The Scott Shane Whitewash: Obama and Ayers (updated)

Clarice Feldman
Today the NYT carries a report by Scott Shane which purports to demonstrate that contrary to the work of unnamed bloggers (ahem), the Ayers/Obama contact was minimal. 

This front page account represents the Times' acknowledgement that there has been some significant story that they've been sitting on, but the report so completely fiddles with the truth that it would made a first rate case study in a class on propaganda.

Both Steve Diamond  and Tom Maguire    bloggers who've been studying the relationship of the Democrat's presidential nominee and the unrepentant domestic terrorists weigh in.

Steve notes, among other things:

...the nation's leading paper of record is basing its story on Ayers role in Obama's selection on unnamed sources when the three named sources -- who were involved personally in the discussions about Obama's appointment -- do not confirm that Ayers was not involved. And as I told the Times there is written evidence that, in fact, Ayers was involved in the selection of Board members, and, in fact, that he would have had to have been involved given his formal role in applying for and winning the grant from the national Annenberg Challenge.

The Challenge Board was chaired by Barack Obama and Obama also served as President of the Challenge. (I will explore the role of Obama in those two executive positions in a later post here.) The Obama campaign and Obama himself have attempted to minimize the candidate's longstanding and close professional and political relationship with Ayers because of Ayers' authoritarian politics and past record of terrorist activities.

Tom adds evidence that Obama repeatedly falsely minimized his relationship with Ayers, making us question why he did so and why the NYT somehow overlooked that in weighing the credibility of its sources for this piece.

I cannot imagine another race in American history where the media has done so much to hide from the voters a critical and damaging piece of information about one of the candidates: His apparent 13 year association with a man who worked to bomb domestic targets and kill his fellow citizens.

Update from Ed Lasky:

The New York Times continues its record of agenda-driven journalism in a "story" about the connections between Barack Obama and unrepentant terroists (and founder of the Weathermen) Bill Ayers which the Times dismisses as inconsequential. While the Times notes that Barack Obama has "played down" his "contacts" with Bill Ayers, this is spin. Indeed just the use of the word "contacts" gives a flavor to the Times approach: to depict the relationship between Ayers and Barack Obama as episodic. Why not use a fuller term such as "relationship" which most journalists use to describe the ties between the two?
The Times writes that Ayers is engaged in "school reform". That sounds nice except it certainly does not describe Ayers agenda.
I guess the Times did not desire to delve further into what type of reform Ayers is advocating-which is the radicalization of our schools and the subversion of our education.
Also, have the journalists considered the fact that relying on people who know both men and Obama campaign representatives may not be the best way to uncover the truth?
Rabbi Wolf , for example, is not a reliable source: he is far to the left and is a die-hard Obama supporter. He describes Ayers as a toothless ex-radical. In so far as it relates to planting bombs-true. In so far as it related to trying to indoctrinate our young with far left views -- false.
Nor did the Times bother to examine what sort of activities the Woods Fund supported-like anti-Israel agitprop. The Woods Fund (and its seven directors -- including Obama and Ayers -- who signed off on these grants) funded activities of a group that promoted harsh anti-Israel views that might be seen as countenancing terrorism.
Nor did the Times bother to look at Ayers true views on terrorism.
The paper quotes him:
If by then the ambitious politician was trying to keep his distance, it would not be a surprise. In an article that by chance was published on Sept. 11, 2001, The New York Times wrote about Mr. Ayers and his just-published memoir, “Fugitive Days,” opening with a quotation from the author: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”


Three days after the Qaeda attacks, Mr. Ayers wrote a reply posted on his Web site to clarify his quoted remarks, saying the meaning had been distorted.

“My memoir is from start to finish a condemnation of terrorism, of the indiscriminate murder of human beings, whether driven by fanaticism or official policy,” he wrote. But he added that the Weathermen had “showed remarkable restraint” given the nature of the American bombing campaign in Vietnam that they were trying to stop.


I suppose the journalist did not have five minutes to google Ayers on the terrorism and related topics. Had he done so he would have found this relatively recent entry on Bill Ayer's blog. Garance Franke-Ruta of the Washington Post wrote of it: 
Nor does Ayers believe his actions with the Weather Underground were terrorism. "I've never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it. The U.S. government, by contrast, does it routinely and defends the use of it in its own cause consistently," he wrote.


Ayers defines terrorism as "the use or threat of random violence to intimidate, frighten, or coerce a population toward some political end," and he cites, as examples, "an Israeli assault on a neighborhood in Gaza," the Sept. 11 attacks, and "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War.


Ayers concludes his self-defense with a brief against capitalism. "Capitalism," he writes, "played its role historically and is exhausted as a force for progress: built on exploitation, theft, conquest, war, and racism, capitalism and imperialism must be defeated and a world revolution -- a revolution against war and racism and materialism, a revolution based on human solidarity and love, cooperation and the common good -- must win.


