In a November 5 post on his campaign news website The Page, Time magazine editor-at-large and senior political analyst Mark Halperin claimed that a Chicago Sun-Times column raising questions about the transparency of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) presidential bid was the product of opposition research provided by the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).
But the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, who wrote the column, denies the allegation. "I didn't use anything in that column that came from the Clinton campaign," Sweet confirmed in an email to Media Matters for America. According to Sweet, Halperin never contacted her before he posted his claim that her column was based on Clinton campaign opposition research coming in over the "transom."
Under the headline "Speculation About Clinton Fallout from Debate Continues," Halperin wrote, "Clinton campaign throws opposition research on Obama's 'secrecy' over Chicago Sun Times transom," and linked to Sweet's November 5 column, headlined "Living in a glass house: Obama's push for Clinton to disclose her first lady papers raises questions about his own transparency."
The clear implication from Halperin's headline and link was that the Clinton campaign provided Sweet with research material and she simply typed it up as a column. Not true, says Sweet: "The column was the result of string I had been gathering for a long time." She noted, "The trigger for the column was Obama's stepped-up talk of transparency" on the campaign trail. Sweet has been covering the Obama campaign since its inception last winter and has previously written about the issue of campaign transparency.
Also, despite the fact that The Page's headline placed the word "secrecy" in quotation marks, suggesting that the Sun-Times column was an attack on Obama's "secrecy," Sweet never accused Obama of "secrecy"; rather, while crediting Obama's efforts to increase the transparency of governmental affairs and campaigns, Sweet wrote that "[o]n other fronts, the Obama transparency record is lacking."