William Ayers Bogus Connection To Barack Obama

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Expect more of this as Sen. Obama gets closer to the White House.

There has been a sudden spate of blog items and newspaper articles, mainly in the British press, linking Barack Obama to a former member of the radical Weather Underground Organization that claimed responsibility for a dozen bombings between 1970 and 1974. The former Weatherman, William Ayers, now holds the position of distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Although never convicted of any crime, he told the New York Times in September 2001, "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough."

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"But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one. As Newsday pointed out, Clinton has her own, also tenuous, Weatherman connection. Her husband commuted the sentences of a couple of convicted Weather Underground members, Susan Rosenberg and Linda Sue Evans, shortly before leaving office in January 2001. Which is worse: pardoning a convicted terrorist or accepting a campaign contribution from a former Weatherman who was never convicted?

Whatever his past, Ayers is now a respected member of the Chicago intelligentsia, and still a member of the Woods Fund Board. The president of the Woods Fund, Deborah Harrington, said he had been selected for the board because of his solid academic credentials and 'passion for social justice.'

'This whole connection is a stretch,' Harrington told me. 'Barack was very well known in Chicago, and a highly respected legislator. It would be difficult to find people round here who never volunteered or contributed money to one of his campaigns.'"

Floating nonsense in British press so that American media outlets cover it? Where have I heard that before? Oh, right.

''The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media,'' the counsel's office memorandum said. The articles, it said, move from ''well-funded right wing think tanks,'' newsletters and newspapers to the internet. From there, the articles are picked up by ''British tabloids'' or the ''American right-of-center mainstream media,'' the counsel's office wrote. Then they get looked into by Congressional committees, and that creates a ''legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream.''