Patterico's Pontifications


Evan Maxwell on the Khalidi Tape Controversy

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Former L.A. Times reporter Evan Maxwell wrote the following e-mail to Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold, regarding the Khalidi tape controversy. He copied me on the e-mail and authorized me to publish it:

As a former Times staff writer, I am dismayed by the Times’ decision to betray a basic tenet of journalism: make the best evidence available to the readers and let the readers form their own conclusion.

Sources are, perhaps, entitled to some protection, though I no longer think blind sourcing was the good idea I thought it was as a reporter. But this situation presents a real breakdown of editorial judgement. Journalists can’t withhold the best evidence of any news event from the reader and at the same time characterize the contents and draw conclusions and impressions. That kind of gate-keeping arrogance, in the present climate, is unacceptable.

Look at the matter with a different fact set: If the Times obtained a videotape of a nasty, bloody murder, reported on its impressions of the contents, drew inferences as to guilt or innocence and then withheld the tape from the public and the police, readers would be outraged and the law would intervene. This is a political event, not a murder. The stakes may or may not be greater, but principles are the same. You either show your whole hand, report your story as fully as you possibly can, or you leave a terrible taste in the mouths of people you say you pride yourself by serving.

I am not inured to the nuance of the practice of journalism. But even in the good old days of the last century, reporters who came into possession of confidential material from a source usually were smart enough not to admit in print that they possess the material. The moment a journalist says he is using a secret report to validate his work, and then refuses to reveal the full contents of the report, he is guilty of the kind of conduct that deservedly brought Sen. Joseph McCarthy to disgrace.

You let the cat’s tail out of the bag and you admitted you still possess that bag. Now I think you have no choice but to show us the rest of the animal so we can see it for ourselves. We are, after all, big boys and girls out here now. Hell, they even let us cast our votes. So help us to do that.

Evan Maxwell
Sedona, AZ

I sent Evan an e-mail asking his response to the argument that a promise was made to the source not to release the tape. After all, I can easily envision a situation where the act of releasing the tape would necessarily amount to disclosing the identity of the source. If the tape was made using a handheld camera, taking footage from a particular table, that might give away who made the tape. This would be especially true if, for example, the source was making comments throughout the taping process, in an identifiable voice. Evan responded:

Disclosure is a risk. Of course it’s a risk. That’s precisely why journalists shouldn’t use blind sources and this is an illustration of the dangers that pertain thereto.

When sources are blind, the journalist becomes the ultimate firewall, and his judgment about the meaning and importance of vital evidence is final. We don’t trust journalists so much any more, if we ever did, and the Internet, blogs, etc., have made many of us eager to knock down the firewall and judge the evidence for ourselves. The best example of this is debunked 60 Minutes National Guard documents.

In the old days, there wasn’t a way for readers to access the best evidence and they were much more willing to swallow the received wisdom as conveyed by the reporter and his editors. Nowadays, the paper has the capability of posting the best evidence and letting the reader examine it. That’s what I think ought to be done here and increasingly, I think it ought to be done in all manner of journalistic situations. Some media outlets are doing that. For instance, Frontline regularly posts the transcripts of entire interviews, even if only snips of the interview appear onscreen. I applaud that practice. It allows me as a reader/viewer to draw my own conclusions about both the source individual and the program itself.

I never made this kind of argument when I made my living as a reporter. I was as addicted as anybody to the anonymous source, the blind quote. I never misrepresented the situation, never made up a source to come up with the quote I needed to make the point of the story. But since I left daily journalism, I have become more and more uneasy about the pernicious effect of unnamed sources. I am even thinking about taking the revolutionary position that reporters ought to post their notes and their source materials online, so we can look over their shoulders directly and make up our minds, if we are inclined to do so. That would certainly change the practice of journalism.

Your question about burning a source is a real one and I am indulging in hindsight, which allows me to say the reporter should never have used the material from the videotape as the basis for a story unless he had the right to display it openly. Reporters are pawns, really; they are the conduits for material that somebody wants to see published, often for selfish reasons. I do think that the Times and this reporter, have backed themselves into an untenable situation and ought to be working hard to find a way to make the evidence public. Maybe there’s nothing on the tape worth worrying about, as a voter, and maybe its as inflammatory as some zealots think it is. But now the tape itself is a legitimate issue and the Times is standing in the way of truth, a position that great newspapers should never occupy.

