A Minnesota man named Larry Sinclair has been going around the country spreading unfounded rumors about Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Among other claims, he alleges that he and Obama used cocaine together and participated in homosexual acts in 1999. Sinclair’s claims are completely without any merit. He even took — and failed — a polygraph test.
Nevertheless, Sinclair will be speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on June 18. Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake has pointed out that an event such as Sinclair’s is in keeping with neither the NPC’s purpose nor its ethics:
Purpose: “The Club shall provide people who gather and disseminate news a center for the advancement of their professional standards and skills, the promotion of free expression, mutual support and social fellowship.”
Ethics: “I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.”
NPC president Sylvia Smith has defended the event, stating, “I’m not aware that we’ve ever turned anybody away for content.” But might the NPC be getting nervous about lending its “sheen of legitimacy” to Sinclair? The official NPC calendar used to promote the event as the “truth” about Obama:
This description has now been changed to simply read, “Larry Sinclair on Barack Obama.” It is unclear whether this description was changed by the NPC or the Sinclair organizers. An employee at the NPC told ThinkProgress that she was unaware who changed this particular description, but that generally, they are changed only at the request of the organizers.
Firedoglake is circulating a petition — which so far has more than 7,000 signatures — asking the NPC to cancel the event.