Middle East studies in the News
A Tale of Two Secret Videos [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Daren Jonescu
The media's extensive and exaggerated coverage of the "secret video" of Mitt Romney speaking to supporters about the culture of dependency ought to remind us of another "secret video" that was not so widely covered. This other video is not secret in the sense of having been filmed surreptitiously (perhaps illegally) in a private home, like the Romney video. As far as we know, it was filmed legally and openly, but it has remained secret only because the LA Times has chosen not to release it to the public.
In 2003, when Rashid Khalidi was appointed as Edward Said Professor of Anti-Israeli Rhetoric -- er, that is, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies -- at Columbia University, he was feted with a farewell dinner in Chicago, where some of his friends and allies gathered to pay tribute to his pro-PLO fervor and to bash the Jews.
It is supposed that Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were there. According to the LA Times' brief printed account, the occasion was a cheerful evening of music, dancing, and anti-Israeli poetry. In addition, "[a] special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama."
The article continues:
And that's it. No further information. This event came to light during the 2008 presidential campaign. The McCain team sought the release of a video taken at the dinner, which would have shown who was there, what Obama said during his "special tribute" to Khalidi, whether his interaction with Ayers and Dohrn was just "guy from my neighborhood" stuff, and who knows what else.
"Who knows?" That is the issue. The LA Times made the editorial decision never to release the video, arguing that "it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it. The Times keeps its promises to sources."
How noble of them. The Romney video was "secret," as the mainstream media proudly and titillatingly describes it, in the sense of having been acquired through questionable or illegal methods. The Obama-Khalidi video is "secret" because the mainstream media does not want to release it.
And which of these two videos is actually newsworthy -- the one the LA Times and the rest of the MSM have carefully avoided talking about throughout their Obama Love-In Phase, or the one the MSM is incessantly highlighting and spinning as irreparably damaging to the Romney campaign in the final weeks before the most important election in modern U.S. history?
What do you say about the left's policies and voter base when gathered with friendly acquaintances in the privacy of your own home? Is it always as tame, measured, and straightforward as the remarks Romney made in that video?
Is it not simply a matter of fact that the fundamental divide in modern democratic politics is between those who promise that government will take care of your material needs, and protect you from all challenge and risk, and those who promise to protect you from violations of your liberty, so that you may pursue life's challenges and risks without undue restriction and government intervention? Is this divide not reducible to saying that leftists are trying to create a broad base of government dependents who have a strong vested interest in supporting the party of entitlements and reduced freedom, whereas conservatives are appealing to those who are not yet trapped in that net of dependency, and who still cherish their natural rights -- their humanity -- over mere physical "security"?
In short, isn't what Romney said in that video, all quibbling over exact percentages of the population aside, merely common sense? What he did -- and did better than he usually does it in his public comments, in fact -- was outline the nature of today's Democratic Party strategy and acknowledge the extent to which their multi-generational project has been successful. The left has actively sought to create an audience of moral toddlers who are happily prepared to sacrifice their liberty for security, their rights for goodies, and other people's lives for their own material needs.
All Romney really said was, in effect, "we've lost those people for the time being." It is obvious that he was right. In this election, conservatives need to win over that minority that has not yet sold itself into the slavery of government dependency, but has not yet fully embraced the joys of individualism and self-reliance, otherwise known as the American Dream.
And what about the other secret video, the one the media has chosen to suppress and guard for all these years? It apparently shows a mutual admiration society of Chicago terrorists, supporters of terrorists, communist revolutionaries, Islamists, anti-Semites, and Barack Obama (as featured speaker), gathered to celebrate a prominent spokesman for anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian propaganda. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.
One last note. In this age of domestic surveillance drones, "domestic terror" accusations against Tea Party conservatives, and the Obama administration's reluctance to say that it will never criminalize speech criticizing a religion (see here), ought not this Romney "secret video" story give one pause? This video was shot behind closed doors, in a private home. The leftist mouthpiece media has been tripping all over itself to publicize it as quickly and widely as possible. There is a message here, whether intended or otherwise: watch what you say -- anywhere, in any company, even in the privacy of your own home. No place, no context is above public monitoring and revelation.
Your "private" thoughts are not your own. And the public entity explicitly assigned the task, in a free society, of defending you against the potential corruptions of power is now the willing servant of that power, and the eager vessel of those corruptions.
...Unless, of course, your private thoughts express sympathy with Islamic terrorists, and show you, as an elected official, cavorting with avowed enemies of the American system of government. Then you will be accorded the full protection of the LA Times.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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