I agree that newspapers should generally make their source documentation available. This has been a hobby horse of mine for years.

But I also suspect that there’s probably no great revelation on the tape. And I strongly suspect that the alleged leaked quotes from the tape are phony — a bid to put pressure on the newspaper to release the tape and disprove the quotes.

Also, if the only way to get the story out — the only way — was to make this promise, it’s not obvious to me that the paper did the wrong thing in making that promise. And no, I don’t think Russ Stanton is flatly lying to the public about this. And I still think newspapers have to keep promises to their sources.

The main problem I have with the paper’s handling of this situation is that editors didn’t immediately tell readers that the tape could not be released because a promise had been made. Instead, we were told “no comment” or “Does Politico release unpublished information?” or “We’re not a video service.” This was not the best way to handle reasonable inquiries about the tape. These responses — together with the paper’s history of being, at times, perfectly willing to allow readers believe things that aren’t true — fuel the fires of suspicion among many conservatives.

I think Evan Maxwell is right that the paper “ought to be working hard to find a way to make the evidence public.” I have gone to work trying to explore ways that could happen; I’ll let you know if my efforts bear fruit.

54 Responses to “Evan Maxwell on the Khalidi Tape Controversy”

  1. My reading of this affair is that the excuse of not releasing the tape was number 4 put out by the Times. After making three other excuses in the prior two days, this was excuse #4 on the third day. Pardon my conspiratorial tendancies, but if this privacy grant was the cause for not releasing it, why wait three days and three excuses to trot it out? Something doesn’t smell right in the fish wrap.

    pasqual (405885)

  2. The LAT did not promise not to release a transcript.

    The LAT did not promise not to let McCain staffers watch the video at LAT headquarters and leave empty-handed.

    If the LAT did both of those things, we would know what Obama said. We deserve to know.

    The LAT never promised to withhold that–and yet they are.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  3. “Editing” Everybody Loves Raymond: The Wedding of Robert to Amy, Raymond gives a great “toast” speech about “Editing.” I’m fairly confident that an organization with the resources of the L.A. Slimes, I mean Times, could scare up an editor or two: or two freakin hundred, and spare the tapee from being revealed while showing the relevant portions that are NEWSWORTHY! Editing, that’s right, Editing. I think you are too trusting when you say you believe the Slimes editor who now, after taking several other stances on the issue, says they can’t release the tape because they made a promise to the source. Deepthroat had a story to tell, and the story was told without “outing” Depthroat.

    Pure and simple, the Slimes knows the tape will hurt their Golden Boy so they are keeping it under wraps until after the election. If you don’t believe that I’d like to talk to about this wonderful bridge I have for sale…..

    J. Raymond Wright (0440ef)

  4. I agree with Ewan. They had no business making the deal to begin with. Their source had some agenda behind releasing the tape, and the source might have had a further agenda by attaching the restriction, other than simple identity protection (we can’t know the last without knowing who the source is, of course). It’s entirely proper for the paper to say: “we’re not going to do what you want us to do (write about the tape) under those restrictions. You can either give us the tape, and allow us to make it available to the public, or you can not give us the tape.

    As Ewan says, sources ALWAYS have an agenda. When the paper cuts a deal like this with the source, the paper becomes an accomplice not to the truth, but to the furtherance of the source’s agenda. I think you’re bending over too far backwards to be fair to them here, Patrick.

    PatHMV (a00c3c)

  5. Careful, folks. We could be getting set up with this one. Obama and his henchmen would love to sit back and gloat after we moved hell and high water to get……………….a benign tape of no consequence.

    Just sayin’……………


    Gary D. Ray (009eba)

  6. #5 Gary D. Ray:

    Just sayin’…

    Oh, I suppose.

    I myself am not particularly concerned about the release of the tape itself: it doesn’t tell me I hadn’t already figured out for myself…but it might have some utility in exposing what kind of critter the O!ne actually is. And I don’t think it would show any ‘great revelation’ of some kind, but again, it’s important to remind everybody just how slimy he is.

    Now, as far a bit of journalism goes, the dog trainer is again showing just how venal they can be.

    EW1(SG) (a19624)

  7. I doubt the LA Times will release the tape before the election but it’s helpful to get Evan Maxwell’s perspective and analysis. It makes sense to me.

