Fixing The Los Angeles Times' Khalidi Tape Problem

Somebody was listening to me Tuesday night when I said that The Los Angeles Times shouldn't be hiding a tape from 2003 of Barack Obama effusively praising a former PLO activist named Rashid Khalid at a going away bash for Khalidi when he moved from Chicago to New York.

On Wednesday, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called for The L.A. Times to release the tape and Senator McCain said this: "I just think that the American people need to know about Senator Obama's motivations, his associations and a clear record."

We know the tape exists because The L.A. Times described what is on it back in April when Obama was running against Hillary Clinton. It didn't sound good: Some speakers were attacking Israel and Obama admitted knowing onetime PLO activist Khalidi.

Obama said his good friend Khalidi challenged his biases about Israel and the Palestinians. According to The L.A. Times report Khalidi raised Obama's Palestinian consciousness.

The Times won't release the tape, saying it had promised the source who provided the tape that it would not be shown.

Our own Washington deputy bureau managing editor Bill Sammon says, hey, The Times journalist made a promise to his source, he's got to keep his word.

OK, but I think there's a way out of this:

First, The Times reporter could go back to the source and say, America wants to see that tape. Or, just to show The Times isn't in the tank for Obama, the paper could publish a complete transcript of the tape and we could all see what was said by Obama and others.

By the way, guess what Khalidi's official title is at Columbia? The Edward Said professor of Arab Studies.

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