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Stanley Kurtz On NYT’s Ayers Whitewash

Given the interest in the New York Times latest efforts to explain away Mr. Obama’s past, we thought it might be informative to post this excellent rebuttal from (the great) Stanley Kurtz, via National Review:

NYT’s Ayers-Obama Whitewash

As others have noted, today’s New York Times carries a story on the relationship between Barack Obama and unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist, Bill Ayers. The piece serves as a platform for the Obama campaign and Obama’s friends and allies. Obama’s spokesman and supporters’ names are named and their versions of events are presented in detail, with quotes. Yet the article makes no serious attempt to present the views of Obama critics who have worked to uncover the true nature of the relationship. That makes this piece irresponsible journalism, and an obvious effort by the former paper of record to protect Obama from the coming McCain onslaught.

The title of the article when it first appeared on the web last night was, “Obama Had Met Ayers, but the Two Are Not Close.” That was quickly changed to, “Obama and the ‘60’s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths.” Perhaps the first headline made the paper’s agenda a bit too obvious. Even so, the new title simply parrots the line of Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt that the two first met through an early “education project” and since have simply “encountered each other occasionally in public life or in the neighborhood.” Or, as New York Times reporter Scott Shane puts it at the head of his article, since an initial lunchtime meeting in 1995, “their paths have crossed sporadically…at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama’s first run for office, on the schools project (i.e. the Chicago Annenberg Challenge) and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.”

There is nothing “sporadic” about Barack Obama delivering hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of many years to fund Bill Ayers’ radical education projects, not to mention many millions more to benefit Ayers’ radical education allies. We are talking about a substantial and lengthy working relationship here, one that does not depend on the quality of personal friendship or number of hours spent in the same room together (although the article greatly underestimates that as well).

Shane’s article buys the spin on Ayers’ supposed rehabilitation offered by the Obama campaign and Ayers’ supporters in Chicago. In this view, whatever Ayers did in the 1960’s has somehow been redeemed by Ayers’ later turn to education work. As the Times quotes Mayor Daley saying, “People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life.” The trouble with this is that Ayers doesn’t view his terrorism as a mistake. How can he be forgiven when he’s not repentant? Nor does Ayers see his education work as a repudiation of his early radicalism. On the contrary, Ayers sees his education work as carrying on his radicalism in a new guise. The point of Ayers’ education theory is that the United States is a fundamentally racist and oppressive nation. Students, Ayers believes, ought to be encouraged to resist this oppression. Obama was funding Ayers’ “small schools” project, built around this philosophy. Ayers’ radicalism isn’t something in the past. It’s something to which Obama gave moral and financial support as an adult. So when Shane says that Obama has never expressed sympathy for Ayers’ radicalism, he’s flat wrong. Obama’s funded it.

Obama was perfectly aware of Ayers’ radical views, since he read and publically endorsed, without qualification, Ayers’ book on juvenile crime. That book is quite radical, expressing doubts about whether we ought to have a prison system at all, comparing America to South Africa’s apartheid system, and contemptuously dismissing the idea of the United States as a kind or just country. Shane mentions the book endorsement, yet says nothing about the book’s actual content. Nor does Shane mention the panel about Ayers’ book, on which Obama spoke as part of a joint Ayers-Obama effort to sink the 1998 Illinois juvenile crime bill. Again, we have unmistakable evidence of a substantial political working relationship. (I’ve described it in detail here in “Barack Obama’s Lost Years.”

The Times article purports to resolve the matter of Ayers’ possible involvement in Obama’s choice to head the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, yet in no way does so. Clearly, the article sides with those who claim that Ayers was not involved. Yet the piece has no credibility because it simply refuses to present the arguments of those who say that Ayers almost surely had a significant role in Obama’s final choice.

Steve Diamond has made a powerful case that, whoever first suggested Obama’s name, Ayers must surely have had a major role in his final selection. Diamond has now revealed that the Times consulted him extensively for this article and has seen his important documentary evidence. Yet we get no inkling in the piece of Diamond’s key points, or the documents that back it up. (I’ve made a similar argument myself, based largely on my viewing of many of the same documents presented by Diamond.) How can an article that gives only one side of the story be fair? Instead of offering both sides of the argument and letting readers decide, the Times simply spoon-feeds its readers the Obama camp line.

