[Posted by Karl]
Stanley Kurtz has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, detailing Barack Obama’s stint as chairman of an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), an experience that Obama usuall avoids putting on his resume, most likely because CAC was the brainchild of unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers:
The CAC’s basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.
One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama’s “recruitment” to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.
Instapundit Glenn Reynolds asks not only what this says about Obama’s judgment, but also what it says “about the mainstream media, whose organs have quite consciously and deliberately ignored and minimized this subject?”
To answer that question, we might look at the case study of the Politico’s Ben Smith.
In February, Smith asked Obama’s chief strategist (and reigning expert on Chicago’s political tribes), David Axelrod, about the Obama-Ayers relationship and got this answer:
“Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school,” he said. “They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”
As it turned out, their kids did not go to school together, but Obama was the chairman of a $150 million effort spearheaded by Ayers on the important issue of public education, which funded “awful” projects and “had little impact on student outcomes.”
You would think Axelrod would have some ‘splainin’ to do. But you would be wrong.
As the CAC story emerged, Ben Smith’s blase reaction clearly communicated that he did not care that he was misled by Camp Obama about the Ayers relationship, let alone that Obama’s biggest claim to executive experience (and a reform credential to boot) was judged to be a failure, even by the CAC. Indeed, Smith took the story as evidence of how mainstream Ayers is — as opposed to how dysfunctional the political culture of Chicago is.
In contrast, Smith felt compelled to nitpick statements by John McCain’s campaign strategist, Steve Schmidt, about the Ayers relationship. Smith added in a separate blog post that Schmidt’s comments were “‘Hey, look over here’ politics” — the campaign’s urgent attempt to change the subject from the economy. That was the daily talking point at the Huffington Post, too — even though McCain was making headlines talking about the economy the same day.
Perhaps those who read Ben Smith will stop thinking that he is “in the tank” for Obama when he stops doing the breaststroke through Obama’s Kool-Aid. And the same could be said for any number of Smith’s pals in the media.