There is a very timely post at KPBS.org which asks the question “when do political attacks become libelous?”
Before I get into the essence of the article, I call it timely because just yesterday, I added an additional page on this blog on which I re-published a review of Larry Sinclair’s book Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex Lies & Murder?
For those who do not know about Larry Sinclair, there is much written on the internet, pro and con. Rather than give my personal view of the man, I suggest those not familiar with Sinclair research his name.
The problem with Larry Sinclair’s declaration that Barack Obama had homosexual sex and did drugs with Sinclair, as well as having some part in the murder of a gay choir director who attended the same church that Obama attended at the time is this: Sinclair has not produced one iota of evidence that such events occured. Back to the KPBS article.
Here is an exerpt of the conversation about Sinclair’s book and libel:
Cavanaugh, and you’re listening to These Days on KPBS. Which of these words do not belong together: murder, cocaine, sex, the White House? If you said the White House, then you have not read the new book by Barack Obama-nemesis, Larry Sinclair. The book expands on some of the most scandalous claims made by Sinclair during last year’s presidential race. For awhile, the Obama campaign debunked each allegation of homosexual activity, drug use and murder made by Sinclair, but then decided not to acknowledge the unsubstantiated claims at all. Now that Sinclair has published a book filled with allegations against the president of extramarital sex and illegal activity, including the murder of a former lover, it got KPBS political correspondent Gloria Penner wondering just how far can an author go in writing a defamatory book? If the accusations are not true, can the president sue? And when do statements made about public figures become libelous? Gloria is here now with the answers. Good morning, Gloria.GLORIA PENNER (KPBS Political Correspondent): Oh, good morning, Maureen. What an interesting subject we have.
CAVANAUGH: Well, tell us a little bit more about these accusations made in this book by Larry Sinclair. Is there a storyline? Does he have a whole tale to tell?
PENNER: Not really. I mean, there’s no storyline. It’s simply a chronology of what he considers charges against Obama and these include, as you said, that he used and sold cocaine, that he engaged in homosexual affairs, and he played a role in the December 2007 murder of his alleged former lover, Donald Young, the choir director of Obama’s Chicago church, just days before the 2008 Iowa caucus. So, I mean, if we would think of a storyline it would really be the storyline leading up to the election of the president. He explains how the Obama campaign, David Axelrod, for example, and Obama himself used David Young to contact and seek out information from Sinclair, who he had told of Obama’s crimes and actions. But interestingly enough, he also charges that Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who is the Delaware Attorney General, issued an arrest warrant on fabricated charges in an attempt to discredit Sinclair’s national press club news conference, which Sinclair arranged and never took place.
There is much more to this interview, and I suggest that everyone read it in its entirety, here.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have read the book and Ms. Penner’s account is not entirely accurate. The choir director’s name was Donald Young.