Today the NYT carries a report by Scott Shane which purports to demonstrate that contrary to the work of unnamed bloggers (ahem), the Ayers/Obama contact was minimal. 

This front page account represents the Times' acknowledgement that there has been some significant story that they've been sitting on, but the report so completely fiddles with the truth that it would made a first rate case study in a class on propaganda.

Both Steve Diamond  and Tom Maguire    bloggers who've been studying the relationship of the Democrat's presidential nominee and the unrepentant domestic terrorists weigh in.

Steve notes, among other things:

...the nation's leading paper of record is basing its story on Ayers role in Obama's selection on unnamed sources when the three named sources -- who were involved personally in the discussions about Obama's appointment -- do not confirm that Ayers was not involved. And as I told the Times there is written evidence that, in fact, Ayers was involved in the selection of Board members, and, in fact, that he would have had to have been involved given his formal role in applying for and winning the grant from the national Annenberg Challenge.

The Challenge Board was chaired by Barack Obama and Obama also served as President of the Challenge. (I will explore the role of Obama in those two executive positions in a later post here.) The Obama campaign and Obama himself have attempted to minimize the candidate's longstanding and close professional and political relationship with Ayers because of Ayers' authoritarian politics and past record of terrorist activities.

Tom adds evidence that Obama repeatedly falsely minimized his relationship with Ayers, making us question why he did so and why the NYT somehow overlooked that in weighing the credibility of its sources for this piece.

I cannot imagine another race in American history where the media has done so much to hide from the voters a critical and damaging piece of information about one of the candidates: His apparent 13 year association with a man who worked to bomb domestic targets and kill his fellow citizens.

Update from Ed Lasky:

The New York Times continues its record of agenda-driven journalism in a "story" about the connections between Barack Obama and unrepentant terroists (and founder of the Weathermen) Bill Ayers which the Times dismisses as inconsequential. While the Times notes that Barack Obama has "played down" his "contacts" with Bill Ayers, this is spin. Indeed just the use of the word "contacts" gives a flavor to the Times approach: to depict the relationship between Ayers and Barack Obama as episodic. Why not use a fuller term such as "relationship" which most journalists use to describe the ties between the two?
The Times writes that Ayers is engaged in "school reform". That sounds nice except it certainly does not describe Ayers agenda.
I guess the Times did not desire to delve further into what type of reform Ayers is advocating-which is the radicalization of our schools and the subversion of our education.
Also, have the journalists considered the fact that relying on people who know both men and Obama campaign representatives may not be the best way to uncover the truth?
Rabbi Wolf , for example, is not a reliable source: he is far to the left and is a die-hard Obama supporter. He describes Ayers as a toothless ex-radical. In so far as it relates to planting bombs-true. In so far as it related to trying to indoctrinate our young with far left views -- false.
Nor did the Times bother to examine what sort of activities the Woods Fund supported-like anti-Israel agitprop. The Woods Fund (and its seven directors -- including Obama and Ayers -- who signed off on these grants) funded activities of a group that promoted harsh anti-Israel views that might be seen as countenancing terrorism.
Nor did the Times bother to look at Ayers true views on terrorism.
The paper quotes him:
If by then the ambitious politician was trying to keep his distance, it would not be a surprise. In an article that by chance was published on Sept. 11, 2001, The New York Times wrote about Mr. Ayers and his just-published memoir, “Fugitive Days,” opening with a quotation from the author: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”


Three days after the Qaeda attacks, Mr. Ayers wrote a reply posted on his Web site to clarify his quoted remarks, saying the meaning had been distorted.

“My memoir is from start to finish a condemnation of terrorism, of the indiscriminate murder of human beings, whether driven by fanaticism or official policy,” he wrote. But he added that the Weathermen had “showed remarkable restraint” given the nature of the American bombing campaign in Vietnam that they were trying to stop.


I suppose the journalist did not have five minutes to google Ayers on the terrorism and related topics. Had he done so he would have found this relatively recent entry on Bill Ayer's blog. Garance Franke-Ruta of the Washington Post wrote of it: 
Nor does Ayers believe his actions with the Weather Underground were terrorism. "I've never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it. The U.S. government, by contrast, does it routinely and defends the use of it in its own cause consistently," he wrote.


Ayers defines terrorism as "the use or threat of random violence to intimidate, frighten, or coerce a population toward some political end," and he cites, as examples, "an Israeli assault on a neighborhood in Gaza," the Sept. 11 attacks, and "Sherman's March to the Sea" during the Civil War.


Ayers concludes his self-defense with a brief against capitalism. "Capitalism," he writes, "played its role historically and is exhausted as a force for progress: built on exploitation, theft, conquest, war, and racism, capitalism and imperialism must be defeated and a world revolution -- a revolution against war and racism and materialism, a revolution based on human solidarity and love, cooperation and the common good -- must win.