The Times also ignores the fact that I’ve published a detailed statement from the Obama camp on the relationship between Ayers and Obama at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. (See “Obama’s Challenge.”) Maybe that’s because attention to that statement would force them to acknowledge and report on my detailed reply.

Shane’s story also omits any mention of the fact that access to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records was blocked. What’s more, thanks to a University of Chicago law student’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, we now know that access to the documents was blocked by an old Obama associate, Ken Rolling, on the day I first tried to see them. And as a result of my own FOIA, we also have evidence that Rolling may have been less than fully forthcoming on the question of Ayers’ possible role in elevating Obama to board chair at Anneberg. In fact, Rolling seems to have been withholding information from a New York Times reporter. I’ve made this material public in a piece called, “Founding Brothers.” How could a responsible article on the topic of Obama, Ayers, and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge ignore the story of the blocked library access and the results of the two FOIA requests? How could a responsible paper fail to aggressively follow up on the questions raised by those requests, and by the documents and analysis presented by Steve Diamond?

Most remarkably of all, Shane seems to paper over the results of his own questioning. On the one hand, toward the end of the piece we read: “Since 2002, there is little public evidence of their relationship.” And it’s no wonder, says Shane, since Ayers was caught expressing no regret for his own past terrorism in an article published on September 11, 2001. Yet earlier in Shane’s article we learn that, according to Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt, Obama and Ayers “have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005.” Very interesting. Obama’s own spokesman has just left open the possibility that there has indeed been phone and e-mail contact between the two men between 2002 and 2004, well after Ayers’ infamous conduct on 9/11. Yet instead of pursuing this opening, Shane ignores the findings of his own investigation and covers for Obama.

The New York Times in the tank for Obama? You bet. And sinking deeper every day.

It seems like only yesterday that The Times were trying to do a similar whitewash on the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright, Jr.

(Thanks to Lucianne for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, October 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Stanley Kurtz On NYT’s Ayers Whitewash”

  1. gipper says:

    From the New York Times:

    Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths

    …A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close…


  2. Right2thepoint says:

    Funny this is the same NYT that seems to have less than zero curiosity about just what did Obama do while in their own fair city.

    There he was for multiple years litterally nearly under their feet and yet they choose not to do any stories on the years Obama was there.

    When Obama was going to Columbia he lived 1/4 mile from Bill Ayers

    When Obama was going to Columbia Ayers was going to Banks College all of 4 blocks away.

    After Banks Ayers taught at Columbia.

    Obama spent additional years working and then doing community organizing in NYC but it is of zero interest to the NYT.

    Ayers spent years there and also he is of zero interest as a potential player here and his NYC days are of no concern to them.

    A man is making a historical run for the highest office in our country and the NYT doesn’t even want to do a fluff piece on his years spent in their own town.

    Odd isn’t it.

  3. 1sttofight says:

    I still say let the Barracuda debate The Messiah.

    BTW, Is that a lesbian couple in the picture?

  4. Rmy-mac-was-here says:

    Can’t let that happen 1st, People would start comparing her and his Executive experience again. That is sort of embarassing for him. Even with current polls: He exclaims”Ive been running my campaign….” Hint: Hey Jerkwad, We have 2 wars still going on, both not very popular, economy that is tanking, a congress that just voted for a highly unpopular bailout (btw What was your vote?); and your NOT winning by a landslide? I wouldn’t exactly use that point to try and show what your executive experience is.

  5. therightguy says:

    Dr. John R. Lott was at the U of C when Obama was there and he has some interesting insights into Obama. I guess you could say Obama doesn’t like to be confronted with the truth and doesn’t like to exchange with people he disagrees with.

  6. wardmama4 says:

    I love Sarah Palin – she is the one who in ‘passing’ mentioned this Ayers connection which since the NYTs did a ‘story’ on it – even C(ommunist) N(news?!?) Network even had to ‘mention’ it – the dismissing began in ernest.

