is the title of Sol Stern’s op-ed at City Journal.
Its theme: “The press—and debate moderators—shouldn’t let Bill Ayers and Barack Obama off the hook.”
Stern begins - - -
Back in the early eighties, in an interview with David Horowitz and Peter Collier, Bill Ayers remembered his reaction upon learning that he would not be prosecuted by the government for his bombing spree as a member of the Weather Underground. “Guilty as hell, free as a bird—America is a great country,” he exulted.
Ayers is now a university professor, but he must have been exulting all over again after reading Saturday’s front-page story in the New York Times.
The article explored the putative relationship between Ayers and Barack Obama during the time they worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a five-year philanthropic venture that, starting in 1995, distributed over $160 million in school-improvement grants to the Windy City’s public schools.
Ayers wrote the grant proposal that secured seed money for the schools and ran the implementation arm of the project; Obama became chairman of the board that distributed the grants.
Not only did the Times exonerate the Democratic presidential candidate of having anything like a “close” relationship with Ayers—their paths merely “crossed” while working on the Challenge, the paper said—but it also bestowed the honorific of “school reformer” on the ex-bomber. …
Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.)
For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”
Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that “Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,” and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: “Viva Presidente Chávez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”
As I have shown in previous articles in City Journal, Ayers’s school reform agenda focuses almost exclusively on the idea of teaching for “social justice” in the classroom. This has nothing to do with the social-justice ideals of the Sermon on the Mount or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Rather, Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children with the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive. …
Despite the Times story, American voters still don’t have an accurate picture of the relationship between Obama and Ayers during their work on the Annenberg Challenge….
For the first time in his life, Ayers seems to be observing Democratic Party discipline and won’t be talking until after November 4. Meanwhile, in one of the Democratic primary debates, Obama said that Ayers was just “a guy I know in the neighborhood”—which certainly qualifies as one of the biggest fibs told by any of the candidates so far.
Is it too much to hope that one of the moderators of the two remaining debates will press Obama for a fuller accounting of his work with Bill Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and also ask Obama what he thinks of Ayers’s views on school reform?
If the mainstream media deem it important that voters know which newspapers one of the vice presidential candidates reads, they certainly ought to be demanding more information from a presidential candidate about whom he collaborated with in distributing $160 million to the public schools. How about it, Tom Brokaw?
Stern’s entire op-ed is here.
It’s no wonder Americans don’t have an accurate picture of the Obama-Ayers relationship.
Most news organizations are in the tank for Obama. They done their best to avoid reporting on the relationship. When they have, they’ve often minimized and outright distorted it.
Just last evening NPR’s national political correspondent Mara Liasson repeated the long since discredited explanation Obama campaign manager David Axelrod had offered about Obama and Ayers mostly knowing one another because their children went to school together. Ayers’ children were grown before the Obama children began school. (See here.)
Most MSM reports I’ve read and heard refer to Ayers as a 60s radical active when Obama was eight. Few mention he’s an unrepentant terrorist who at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks said he only regretted he’d not done more by way of terrorist acts.
It’s a rare MSM report that mentions Ayers commitment over decades to a form of education exactly as Stern describes.
Obama’s relationships with Rezko, Ayers, Wright and others are very troubling. The MSM has failed America by refusing to take an honest, in depth look at them and ask questions it should have asked.
We are in a situation tonight - four weeks from election day - where we’re have close media scrutiny of whether Trig Palin is actually Gov. Palin’s child and an AP report that shortly after she became mayor of Wasilla Sarah Palin received a free facial from one of the city’s cosmeticians.
But I can’t recall a single reporter asking Sen. Obama: “All right, Senator, in almost 20 years of very close friendship with Rev. Wright and attendance at his church you never, as you say, heard any statements from Rev. Wright such as “God damn America” and “KKK-America,” and you never heard any expressions of his misogyny or his claim our government deliberately spread the AIDS virus as a way to hold down America’s black population.
“Allowing for all of that, didn’t Mrs. Obama or others in the Trinity congregation say anything about any of that to you; and didn’t you read any of it that was published in Trinity’s church publications?”