The Response to Fox Propaganda
that Obama Never Made
and Why it Desperately Matters
It’s been a one day story, buried on the inside pages. Nonetheless, it’s the election story that we can’t ignore. The AP reports, "Cross burnings. School children chanting, “Assassinate Obama.” Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars." Unfortunately, it’s not isolated.
In liberal New York state, a friend and repair man I had depended upon for years used the racist epithet against Obama. I regretfully (I need his help) fired him. Before the election I made my annual call on an old friend's birthday. The conversation wandered onto the election. He said he watches only Fox News Channel because they are "Fair and Balanced." Regarding Obama, "If they held a gun to my head I wouldn’t vote for that skinny n-word."
I said, "Goodbye," and hung up.
I thought about what he hears on his only news source. Day after day, on the purported "news" and admitted opinion programs, the viewer was told Barack Obama consorts with terrorists, voted against funding for U.S. troops in harm's way, maligned the troops, had an America hating black minister, refuses to wear the American flag lapel pin, his middle name is the same as the deposed U.S. enemy, and on and on.
If I were a U.S. Marine veteran, reflexively patriotic, raised in segregationist America, and only knew what I heard on the Fox News Channel, like him, I too might be angry and succumb to pejorative, if not racist, reactions against such a candidate.
Congressman John Murtha (also a Marine) was excoriated on that network for saying a share of the public wasn't going to vote for Obama because he's (half, by the way) black. Attack the messenger, Murtha, but never examine the facts. When Republican Congressman Ron Paul spoke against the U.S. military bases around the world (how many know there are over 750 in other people's countries and why? Neither their existence nor purpose is known to the U.S. voter ultimately responsible for it) or that the U.S. military budget is larger than all other world military budgets combined, he was rebuked by other Republican candidates. They rejected hearing the facts. Attack the messenger. What can we expect from the ordinary citizen when even Republican leaders are so ignorant?
William Ayers, 40 years ago, was labeled "a terrorist" for committing what he describes as extreme acts of vandalism to protest the U.S. war machine in Vietnam. He caused no fatalities. Because of government illegalities, charges were dismissed against him.
Ayers had alerted the buildings so people were evacuated beforehand. There is one accusation of harm. A judge's son gives interviews to FNC stating how he was in the back upstairs of the house where Ayers set a bomb in front and as a young boy was traumatized.
"We weren't terrorists," Ayers maintains, because we did not commit random acts of terror against people. (They targeted symbolic government property to protest the war system by which it is now known four million Vietnamese citizens and one million combatants and 58,000 Americans were killed). In a letter to the Chicago Tribune he wrote: "I condemn all forms of terrorism, individual, group and official. He also condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
He asserts that when he stated that he had no regrets" and that "we didn't do enough he was referring to his efforts to stop the United States Vietnam War, which he describes as . . . inadequate [as] the war dragged on for a decade. Ayers insists that the statements did not mean he wishes they had set more bombs. When it was in a letter to the editor he objected to the printed characterizations: "This is not a question of being misunderstood or 'taken out of context, but of deliberate distortion. He says, "My memoir is from start to finish a condemnation of terrorism..."
FNC persistently refers to him as an unrepentant terrorist. Honest news or commentary would present the rebuttal of the accused as prominently as they present the accuser's allegations. FNC did that in their biography of John McCain, exonerating him of Keating Five connections and other matters.
One doesn't function in Chicago educational circles or political life and not run into Bill Ayers. Obama served on community boards where Ayers also sat. Ayers hosted one of several neighborhood events in 1996 when Obama began to run for state senate, says A.J. Wolf, the rabbi emeritus of KAMIsaiah Israel Synagogue. Wolf told the New York Times that his wife claims they had the actual first meet the candidate coffee for Obama, not Ayers. Obama maintains his campaign was launched in a Chicago hotel (he showed a picture of it in an ad) contrary to the accusation repeated ad nauseam by the FNC operatives that Obama’s political career was launched in Ayers' house.
William Ayers is a highly regarded University of Illinois professor of education. Ronald Reagan’s friend, Walter Annenburg, financed an Ayers' education team’s project for millions of dollars (Reagan associate funding a terrorist?). Ayers was voted man of the year in Chicago in 1997. Three thousand educators nationwide signed a letter supporting Ayers work. The mayor of Chicago has a working relationship with him. Is Fox Propaganda Channel calling Reagan’s friend, and Republicans, the nation's educators, the mayor and the entire city of Chicago, associates of a terrorist? No? Ayers pals around with (as Palin’s defamatory rhetoric asserted) Republicans!"
The conservative Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern, who conducted a campaign railing against Ayers, nonetheless told FNC’s Hannity on the air after the election that Ayers had been rehabilitated as far as Chicago people were concerned. Hannity, as usual, talked over him, ignoring anything that doesn’t fit Hannity’s demagoguery. No matter the opposing evidence and testimony, the propagandist continues his line so that it becomes the viewers accepted reality regardless of the contradicting facts. At 11 a.m. on election day, FNC’s idea of news (to influence the voting) was to harass Bill Ayers at his voting place.
Meanwhile, John McCain actually related to a domestic terrorist--Gordon Liddy who plotted to bomb the Brookings Institute during his Watergate era activities, for which he was convicted.
During the campaign, the main stream news outlets (that are constrained to actually be fair and balanced, adhering to journalistic standards), were reporting on Iraqi officials' and peoples’ position of overwhelmingly wanting the U.S. military to leave. Meanwhile, we heard loudly from FNC that Obama earlier voted against a funding bill that did not include a time line to end the illegal Iraq war (illegal under international law—hardly discussed in the U.S., well known around the world; a war that the Pope denounced, a fact not many Catholics seem to know, otherwise they couldn’t hold abortion rights support against a candidate and ignore the other candidate's support for an illegal war that killed so many children, women and men.) John McCain also voted against an Iraq funding measure he didn’t agree with. Is McCain guilty of not funding the troops in harm’s way? By voting against funding, was the Republican candidate waving the white flag of surrender, as Palin maliciously charged against Obama?
Then there’s the man Obama associated with who damned America, certainly something to enrage a former Marine. However, there’s an inconvenient fact about nearly everything Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is vilified for saying---it’s true. Republican ambassador Thomas Pickering made the same points about U.S. practices causing terrorist response. Rev. Wright was citing those points using his own phrase, chickens coming home to roost. The 9/11 commission, whose members the Republicans don't red bait, leading Republican’s comprise half the commission, stated directly that U.S. policy abroad prompted the 9/11 attacks. Wright was in solid company. The Bible condemns (damns) nations for things the U.S. has done. A Reverend quoting the Bible! When sentences are excerpted out of a speech's context the facts are lost.