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Chicago Annenberg Challenge

Obama/Ayers Update: New York Times Ignores Evidence of Ayers’ Role in Annenberg Board Selectio

By --October 5, 2008

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Steve Diamond
Once again, the New York Times misses the story, parroting the false claims of the Obama Campaign about the relationship between Bill Ayers and Barack Obama. Some months ago the Times reported without comment the Campaign’s lie that the first time Obama met Ayers was in late 1995 at a “meet and greet” held at Ayers’ home for Obama when Obama launched his campaign for the state senate.

Not so. The Times finally, albeit implicitly, acknowledges they had it wrong: that Ayers and Obama actually met many months earlier at least, when the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) was first formed. But once again they report, without any logical basis, that Ayers had nothing to do with the elevation of Obama to the CAC board.

In fact, an exchange of letters in late 1994, copies of which I obtained from Brown University, between Vartan Gregorian, then President of Brown and the individual responsible for assessing applications for grants from the national Annenberg Challenge, and Bill Ayers, the founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, demonstrates that Ayers played a direct role in “composing” the Challenge’s board of directors.

Another exchange of letters between Gregorian and Adele Simmons, then President of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation and an advisor to Ayers, confirms the active personal role of Ayers in selecting board members.

I was interviewed at length by the New York Times for today’s story. In fact, this was the third Times reporter to interview me about the Ayers/Obama relationship - and I provided the Times with the letters I discuss here. They are not mentioned in the story at all.

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author’s blog - Steve Diamond, Global Labor and Politics

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