The Times, Obama and Ayers: 2,100 Words, and What Was the Point?

The New York Times splashed the Barack Obama-Bill Ayers “connection” story on the front page of Saturday’s paper. Obama’s practically non-existent ties to former Weather Underground figure William Ayers have been the subject of endless speculation among folks like right-wing yakker Sean Hannity, who suggested to ABC‘sGeorge Stephanopoulos that he should ask about Obama about Ayers in a debate (whichStephanopoulos subsequently did). So with a little more than a month left before the election, the Times grants2,100 words to explaining… well, that “the two men do not appear to have been close.” So why write the story in the first place? The Times offers one clue: “Their relationship has become a touchstone for opponents of Mr. Obama…. Conservative critics who accuse Mr. Obama of a stealth radical agenda have asserted that he has misleadingly minimized his relationship with Mr. Ayers.”

In other words, the far right has deemed it newsworthy.

For bonus irony, we are treated to this from John McCain:

In a televised interview last spring, SenatorJohn McCain, Mr. Obamaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s Republican rival, asked, “How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.