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Obama, Ayers and the Media
Posted by: MichaelW on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Barack Obama campaign's strategy to minimize the damage being caused by the candidate's association with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers is truly a study in political floundering. Instead of ignoring the story (no doubt thanks to echo's of swift boats in their ears), the campaign has tackled it head on with Stalinist zeal. They even have the propaganda down pat, replete with tough talk and a compliant media. And although it it gratifying to see the term "swift-boating" finally being used correctly (i.e. challenging an opponent with verifiable facts and credible assertions), I'm still somewhat amazed at how the Obama-Ayers connections are being treated by the media, and particularly by Politico's Ben Smith.

Over the past week the McCain campaign and its surrogates have ratcheted up the pressure on the newly-crowned Democratic candidate by releasing ads specifically raising questions about Obama's connections to Ayers. In addition, conservative reporter Stanley Kurtz has been digging through old files seeking to unearth more information about collaboration between the two. Tom Maguire wryly notes how the dealings between Obama and Ayers have been minimized by the MSM. However, far from just minimizing, Ben Smith wrote two pieces on the topic over the past three days that are little more than Obama talking points, including unfounded accusations.

The first dealt with the Obama camp's reaction to an ad put out by the American Issues Project:
Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.

Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.


"How much do your really know about Barack Obama? What does he really believe?" asks the ad, which also uses imagery from the Al-Qaeda terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Smith article also goes into detail about how major backers of the AIP also supported the Swift Boat Vets, and attempts to draw dark, conspiratorial conclusions about the group. Typical left-wing cant, frankly. But what interests me are the two bolded portions since they are demonstrably false, yet lend credence to Obama's claims of a smear.

In fact, no part of the ad tries to link Obama to foreign terrorists, and there is no 9/11 imagery. There is a shot of the Capitol at the beginning of the ad, but it does not appear to be from 9/11, and it's not clear how we would know anyway since, as it points out, the building wasn't attacked that day. Instead of trying to link Obama to foreign terrorists, the ad pretty clearly distinguishes al Qaeda's failing from Ayers' success, and raises the question of why Obama would choose to be associated with this specific individual.

How did Smith get this so wrong? The ad's only 1:02 long, so he must have had time to actually view it before he penned his apologia for the Obama campaign. So he either didn't do his, very rudimentary, homework, or he's just blatantly lying in order to carry water for The One. To hone in on the answer, let's move to Exhibit 2:
Barack Obama's campaign hasn't advertised this a great deal this week, but the campaign's "Action Wire" has been waging large-scale campaigns against critics. That includes tens of thousands of e-mails to television stations running Harold Simmons' Bill Ayers ad, and to their advertisers — including a list of major automobile and telecommunications companies.
What? Seriously? Didn't the campaign put out a "response ad" and issue press releases which Smith dutifully regurgitated? Aren't they loudly pushing the DOJ to investigate AIP and threatening all sorts of retaliation against those who air the ads, as well as their commerical advertisers? That's not exactly going quietly into that good night, now is it?

Moving on, Smith details the digital-brown-shirt tactics employed by Obama's disciples:
And tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program. Kurtz has been writing about Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, and has suggested that papers housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago would reveal new details of that relationship.

The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station's telephone number and the show's extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz, which seems to prove that he's a conservative, which isn't in dispute.


"It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies," [the email] continues.
Smith goes on to print the email in it's entirety (which wouldn't be an in-kind contribution to Obama since this is "reporting" — stop snickering), but before he does, he notes a quibble with Kurtz that he deems credible:
The campaign mentions, and objects to, one specific claim of Kurtz's, for which I've never seen hard evidence:
Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack's connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.
First off, Kurtz has not made any such claim, neither in the interview cited in the email, nor in his article for the National Review. He has suggested that Obama's recruitment by Ayers was likely given the extent of their relationship, but he hasn't explicitly claimed that Obama was definitely recruited. This is why Smith hasn't seen any "hard evidence" backing up such a claim: Kurtz didn't make it.