    Did I not tell you that there was something this man (Obama) was hiding – maybe I was wrong in dismissing his associates – does this not, maybe imply that he & Ayers hooked up in NYC and have been wheeling and dealing with their lord and (money) master (whose sole goal in life has been the destruction of countries and their economies) Soros for a long, a very long time?

    Now (we are down to 29 days) to Stop Him Now – and perhaps Gov Palin has finally opened the door that Obama, Ayers and Soros never, ever wanted open. Let’s help her kick it down.

  7. texaspsue says:

    The BO campaign is out in the MSM trying to play down BO’s connection to Ayers today. They call Palin’s comments racist. (Of course.) Good, Sarahcuda put them on the defensive.

    It’s about time BO explained his radical connections. He seemed to be proud of them in the past. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-45A6I-N5I&feature=PlayList&p=590C81020E0B6042&index=1 (Maybe BO needs to talk about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.)

  8. Jed_Black says:

    If he is elected, Obama will pull a “McGreevy” and then we’ll find out all about his life with Bill Ayers “on the down low.” – thanks Oprah. Lest anyone accuse me of sinking to leftist levels, I’ll make it clear right now, I’m kidding. Still though, you’d think Barry and Billy were hiding a Brokeback connection given their behavior and the heights of protesting their closeness. Obama should just come right out and say, “YES, he’s a TERRORIST! I LIKE TERRORISTS! So WHAT?” Don’t hide Barack, be who you are.

  9. Exeter says:

    rjr – are you aware that, in referencing the NR article, you exclusively cited the response from the Obama campaign? What did you think they were going to say – “Oh, yeah – Ayers gave Obama his first break in politics! They go way back!” Read the whole article, and carefully.
    As for guilt-by-association, it’s true that an acquaintance doesn’t necessarily mean you hold the same views as the other person. But when that person has boosted your career and helped you to channel political funds, when that person is only one of a host of like-minded individuals also within your circle of ‘acquaintances’, and when you vigorously deny the association when it’s ostensibly deeper than you pretend, I’d say there’s a reason to at least investigate.

  10. Exeter says:

    rjr – my mistake – I thought we were on the same planet.

    “I have not read other MSM information on how Mr. Ayers boosted Mr. Obamas career…”
    Well, THAT’S a surprise. But if you’d like to hear it from Obama’s own mouth, give this a try:


    “…it is kind of hard to plot world taking-over activities … don’t you think ?”
    I’m tempted to regard this statement as a product of your medication. Your argument here is: “if you’re not plotting to conquer the world, you’re not doing anything wrong!” Well, that level of logic needs no rebuttal.

    “You don’t go to a lot of PTA meetings do you ?”

    “You are suggesting Mr. Obama has other quality educational minded people in his leadership team.”
    No, I’m suggesting that his circle of friends – to include his wife – all seem to have a deep-seated hatred for America. Have you never heard of Jeremiah Wright? Father Pfleger? Reverend Meeks? Bernadine Dohrn?

    For an example of Ayers’ notion of education, you need look no further than the interview he gave to the CP-USA, which SG posted on this very page:


    “Deeper to whom ? J Edgar Hoover ?”
    Barack Obama dismissed his relationship with Ayers as “he’s a guy in my neighborhood”. That’s clearly not the extent of their association. And your problem with J Edgar Hoover is…?

    You’re so eager to be Obama’s spin-doctor, I wonder if you could pause a moment before you hyperventilate. I didn’t accuse Obama of anything; I said his relationship with Ayers is more than he’s admitted to, and the circumstances warrant examination.

  11. 1sttofight says:

    My request is very simple.
    Explain to me and others how Obama could (supposedly) attend church services every week at Trinity and not be repulsed by the naked racism spoken there?

  12. 1sttofight says:

    Are you willing to die for your country?
    I am assuming you are an American citizen.

  13. Exeter says:

    Aww, SG – you took rjroland’s thread out! 1st and I were going to ‘tether-ball’ him for awhile. Now I have nothing to look forward to…

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