NY Times, AP again ignored their own reporting on McCain campaign's claims about Obama's association with Ayers

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

The New York Times and the AP uncritically reported the McCain campaign's claims about Sen. Barack Obama's association with William Ayers, with a post on the Times' The Caucus blog quoting Sen. John McCain's claim that Obama "was friends with a terrorist and his wife," and the AP reporting that Gov. Sarah Palin "reaffirmed her view that Obama had been 'palling around with terrorists' because of his association with Bill Ayers." Neither news outlet noted its earlier reporting undermining these claims.

Again ignoring their own reporting, The New York Times and the Associated Press reported the McCain campaign's claims about Sen. Barack Obama's association with former Weather Underground member William Ayers, in both cases, without noting their own earlier reporting undermining these claims.

In an October 21 post to the Times' The Caucus blog, Michael Falcone quoted Sen. John McCain's claim that Obama "was friends with a terrorist and his wife and we need to know the full relationship." Falcone did not note that in an October 4 article examining Obama's association with Ayers, the Times 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 an October 20 article, the AP reported that Gov. Sarah Palin "reaffirmed her view that Obama had been 'palling around with terrorists' because of his association with Bill Ayers." But in an October 5 article, the AP reported that "there is no evidence that they [Obama and Ayers] ever palled around. And it's simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts." Additionally, the AP noted on October 5 -- but not on October 20 -- that in accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists," Palin cited the Times' October 4 article, which does not support her accusation.

As Media Matters for America has documented, both the Times and the AP have previously uncritically reported the McCain campaign's claims about Obama's relationship with Ayers while ignoring their own reporting otherwise.

From Falcone's October 21 post on The Caucus:

In a taped interview on the CBS "Early Show" Tuesday morning, Senator John McCain, defended the robocalls his campaign and the Republican Party are running that tie Senator Barack Obama to Bill Ayers, the former member of the radical group, the Weather Underground.

"That robocall is absolutely accurate," Mr. McCain told CBS's Harry Smith. "And, by the way, Senator Obama is running robocalls as we speak. He's running an ad that's untrue about my immigration position, about stem cell research and about several other issues."

Mr. McCain added: "He was friends with a terrorist and his wife and we need to know the full relationship."

From the October 20 AP article:

Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.

"I would say it again," she said.

Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.

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