Monday, March 24, 2008

New Anti-Obama Smears Published In Tabloids Owned By Staunch Clintonista


Lurid Stories Claiming Obama Ties to Murder of His Chicago Church's Choir Director and Gay Sex With a Convicted Criminal are Published in Scandal Rags Controlled by a Former Deputy Treasury Secretary in Bill Clinton's Administration Who's also a Top Economic Advisor to Hillary Clinton




Senator Barack Obama acknowledging the cheers of delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. The front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination has become the target of a new slew of smear stories by the National Enquirer and its sister tabloid, Globe. Both ran articles in their March 17 editions claiming that Obama had something to do with the December murder of the choir director at his Chicago church -- allegedly to cover up a gay sexual relationship between the Illinois senator and a man with a criminal record for check fraud and other crimes. Both tabloids -- along with the National Examiner -- are owned by a company controlled by Roger Altman, a former official in the administration of President Bill Clinton and a key economic adviser to the presidential campaign of Obama's chief rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Associated Press File Photo)


(Readers' Feedback follows)

By Skeeter Sanders


Conservative blogger and commentator Matt Drudge is credited for triggering controversy in February by posting on his DrudgeReport.com Web site a photograph of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dressed in traditional Somali clothing while on a 2006 visit to his father's homeland in Kenya.

But the photo was first published last May by Globe, a scandal-mongering celebrity gossip tabloid, then re-published the following September in its sister tabloid, the National Examiner.

Along with the photograph, Globe published false claims that the Illinois senator is a Muslim, when, in fact, he is a Christian. The tabloid also tried to make hey with Obama's own admission in his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, that he used marijuana while a teenager in his native Hawaii.

Tabloid Stories May Be Politically Motivated

But the tabloid attempts to smear Obama didn't stop there. Since then, Globe ran a story in which a Minnesota man claims that he had a gay sexual relationship with Obama in 1999 and that the Illinois senator smoked crack cocaine.

At the same time, another of Globe's sister tabloids, the National Enquirer, claimed that, among other things, "Obama's amazing appeal to woman has ignited shouting matches" between the senator and his wife, Michelle.

Much more seriously, the Enquirer -- citing "a top Chicago private investigator" whom the tabloid didn't name -- insinuated that Obama had something to do with the murder last December of the choir director of Obama's church in Chicago.

Supporters of the Illinois senator are convinced that the articles are politically motivated, but don't know who's behind them. But an examination of the tabloids' ownership yields one very interesting finding.

It turns out that American Media Inc., the parent company of the Enquirer, Globe and the Examiner, is, in turn, controlled by Evercore Partners, whose founder, chairman, co-CEO and principal owner is Roger Altman, a prominent New York investment banker.

Altman is also a former deputy treasury secretary in the administration of President Bill Clinton -- and a key economic advisor of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House.

Enquirer Claims Obama Behind Murder of Gay Choir Director of His Church

The Enquirer, in dramatic fashion, published a story in its March 17 issue claiming that Obama may have had something to do with the murder last December of Donald Young, the choir director at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, to which Obama has been a member for more than 20 years.

Yes, it's the same church whose former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made headlines with his inflammatory sermons -- a controversy that threatened to derail Obama's campaign and forced the Illinois senator to confront the race issue head-on in a powerful speech last Tuesday that evoked memories of John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech on the controversy over his Roman Catholic faith.

The 47-year-old Young was found dead in his South Side apartment two days before Christmas, the victim of multiple gunshot wounds. A spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner's office would say only that Young's death was ruled a homicide and that Chicago police were investigating the incident.

The murder of Young, who was openly gay, led to fears in Chicago's gay community that his death was an anti-gay hate crime. But the Enquirer, citing "a top Chicago private investigator" that the tabloid refused to identify, claimed that Young "was silenced" because of something he knew about Obama.

That something, the tabloid claims, were "rumors about Barack's personal life and his sexuality."

Minnesota Man Claims Having Gay Sex With Obama -- But Flunks Polygraph Test

In its own March 17 edition, the Enquirer's sister tabloid Globe ran a story claiming that a Minnesota man it identified as Larry Sinclair said he had a gay sexual encounter with the Illinois senator in 1999 and that Obama "smoked crack cocaine in front of him."

But Sinclair's credibility is highly suspect. He is a convicted felon who's spent time in prison in Florida and Colorado for credit card theft, forgery and check fraud, according to records filed in federal court. While in prison, Sinclair was disciplined nearly 100 times for infractions ranging from verbal abuse to drug possession to assault, the records show.

Not only has Sinclair not come forward with any hard evidence to back up his claims, he also flunked a polygraph test. The independent Web site WhiteHouse.com reportedly offered Sinclair $10,000 in February to take a polygraph test about his claims against Obama.

