NY Times' Harwood quotes Palin's "palling around with terrorists" claim, but not Times' own reporting otherwise

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

The New York Times' John Harwood wrote that Gov. Sarah Palin "assert[ed] that" Sen. Barack Obama's "relationship with Bill Ayers, the onetime Weather Underground figure, constitutes 'palling around with terrorists.' " But Harwood did not mention that two days earlier, in an article that Palin herself referenced, the Times itself reported that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers."

In an October 6 article, New York Times political writer John Harwood wrote that Gov. Sarah Palin "assert[ed] that" Sen. Barack Obama's "relationship with Bill Ayers, the onetime Weather Underground figure, constitutes 'palling around with terrorists.' " But in reporting Palin's claim, Harwood did not mention that the Times itself, in an October 4 article that Palin cited for her claim, reported that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' "

In the October 4 article, the Times also reported that in 1969, Ayers helped found the Weathermen and "[t]wenty-six years later, at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama's first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors."

Further, Harwood wrote that in response to Palin's comments, Obama "has answered by criticizing Mr. McCain as 'erratic' during the financial crisis and 'radical' in pressing a market-based health care approach resembling Mr. Bush's." But Harwood did not note that the Times previously reported that the Obama campaign issued a statement specifically rebutting Palin's claim. The statement -- noted in an October 4 Caucus post by Times staff writer Kate Phillips -- said in part: "In fact, the very newspaper story Governor Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Senator Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less 'pals,' and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was eight."

From Harwood's October 6 Times article:

Mr. McCain's campaign has responded by stepping up attacks on Mr. Obama's background, with Mr. McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, asserting that the Democrat's relationship with Bill Ayers, the onetime Weather Underground figure, constitutes "palling around with terrorists." Mr. Obama has answered by criticizing Mr. McCain as "erratic" during the financial crisis and "radical" in pressing a market-based health care approach resembling Mr. Bush's.

Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Person
John Harwood, Sarah Palin
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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