What there is plenty of evidence of, however, is that the ties between Obama and Ayers go back much further than has been admitted to. For example, Tom Maguire has pointed to a connection as early as 1987, when Obama joined an educational reform coalition chaired by Ayers. Steve Diamond has reviewed the Annenberg Challenge collection and arrives at much the same conclusion. Apparently, Smith hasn't seen any of this evidence either.

There is no doubt that the Obama-Ayers connection is trouble for the candidate, which is why the campaign is putting on the full-court press. They desperately need to either bury the story or badly discredit its tellers enough to muddy the issue. For the most part, the press has been much better about covering this story than they were with the Swift Boat Vets, but the Fourth Estate is still seriously lacking in the integrity department when it comes to honestly reporting on Obama. Heck, even the Canadian Free Press notices this, prompting Tom Maguire to remark, "Geez, when the Canadians mock our press freedom..." Add to that acting as little more than an Obama campaign mouthpiece, as with Politico's Ben Smith, and does it really come as any surprise that private groups will take it into their own hands to raise the questions that the MSM can't seem to even ponder?

Whatever the actual story is, the electorate deserves answers to the questions raised about Obama and Ayers. If the media isn't going to report on them, it's difficult to see what possible use they are to us.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

It makes me sad that so many channels actually bumped the ad when pressed by Obama. Especially Fox News? I mean, i was always told they were a republican shill :)
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
There is a major dust up at Wikipedia on the Weatherman article as someone is removing anything that says terrorist.

The key argument seems to be that terrorist is a negative word and a point of view that unfairly colors them.

Also they feel that having the FBI call the Weatherman a terrorist org is not definitive.

Nice to have so many mindless drones to cover up for you :)
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
If you can’t stand the truth, suppress it.
Written By: Keith_Indy
Written By: Bithead
"The key argument seems to be that terrorist is a negative word and a point of view that unfairly colors them."
You’d never see ’em credit that to Tim McVeigh’s account.

"Integrity is not dead. It just smells funny."

(Paraphrasing Frank Zappa)
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
Whatever the actual story is,
Whatever the actual story is, the Obama campaign is terrified of it.

I smell blood.
There is a major dust up at Wikipedia on the Weatherman article as someone is removing anything that says terrorist.
And Comrade Beria is no longer seen at Stalin’s side in any photographs.

And no one is remembering ever having seem him there.
Written By: Martin McPhillips

Is Stalin even in the photographs any more? Isn’t there just a young baby Putin now.

Written By: Keith_Indy
There is a major dust up at Wikipedia on the Weatherman article as someone is removing anything that says terrorist.
There’s been all sorts of havoc on Stanley Kurtz’s wiki page as well. A little earlier today it was linked to the one-member category, "Right-wing Hatchet Man," thanks, no doubt, to some industrious little true believer in the Obamanation. Maybe he thought he could make it official.

Wow what a great election year! And we haven’t even gotten to the riots yet. Wonder if Ayers is going to throw a bomb or two for old times’ sake?
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
This 9/11 link is the crap they’ve been trying from the get-go on this.

Clearly they are so nuanced they see nuance where there isn’t any.
Context comprehension is clearly not on their strengths list.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
A few of the embarrassments:

1. Obama and Ayers are not casual friends; they are close.

2. Obama has a close friend who was photographed, post-9/11, stomping on the American flag, and who was a terrorist in the 1960s and is proud of it.

3. Obama has been lying about the friendship because a presidential candidate can’t have a friend like that.

O.K., that much is pretty clear.

Is that much survivable because of how special Obama is? Can he have a friend like that?

Is there anything else here? Is Stanley Kurtz about to find out that Ayers and Obama were longtime intimate ideological collaborators?

Written By: Martin McPhillips
This will all be forgotten when a federal court rules that Obama is ineligible to be President of the United States.
Written By: Nuclear
URL: http://
Just finished listening to the Kurtz podcast on WGN. The callers made me laugh out loud. Stan does a good job of making them look ridiculous. He plays his hand well, not making a ayers=terrorist=obama connection. Instead keeps it to his relation to incredibly far left radicals as his career has progressed and destroying the belief in his dopey...i mean hopey changitude.
Written By: josh b
URL: http://

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