    DRJ (cb68f2)

  8. Evan Maxwell certainly provides a very interesting and probably, unique point of view. I wonder how many journalists working at big papers would agree with him? His honesty and frankness would seem to be, at the least, pretty jarring to those still embedded.

    I heard on Fox tonight a poly sci professor discussing the issue and she kept repeating the phrase “if people want to know what is on the tape, read the LATs. They have reported the whole thing for anyone to read.” The problem of course being that she assumes the Times is honest, transparent and lives up to journalistic ideals: that they have included everything from the tape in their print version.

    Unfortunately, as has been proven at this site time and time again, that just isn’t so. But it seems to be the company line and it is what Stanton, Gold, and even poly sci profs will be espousing.

    Dana (658c17)

  9. Perhaps the LATimes is concerned about reactions from, or concerning, other people who are seen on the tape (I assume more than one speech was made and more than one attendee is to be seen on the video).
    That’s a stray idea that has crossed my head, so feel free to ignore it.

    However, the remarks that have been reported, and other similar comments by Obama, don’t sound very different from the public positions of the Israeli moderate Left and what remains of the Israeli peace movement. Therefore, unless the tape shows something on the order of Obama shaking his head approvingly while Khalidi praised the most recent Hamas atrocity, it doesn’t mean much. Any voter who feels that Obama is too weak in his support of Israel will probably be voting for McCain anyway, for other reasons. Any voter who views Obama favorably won’t be upset with him because of this.

    And there is also this
    The IRI gave substantial financial support to Khalidi while McCain was its chairman

    (Linking to Yglesias so you don’t actually have to read it on HuffPo. Yglesias, btw, is at least as proPalestinian as anyone in the Israeli peace movement, so in his eyes giving Khalidi funding would actually be a good thing.)

    And hoping the filtermonster doesn’t eat this…

    kishnevi (c95699)

  10. I respect the point of view that questions the wisdom or propriety of making promises like this in the first place. However, having made the promise, the reporter should keep it and his editors should support him and ignore the pressure from political partisans. Any other course would be dishonorable, plain and simple.

    Tim McGarry (2774d5)

  11. The answer to this is obvious, of course, but does anyone think that if this were a tape that could hurt McCain that it would not be out by now, whatever promises the LAT had made? Somehow someone would have made a copy, which somehow would have found itself on YouTube, all under an LAT Management blind eye. It’s not really about how they do things; it’s that they do them one way for one side and another way for the other.

    Mahon (17f196)

  12. I respect the point of view that questions the wisdom or propriety of making promises like this in the first place. However, having made the promise, the reporter should keep it and his editors should support him and ignore the pressure from political partisans. Any other course would be dishonorable, plain and simple.

    I agree, except:

    There are steps they could take short of releasing the tape, like:

    Releasing a transcript.

    Asking the source again.

    Viewing the tape again and reporting whether Ayers and Dohrn are depicted on the tape.


    What about that, Tim? It seems to me that the paper should be working to make as much information available as possible. Also, they should explain why they didn’t give this explanation right away.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  13. #9 kishnevi:

    That’s a stray idea that has crossed my head, so feel free to ignore it.

    Seems as likely as any other explanation.

    Any voter who feels that Obama is too weak in his support of Israel

    certainly is not going to be surprised by the content of the tape, no matter what it shows…while there are plenty of voters who are just going to hope that Obama will support Israel without any logical basis for that emotion.

    And they won’t be swayed no matter what is on the tape.

    EW1(SG) (a19624)

  14. Next time, and every time, the LA Times argues that private information should be unsealed by a court, government or other source, claiming “the public has a right to know”, this incident should be brought up as a simple refutation.

    The Times is making a stand here that will come back to haunt it. To paraphrase Franklin: “Make your precedents with purpose, not by accident.”

    Kevin (0b2493)

  15. Here’s what I don’t understand: Even if the tape would betray the source (camera position, etc), why would the paper publish some quotes but not the transcript?

    Did the source provide certain quotes, with the tape as backup, saying that the tape was only to prove the quotes and couldn’t otherwise be used? That seems fairly close to letting a source plant a story in the paper, which I’d be shocked if even the LA Times would allow. I’d be shocked (probably more shocked) if the National Enquirer would make such a deal.

    Kevin (0b2493)

  16. Something seems logically wrong about this situation.

    The material on the tape is supposedly damaging to the Obama campaign.

    Someone gave the tape to the LA Times.


