Convicted By What They Didn’t Cover
OK, election day quiz: Did you know that Barack Obama spent three weeks in Pakistan during his college years?
I didn’t, at least not until yesterday when I read it on a blog, Locomotive Breath 1901. I’ll be fair to the media on this one, though, the NYT did cover it – once - on April 10, 2008:
During the speech, Mr. Obama also spoke about having traveled to Pakistan in the early 1980s. Because of that trip, which he did not mention in either of his autobiographical books, “I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” he said.
Then, the final paragraphs of the story:
According to his campaign staff, Mr. Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent “about three weeks” there, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Bill Burton, said, staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, but also traveling to Hyderabad, in India.
Mr. Obama appears not to have previously cited his travel in Pakistan in speeches during the campaign. In “Dreams from My Father,” he talks of having a Pakistani roommate when he moved to New York, a man he calls Sadik who “had overstayed his tourist visa and now made a living in New York’s high-turnover, illegal immigrant work force, waiting on tables.”
Mr. Obama, the campaign and his publisher have not provided any details about the identity of Sadik.
During his years at Occidental College, Mr. Obama also befriended Wahid Hamid, a fellow student who was an immigrant from Pakistan and traveled with Mr. Obama there, the Obama campaign said. Mr. Hamid is now a vice president at Pepsico in New York, and according to public records, has donated the maximum $2,300 to the Obama campaign and is listed as a fund-raiser for it.
Mr. Chandoo is now a self-employed financial consultant, living in Armonk, N.Y. He has also donated the maximum, $2,300, to Mr. Obama’s primary campaign and an additional $309 for the general election, campaign finance records show.
Now, Pakistan is I’m sure a fine place to spend three weeks; a lot of young men from all over the world do that, visiting madrassa and learning the ways of jihad. One could go to Pakistan for three weeks and not learn the difference between Shi’a and Sunni because the country is overwhelmingly Sunni (75% vs 20%), so unless he was getting some education while there, he might not have become aware of the differences.
The NYT report gives us no information at all about what Obama did during his three weeks there; it sheds no light on why the trip is missing from his books; it looks no further into Mr. Chandoo (let’s excuse Mr. Hamid; there are probably no jihadist VPs and Pepsico).
The Revolutionary Political Blog did dig into Chandoo. It didn’t find an Islamist jihadist, but did find a Bush-hating bundler for Obama. It’s not significant in the scheme of the election, except that it shows that a same media that dug through Joe the Plumber’s and Sarah Palin’s garbage in search of anything negative couldn’t bother itself following a clear news lead on the Obama side.
Besides Obama’s Magical Madrassa Tour, here are a few other stories the media did not bother covering this election:
* Occidental College records — Not released
* Columbia College records — Not released
* Columbia Thesis paper — ‘not available’
* Harvard College records — Not released
* Medical records — Not released
* Illinois State Senate schedule — ‘not available’
* Law practice client list — Not released
* Harvard Law Review articles published — None
* University of Chicago scholarly articles — None
* Illinois State Senate records—’not available’
And let’s not forget his campaign donor information, especially with all the questions that have been raised about illegal foreign donations and fraudulent credit card donations.
Not released? Why not? Not available? Did you ask twice?
Did the media ask why all of this is locked up, even public records like the Illinois State Senate records and schedules? Did they dig? Did they take a librarian or campaign worker to dinner? Did they call a source or two?
No, they did not because this was the year any hint of objectivity died.
Media Bias 2008 covers pro-Obama media bias. Items are listed from most recent to oldest; the numbering reflects this and is not a ranking. Send Media Bias 2008 examples via “comments”‘ below, or to email2laer [@] yahoo [dot] com.