A photo has emerged showing former President Barack Obama, then a U.S. Senator, posing with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the black nationalist Nation of Islam. Obama and the anti-white, anti-Semitic demagogue are beaming at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting in 2005. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls his organization a hate-group, but then they call a lot of organizations hate groups. I’d call the Nation of Islam a racist group that peddles hate.
Journalist Askia Muhammed, who took the photo, is publishing it in a new book called “The Autobiography of Charles 67X.” He says that after the event, the Congressional Black Caucus contacted him and demanded to have the disk. “I gave the original disk to him and in a sense swore myself to secrecy because I had quietly made a copy for myself,” Muhammad told Fox News, adding that the CBC was concerned that a photo with Farrakhan could hurt the Obama’s Presidential prospects.
The conservative news media is writing about this, while the mainstream news media, with a few exceptions like the New Yorker, is ignoring it. Writes Vinson Cunningham, in that publication,
“[Askia] Muhammad, that anonymous C.B.C. functionary, and Farrakhan, with that faux-harmless smile, all knew it: if that picture spreads in 2007 or 2008, a whole different history ensues.”
If that’s true, then the fact that the photo was buried is news, right? But is that true? Why should it be true? Why would such a photograph mean anything at all?
I would like to see the news media deal with the episode if only to have some consensus develop about the wrongfulness of exploiting “gotcha” photographs like this. Photos of Trump and Putin have been routinely used as visual innuendo. Photos of Hillary Clinton with Harvey Weinstein have also been shown to suggest that “she knew.” There are too many examples to mention. Are elected officials and politicians now expected to refuse to take a picture with someone who has unsavory opinions, followers or positions? Does a photo-op signify endorsement or approval?
Some people seem to think so. Alan Dershowitz told Fox he would not have campaigned for Obama if he had seen the photo with Farrakhan, whom he called “virulent anti-Semite and anti-American.” The professor is right about that, but what does it have to do with a single photograph?
This seems bizarre and unfair, as does The Daily Caller’s final statement in its “bombshell report” about the photo. “The new photo shows Obama was closer to Farrakhan than he let on,” writes Peter Hasson. What? That’s ridiculous. It proves nothing of the kind. All it proves is that someone said, “Hey, Senator, give us s photo!” and Obama complied. Dershowitz is letting his emotions eat his brain, and the “gotcha!” game of using photographs for guilt-by-association character assassination is both unethical and dumb.
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