According to the site, Sinclair accepted the offer and was asked two questions: Did Sinclair have sex with the Illinois senator? Did he witness Obama smoke crack cocaine? Both times, Sinclair answered "yes" -- but both times, the polygraph detected that he wasn't telling the truth.

"There was deception indicated in both tests," WhiteHouse.com reported on February 24, further casting doubt on the veracity of Sinclair's claims.

Young Wasn't Only Victim; Two Other Black Gay Chicago Men Murdered

The credibility of the Enquirer's claim that Obama had anything to do with Young's murder is also now highly suspect.

The 'Skeeter Bites Report has learned that Young wasn't the only openly gay African American man in Chicago to be murdered in recent months. On November 17 last year, 24-year-old Larry Bland was shot to death in his Chicago home. His family has voiced concern that Bland was possibly targeted because he, too, was openly gay.

Young's murder also came nearly a year after a third gay African American man was shot to death on New Year's Eve 2006 -- raising fears among activists in Chicago's African American gay community of a pattern of violence against black gay men in Chicago's South Side -- possibly by a serial killer.

Critical Caucus, a coalition of local African American gay organizations such as the Coalition for Justice and Respect, as well as black gay event planners and businesses, held a press conference at Chicago City Hall on December 27 to issue a community alert in response to Young's murder.

“We are calling on the police department to let the community know what's going on,” Mark Loveless, a spokesman for the Coalition for Justice and Respect, was quoted as saying by the Chicago gay newspaper, the Windy City Times. “We are here because we are scared.” He and others feel that the city and police haven't adequately responded to the killings.

Although police said they have no information linking the three cases, which are still under investigation, they could not rule out the possibility that they were motivated by either racial or anti-gay prejudice. Nor could they rule out the possibility that the murders could be the work of a serial killer.

Who's REALLY In Charge of Altman's Tabloids?

Why would the editors of the Enquirer, Globe, Examiner and other Altman-controlled tabloids publish these wild allegations about Obama without a shred of evidence to back them up -- and knowing full well of their boss' ties to the Clinton campaign?

Richard Valvo, a spokesman for America Media Inc., insisted that Altman has "no involvement in editorial, ever" and said that Evercore owns 20 percent of AMI through an investment fund.

In fact, however, Evercore bought a controlling interest in American Media in 1999. Evercore's president and co-CEO, Austin Beutner, sits on American Media's board of directors, according to Evercore's Web site.

Altman declined to be interviewed for this article.

Altman Is No Stranger to Scandal -- Remember Whitewater?

Altman himself is no stranger to scandal. He resigned as deputy treasury secretary in 1994 amidst the Whitewater controversy over the real estate dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim and Susan McDougal in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Altman decided to step down following revelations that he tipped the Clinton White House off to criminal referrals made by federal investigators related to the now-defunct Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, which the McDougals owned.

A college friend of Bill Clinton's, Altman angered both Republican and Democratic senators after giving conflicting testimony about contacts between the Clinton White House and the Treasury Department.

Altman is also the vice chairman of The Blackstone Group, a private investment banking firm and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a liberal foreign-policy think tank.

Obama Not Only Target of Tabloid Smears; Edwards Hit, Too

Altman's Enquirer also published a story late last year that another Clinton rival for the Democratic presidential nomination -- former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina -- allegedly had an extramarital affair, a claim that Edwards denounced as "totally false."

The Enquirer, as it often does in its celebrity gossip stories, cited anonymous e-mails from the unnamed woman allegedly involved with Edwards, sent to yet another unnamed source.

The Edwards campaign was allegedly concerned about its relationship with a filmmaker, Rielle Hunter, who had shot web videos for Edwards, according to the political Web site HuffingtonPost.com. The stories stopped short of directly suggesting the candidate had a relationship with her. But that didin't stop Hunter from issuing a strongly-worded denial.

"The innuendoes and lies that have appeared on the Internet and in the National Enquirer concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous," she said. "When working for the Edwards camp, my conduct as well as the conduct of my entire team was completely professional. This concocted story is just dirty politics and I want no part of it."

To be fair, the Altman-controlled tabloids have also published some lurid stories about the Clintons. But the Obama smears, in the opinion of this blogger, reek with the stench of bias. And the fact that these tabloids are owned and controlled by a man who is a key member of the Clinton campaign makes these smears smell all the more rotten.

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READERS' FEEDBACK

From: Eric Oriol

The longer the Democratic primary race drags on, the more I'm convinced that the line dividing the Democrats and the Republicans is getting thinner and thinner. One needs to remember that there was a treaty signed by both parties right after the Civil War that they were never to fight each other again over black people.

Hillary Clinton has already endorsed John McCain over Barack Obama -- which, in my opinion, was an unbelievable and dastardly act. Yet even Obama acted as if it meant nothing. At times I'm reminded of a wrestling match where you have the feeling that it is fixed but no idea as to which round it is going to end....

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Volume III, Number 22
Copyright 2008, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.






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