s radical William Ayers, who co-founded the Weather Underground. Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois.
Khalidi is a leading scholar of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia, and he was a contemporary of Obama's while on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Read: Palin blasts Obama for ties to Palestinian professor
Khalidi has been a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and has accused the country of "occupying" Palestinian territories. But he has denied acting as a PLO spokesman during a seven-year period in the 1970s and 1980s.
Khalidi said Wednesday, "I am not speaking to the media at this time, and certainly not until this idiot wind passes."
The Obama campaign called Palin's remarks "another recycled, manufactured controversy from the McCain campaign to distract voters' attention from John McCain's lockstep support for George Bush's economic policies."
But what is really strange is the rationale for withholding the tape. Why should a public gathering to celebrate the departure of Khalidi for a promotion be given any confidentiality. It is not like it would endanger national security or anyone's privacy rights to release this information. In fact the only conceivable reason to withhold the tape is the embarrassment that might befall Obama for his associations.
CNN does a good job of reporting Khalidi's position on Israel. Many others in the media have not been as diligent in putting this story in context. That is what journalism is supposed to be about, putting facts in perspective.