Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hey Trib, you're missing a good election!

In my old baseball days, we'd yell out at a bad ump: "Hey blue, you're missing a good game!" Somebody ought to shout that to the Chicago Tribune about the election they are looking at but not covering.

The Tribune, as the largest media outlet in Chicago, has a special duty to be the paper of record about the life and career of Barack Obama. But many months ago, the Tribune stopped reporting on Obama's past, unless it was trying correct or comment on others' coverage of the hometown candidate.

I already commented here about the Trib's journalistic malpractice in completely missing Obama's board chairmanship starting in 1995 of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), a $160 million "education reform" foundation that amounts to Obama's only executive experience.

Whether the Trib was incompetent or was ignoring the chapter because it involved Obama's association with unrepetent terrorist Bill Ayers is unknown. But as some other journalists and researchers outside Chicago started reporting about CAC, the Trib simply slipped mentions of CAC in short articles it wrote later lamely throwing cold water on the Ayers association.

Now, as the story continues to advance, the Tribune continues to watch from the sidelines.

Instead of simply taking the Obama camp's version of events, CNN did some basic reporting and found that Obama's contention that he barely knew Ayers was demonstrably false. It also found that a previously reported fact—that former state senator Alice Palmer took Obama to Ayers house in 1995 to kick off his first political campaign—might be false. Palmer told CNN that she attended the event but didn't arrange Obama's appearance. That suggests more strongly that Obama and Ayers knew each other before the 1995 event.

The Tribune also stood idly on the sideline when Obama's chief advisor, Chicagoan David Axelrod told national reporters that Obama was not aware of Ayers' past when he met him in 1995. That assertion is undeniably a lie. Yet the Tribune just dutifully takes down Axelrod's words on its political blogs and doesn't dare question the massive howler. I grew up in Missouri and I knew who Bill Ayers was. Obama, who admits he's enthralled with 60's dissent, hung around radicals his entire life, and was a community organizer in Ayers general neighborhood, didn't know he was the famous Weather Underground bomber?

The Tribune also is not curious about where Obama steered the $160 million from the CAC. Researchers have found that some of it went to groups affiliated with Ayers and his unrepetent terrorist wife, Bernardine Dohrn.

Bloggers on the internet also have found that Obama was a member of the Marxist New Party for a time in the 1990s—another part of Obama's past the Tribune failed to find or mention.

Instead, the Tribune is curious about Wasilla city council minutes and about debating whether it is fair to call Ayers and Dohrn domestic "terrorists." If the Trib concludes that a group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol, a judge's home, several other public buildings and plotted to plant a shrapnel bomb next to an army barracks is not a terrorist organization, I'll be interested in reading the "new age" explanation.

Instead of twiddling its thumbs, the Tribune could send its reporters out to Hyde Park and get to the bottom of the Ayers-Obama alliance instead of waiting for others to report the story. They know Alice Palmer. They know David Axelrod. They can get the story if they want to participate in the election as journalists. That would be the bomb.

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