Now they tell us. More than a year after President Obama left office, a journalist is finally revealing a photograph he deliberately hid from the American public for well over a decade, for the explicit purpose of shielding Obama from political backlash. Talking Points Memo has the details, including the story of a ‘panicked’ phone call placed by a Congressional Black Caucus representative, who was desperate to prevent the photo from going public:
A journalist announced last week that he will publish a photograph of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that he took in 2005 at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, but did not make public because he believed it would have “made a difference” to Obama’s political future. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he “gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy.” “But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover,” Muhammad said. Asked whether he thought the photo’s release would have affected Obama’s presidential campaign, Muhammad said, “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.” Reached by TPM on Thursday, Muhammad said a “staff member” for the CBC contacted him “sort of in a panic” after he took the photo at a caucus meeting in 2005.
Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was dogged by criticism of his radical associations — ranging from a crackpot anti-American preacher whose church Obama attended for decades, to an unrepentant domestic terrorist at whose home Obama launched his political career, to a convicted felon and slum lord with whom Obama engaged in shady business dealings, to a longtime spokesman for the PLO terrorist Yassir Arafat (a video tape of Obama and Rashid Khalidi together at a party was suppressed by the Los Angeles Times, and has never been released). A picture of Obama smiling widely alongside avowed racist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan would have been yet another major headache for his campaign, and very well could have hampered Obama’s trajectory toward his once-improbable primary upset over Hillary Clinton. It may have caused agita among more general election voters who were contemplating whether to entrust their vote to an unknown political newcomer. So the picture never saw the light of day. More specifics from TPM:
Muhammad said he gave away “the disk” from his camera but “copied the photograph from that day onto a file” on his computer. “Realizing that I had given it up, I mean, it was sort of like a promise to keep the photograph secret,” Muhammad said…Muhammad said he thought the photograph would be “damaging politically” if it were released and was afraid that someone might “break into his apartment” looking for it, like “that Watergate crap.” He said he “felt a little bit more at ease” after Farrakhan in 2016 claimed that Obama visited his home in Chicago…Muhammad also told TPM that around the time he took the photo, he asked Obama about a perceived resemblance to Farrakhan. “I asked the senator, ‘Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Minister Farrakhan?’” Muhammad said. “And he said what I thought was the perfect answer: ‘Well, he’s much better looking than I am.’”
Read more at Townhall.