Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sylvia Smith Says Liberal Bloggers Did Sinclair A Favor

Sylvia Smith, Washington correspondent for the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and president of the National Press Club, used a recent column to defend the NPC's decision to allow Larry Sinclair to rent NPC space for a press conference at which he detailed his sex and drug allegations against Sen. Barack Obama. Smith blasted liberal bloggers for their disregard of the First Amendment:

After a week of relentless e-mails and phone calls from people who were outraged at the prospect of a guy scheduling a press conference to make allegations about Barack Obama, I’m not sure extreme CPR could resuscitate the idea of free speech in some Americans’ minds.

The message they sent was that the guy is a crackpot and a felon and therefore should be prevented from speaking . . .

Hundreds of phone calls and e-mails poured in to my NPC office from people who saw Sinclair’s rental agreement as evidence that the national media condoned his allegations.

Had Sinclair paid a PR firm $150,000, he wouldn’t have gotten nearly this much attention.

“It’s dumbfounding,” one caller said about the idea that the NPC would allow someone “to make an outlandish statement.”

I don’t for a minute think the people who called shouldn’t have. But I was astounded at the conviction the callers expressed that someone who has something nasty to say should be silenced.

The First Amendment was created to prevent the government from butting into Americans’ ability to have an uninhibited, robust and wide-open debate about the nooks and crannies of society. It doesn’t give individual people the right to say anything about anybody. There are laws against slander, after all. But the underlying notion is that people can speak their minds and that sunshine is the best disinfectant.

So all the protesting of Sinclair's right to free speech by the liberal bloggers totally backfired and actually brought more attention to him than if he paid a PR firm $150,000 to get his story out Smith tells us. Meanwhile, I doubt Sinclair feels the same way about the liberal bloggers doing him a big favor. Sinclair, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant for his arrest in the state of Delaware immediately following the press conference last week, has been freed from jail, at least for now. Sinclair laments the fact that he was held in a D.C. jail for four straight days and denied access to his prescription drugs and medical treatment while awaiting an opportunity to learn what the Delaware charges were all about. After being picked up by Delaware police on Monday and taken before a judge there, Sinclair still doesn't know what the charges are all about. Sinclair explains why he believes he was improperly taken into custody and held for this extended period:

I was ordered held for Delaware which I waived extradition, and I was held in the DC Jail [from 6-19-08 until approximately 10:30am Monday June 23, 2008] and deny access to phone, medication, and medical treatment. When picked up on Monday June 23, 2008 by Delaware officials, I asked why there would be a “Fugitive from Justice” warrant for my arrest. I was informed that there was no such warrant issued by Delaware, but that in fact DC had made that charge against me in order for them to arrest me on the “Rule 9″ warrant that was pending from a Delaware “SEALED” Grand Jury warrant. I was told that what DC should have done was advise me to report to Delaware. This rule 9 warrant was explained to me as being nothing that anyone could call me a “Fugitive from Justice” on because I had never been served the notice, taken into custody or formally charged on as yet.

Upon my return to Delaware, I appeared before a Superior Court Judge at 2:30 pm at which time I was released on PR bond and released. I will say that the charge is questionable at best and after speaking with my Attorney I will allow him/her decide what can and cannot be posted here.

Perhaps more troubling is a claim by Sinclair that federal agents had identified a D.C. man who threatened to kill him, his attorney and his mother but told Sinclair no charges would be brought against the man and declined to identify the man to Sinclair. Bloggers who support Sinclair are already raising questions about the role of Delaware Attorney General Joe Biden, III in what they believe to be trumped up charges against Sinclair. He is the son of Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). As I reported earlier, two pro-Obama bloggers in Paris, France took credit for contacting the officials in Delaware and D.C. to arrange for Sinclair's arrest last week.


Fen said...

This is not a free speech issue. Period. This is about the NPC cashing a check from someone without the slightest credibility to smear a sitting Senator without any evidence to corroborate his claims. And doing it from the previously credible National Press Club.

This is about giving a lunatic a podium and the NPC as a backdrop for him to make his completely false claims.

This is about the NPC not caring about his credentials or his facts, just his money. This is about selling out your objectivity for a pittance.

And, as a professional flack, there is such a thing as bad publicity. Sinclair got arrested because of it and his "message" was washed away in the flood of free speech opposing him.

Mann Law, P.C. said...

erik did you protest when the media spread the supposed affair about McCain and the lady lobbiest? Doubt it. Not one shred of evidence supporting it.

Chris Worden said...

Sinclair had a warrant for his arrest out of Colorado. I saw the warrant on a website. That's why he's a "fugitive" - because he "fled" the jurisdiction.