    If the intent was to expose the relationship between Obama and Ayers and Khalidi, then why not give a transcript of the tape to a media outlet that isn’t completely in the tank for Obama? The transcript could have been printed, and the tape could have been viewed by selected neutral observers to verify the accuracy of said transcript.

    If the idea was to protect Obama, then why release the tape at all?

    Again, this course of action doesn’t seem to make sense. Seems like a set-up to me.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  17. They could certainly ask the source again, but otherwise stand firm.

    Tim McGarry (2774d5)

  18. What would be wrong with preparing and releasing a transcript, Tim?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  19. kishnevi – Here’s IRI’s reaction to the left’s sliming of it’s operations:

    For Immediate Release
    October 29, 2008

    Washington, DC – “Questions have arisen regarding the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) work with Palestinians in the 1990s.

    “In the 1990s, IRI gave grants to the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies (CPRS) for polling in the West Bank/Gaza. The polls measured support for the peace process, for various Palestinian political groups, and for efforts to enhance governance in the West Bank/Gaza. At that time no other organization could credibly conduct polling in the West Bank/Gaza.

    “We understand that Rashid Khalidi was one of the many founders of CPRS, and we understand that he was for some (unclear) amount of time a board member. IRI did not in the 1990s conduct background checks of grantees’ founders or board members. IRI did on a number of occasions vet CPRS as an organization, including, as was our custom, with the Israeli government, and we were given no cause for concern.

    “We do not recall any contact between Mr. Khalidi and IRI, and there is no evidence that Mr. Khalidi benefited in any way from IRI’s grants.

    “Other organizations that reportedly gave funding to CPRS include the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for International Private Enterprise, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Japanese Embassy, and Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Stiftung.

    “IRI’s relationship with CPRS ended in 2000, and we understand that it no longer exists.”

    daleyrocks (60704b)

  20. It was given to the LA Times when the donor wanted Hillary to beat Obama in California. But they now want to limit its impact.

    Alta Bob (408027)

  21. #10 & 12

    I disagree.

    There is no honor in keeping a promise at the cost of betraying a larger one; namely the one that a newspaper makes to bring timely information to its readers.

    And what could be more important than the question of whether a candidate for the effing Presidency makes common cause with the nation’s foes.

    Kevin (0b2493)

  22. Tim – What if the pixelated everybody but kept the audio intact?

    daleyrocks (60704b)

  23. Living well beats whining every time.

    Looks like Evan forgot his own advise.

    snuffles (677ec2)

  24. Re releasing a transcript without agreement from the source, I think that would violate the spirit of the promise of confidentiality, even if the notion of a transcript didn’t come up in the initial discussion.

    Again, I don’t see anything wrong with the reporter going back to the source to see if there’s been a change of heart (in whole or in part). What’s important is to keep one’s promise — and in a true, not merely technical sense.

    Tim McGarry (2774d5)

  25. If the Times really believes it is in the right, then they should run a small box on Page One, describing the tape, the promises made, and that they are withholding information from you, the reader.

    Kevin (0b2493)

  26. Something seems logically wrong about this situation.
    The material on the tape is supposedly damaging to the Obama campaign.
    Someone gave the tape to the LA Times.

    If the intent was to expose the relationship between Obama and Ayers and Khalidi,…
    If the idea was to protect Obama, then why release the tape at all?
    Again, this course of action doesn’t seem to make sense. Seems like a set-up to me.
    Comment by Apogee — 10/29/2008 @ 8:14 pm

    Could be a set-up. Could be all kinds of things as complicated as the plot of “Three Days of the Condor”.
    Could be that someone on a lower level obtained it, made reference to it, then some one from above said “one more word and you’ll never work as a journalist again, anywhere.”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  27. Daleyrocks, thanks. I found IRI’s statement after commenting here at Jake Tapper’s blog, and was just coming back here to post the link, but you beat me to it.
    But may as well post the link.

    kishnevi (3a3033)

  28. And what could be more important than the question of whether a candidate for the effing Presidency makes common cause with the nation’s foes. Comment by Kevin — 10/29/2008 @ 8:18 pm

    Not an issue if you’re in agreement. The NYT and others have published things that clearly hurt US security and enable the activities of terrorist organizations.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  29. Aargh!
    Daleyrocks beat me to it, but I found the IRI statement on Jake Tapper’s blog after commenting here.
    However, the Filtermonster ate the comment I made a minute ago with the link to Tapper’s post.
    Anyway, thanks Daleyrocks.

    kishnevi (3a3033)

  30. MD in Philly, pop over to attorney and writer for the Jerusalem Post, Debbie Schussel’s. Possible? Plausible? Catch clarification from Gateway Pundit in the comments.

    Dana (658c17)

  31. MD in Philly – then some one from above said “one more word and you’ll never work as a journalist again, anywhere.”

    Yeah, but that’s going to happen anyway judging by current media market share numbers.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  32. I have to say that it is an absolute SHOCKA that Tim McGarry is arguing that this information should be kept from the public.

    As I stated in the prior thread on this, I do not agree with, but can understand shielding the identity of a source of information. What I do not understand is shield that keeps you from the information itself.

    Someone should submit a FOI request to the LA Times, and see how they respond 😉

    JD (5b4781)

  33. Alta Bob has asserted that the tape was meant to help Hillary Clinton, but was buried when Obama won the nomination.

    This would raise some more possibilities:

    a) Hillary Clinton is more of an ally of Palestinians than Obama, as any friend of the Palestinians would want the more favorable candidate in the White House.

    b) The Clinton campaign bribed the sender to produce the information, even though Obama would be friendlier to the Palestinian radical groups. (Although it would be preferable for Hillary to mount a challenge to McCain in 2012. Were Obama to win, the next opportunity would be 2016)

    c) Both Hillary and Obama are for sale, and the tape sender didn’t care which puppet ran for President, and was just making a profit.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  34. Don’t forget what this is about.

    Obama has been selling himself to America based on a long series of rewriting his history. Obama has completely erased just about everything he’s said or done going back to just a few years ago.

    He’s repeatedly reassured pro-Israel Democrats – which turned into yet another of his foreign policy gaffes in fact over the status of Jerusalem.

    But this tape establishes something we’ve repeatedly said to Obama’s denials, that he is in fact the close friend of radicals who oppose long standing centrist American policies. And close friends with terrorists, domestic, and terrorist spokesmen.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. Watch the LA Times release the tape after the election to great fanfare and self-congratulation.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  36. SPQR – I predicted that they will release it on the day before Christmas Eve, after the work day has ended in the Midwest.

    JD (5b4781)

  37. When unsubstantiated hurtful evidence about Schwartzeneggar was available they published it days before his election.
    When an actual videotape presumably showing Obama in a bad light is available they suppress it.
    I always enjoy Patterico’s year-end review of the fish wrap as it gives more good examples, but it is just so frustrating the suppression of information hurtful to Democrats and the enthusiasm publishing information hurtful to Republicans.
    I thought the media says “Information wants to be free!” Well it does as long as it is about made up affairs by McCain or rumors about Schwartzeneggar. Information bad for Dems? Doesn’t want to be free so much. Maybe just wants to lounge around the house. Have a nice scotch.

    Keith B (74df54)

  38. Well said, Keith.

    JD (5b4781)

  39. While Obama and Ayers were on its Board of Directors the Woods Fund granted $40,000 in 2001 and $35,000 in 2002 to the Arab American Action Network (AAAN).

    Rashid Khalidi co-founded the AAAN, and his wife serves as its president. The vice president of AAAN is Ali Abunimah, a founder of the Electronic Intifada, an anti-Israel propaganda website.

    Unlike the Weather Underground, these organizations appear to be legitimate advocacy organizations. Khalidi, however, is reported to have fronted for the Palestine Liberation Organization during a time when when it was labeled a terror group by the US State Department, which would make him the second terrorist among Obama’s former associates.

    Aldo (121b3f)

  40. Very easy answer.

    Have President Bush classify the tape as ‘Top Secret’. Then, the LA Pravda Times can leak the tape as a public service.

    “Journalism” as usual; a win-win.

    La Mano (fcd61d)

  41. La Mano,

    LOL! In humor there is truth.

    RickZ (06fa85)

  42. I would also point out that the LA Times has never respected anybody else’s promise to keep something secret, so I don’t see why we should respect their promise, regardless of whether we agree with its sanctity in the abstract. The Times, like other MSM outlets, is perfectly happy to have people break confidentiality agreements, even laws protecting the disclosure of certain information. When hint of something untoward arises, I’m quite certain they have used strong reporting tactics and media pressure in an attempt to force the release of previously secret information in violation of laws and privacy agreements. They certainly believe that no government document should ever really be secret.

    So it’s fine with me for them to be on the receiving end of the “transparency” pressure, regardless of their promise to the source. They don’t respect other’s privacy and commitments, so why should we respect theirs?

    PatHMV (a00c3c)

  43. I don’t find the alleged toast quotes at Doug Ross’ Directorblue to be beyond the pale for Obama. He has often weighed in with his version of scriptural sense. When he opined that “America is no longer a Christian nation”, he did it in a matter of fact recitation with no sense of remorse. If he feels that Israel’s claim of inheritence in that land is mythology, I am sure he would feel no compunction to censor that opinion – save for a campaign that needed the votes of the Jewish community.

    rhodeymark (1aaf2a)

  44. Just sayin’……………

    My money is on this being correct

    i like america (d2f951)

  45. Tim McGarry – “Re releasing a transcript without agreement from the source…”

    Great, the US Government asks them not to publish something, but they do anyway – but that’s OK – because ‘the truth needs come out’.

    Here, not so much.

    I spit on them.

    MikeH (e9e89c)

  46. We CAN get that tape but it will take us all. . .

    I don’t know if there’s anything on that tape or not. I do know that we have a RIGHT to find out. Since the LA Times refuses to release it, we have little option but to force them to do so.

    If you live in LA or subscribe to the LA Times, I strongly encourage you to:

    a.) Cancel you subscription — TODAY!
    b.) Make sure the newspaper knows why you cancelled.
    c.) Grab a copy of the paper and make sure that their advertisers, especially the big ones, know that you’ve cancelled and why.
    d.) Make sure the newspaper knows you’re talking to their advertisers.
    e.) If you can spare some time, picket/protest the LA Times offices.
    f.) Encourage your friends, neighbors, coworkers, family, etc. to do the same.
    g.) Copy this message to every BLOG you visit.

    If we hit them hard enough on their bottom line, they WILL release the tape.

    Paul Smith (668447)

  47. Which site’s talking points is it that james haddon spews here?

    JD (5b4781)

  48. It smells fishy that a source would hand over such a tape under the condition it not be released. That makes no sense at all. If Obama is such a great guy, what are they afraid of on that tape? Surely Obama has nothing to hide, or does he?

    Stan (7cfd24)

  49. LGF – says now that releasing the tape would put the “source in jeopardy”

    I don’t doubt that, given what the nut-roots and terrorists who find out who derailed the Nirvana train are likely to do, but…

    Jeopardizing a US Government Program to monitor terrorist activities – “Hell yes, we’d do it again.”

    Jeopardizing the Obama Gravy Train – “No, No, No, No, No, No!!”

    MikeH (e9e89c)

  50. LGF – says now that (the LA Times says that) releasing the tape…

    MikeH (e9e89c)

  51. Maybe an effective tactic with the circulation-dropping LAT would be to bombard them with promises to subscribe for a year if they DID release the tape.

    jim2 (667b24)

  52. The LA Times is actually running a special promotion in an effort to increase advertising and readership. For every Obama vote, you receive a Times umbrella, an American flag (that will soon be obsolete) and a refrigerator magnet that says “I drank the kool-aid and everything’s fine!” Obama and his leftist illuminati platform will give the Times plenty of interesting topics to write about in the coming months.

    Jeff (7ff0a7)

  53. Mr. James Haddon,
    I am responding to your comment #47. I am a staff worker with the Jews for Jesus organization. Most blogs and news services have quoted the same one paragraph of the message that David Brickner of Jews for Jesus delivered at Sarah Palin’s church, giving the false impression that he believes that terrorist attacks are God’s judgment on Israel for not believing in Jesus. Although the Politico article you posted quotes that same paragraph, at least it includes a link to the transcript of Brickner’s actual message, so that you can read his remarks in context. You can also read or listen to that message at Please also take a look at Brickner’s comments concerning his message at Wasilla Bible Church, as well as interviews by Christianity Today and MSNBC with Brickner about this issue, at Among other things, Brickner says, “The comments attributed to me were taken out of context. In retrospect, I can see how my rhetoric might be misunderstood and I truly regret that. Let me be clear. I don’t believe that any one event, whether a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, is a specific fulfillment of or manifestation of a biblical prediction of judgment. I love my Jewish people and the land of Israel. I stand with and support her against all efforts to harm her or her people in any way.”

    Matt Sieger (afef03)

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