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Fox News Won't Air Anti-Obama Ad, Time For a Real Debate?

Fox News Won't Air Anti-Obama Ad, Time For a Real Debate?

Fox News says it won't air an ad connecting Barack Obama to a 1960s radical William Ayers. The ad was produced by American Issues Project which happens to have a board member who was paid as a McCain consultant until July 2007. Thanks to its nonprofit status, AIP can spend an unlimited amount of money. Election experts worry that the ad is illegal because it advocates a candidate, which cannot be done with nonprofit funds. Fox News did accidentally air a portion of the ad, but even a nominal rejection signals that ads like these are starting to raise eyebrows.

Ayers is a college professor and former member of the Weather Underground, a radical organization that wanted to end the Vietnam War through acts of domestic terrorism. He served with Obama on a board until 2002, and also held a campaign event for Obama when he first decided to enter politics in the 1990s. The American Issues Project ad hits Obama hard saying:

Obama's political career was launched in Ayers's home. And the two served together on a left-wing board. Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it? Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?

Obama hasn't backed away from the Ayers issue. To find out what he says about Ayers, and to see the ad itself,


Obama has painted the connection as innocent, saying the following:

Mr. Ayers is a 60-plus-year-old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something that I deplore 40 years ago when I was 6 or 7 years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois. We served on a board together that had Republicans, bankers, lawyers, focused on education.

While it's important for voters to have crucial information about the candidates and their policies, advertisements by somewhat rogue groups definitely toughens the task of sorting out truth from smears. What do you think of the ad?


Join The Conversation
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I guess if the ad was technically illegally funded, then that's a reason for censorship -- but all it does is point out a questionable friendship. Who you keep close is very telling of who you ARE.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
Also, this ad has not been found illegal. The Obama campaign has alleged it to be illegal. Very different! From (I find business sites to be more objective, many times, than "news" sites.) Obama team fails to convince stations to kill ad in spite of threats, harassment and false claims The Barack Obama campaign has resorted to a campaign of intimidation and legal threats to convince television stations and the federal government to force off the air an ad by the American Issues Project detailing the link between Sen. Obama and remorseless domestic terrorist William Ayers. The Obama campaign has been contacting stations running American Issues Project's ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot. The Obama campaign also sent a letter yesterday to the Department of Justice asking the government to investigate American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors. With no success on either front, the campaign has begun running its own ad in response. Notably, this ad fails to dispute a single fact in the American Issues Project's initial ad. Emphasis mine.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
From their web site: "American Issues Project is a 501(c)4 organization representing a coalition of conservative activists committed to raising important issues that deserve deeper examination given their impact on policy and politics. In accordance with federal law, American Issues Project only solicits and accepts contributions from individuals and not from any business corporation. For more information, visit:" They also have some historical information about the Weather Underground, if anyone is interested. The ad in question tells the history of the Weather Underground, and establishes that there is a relationship between Ayers and Obama. It asks why, but does not imply anything beyond that. It may make the relationship sound closer than it actually is, but I don't know that, so I can't determine whether it's an excess emphasis or not. The big picture is more important. Obama has a lot of questionable friends and associations, and I doubt we've heard the last of them yet. Even if we give him one or two passes, that's not much help. This is really not about pointing fingers and bickering. It's about finding the best possible leader for our country for the next four years, at what I believe is a critical time in our history. I believe the next 8 or 12 years could make our break our nation's culture, economy, and position in the world. I honestly believe Obama's proposed policies will weaken us in all three areas.
Vespa Vespa 8 years
It sucks that McCain will take heat for this even though he had nothing to do with it. It also seems like commercials don't even have to air on tv since the scandalous ones get so much attention on the web.
sldc sldc 8 years
Fox News often "accidentally" does things like this. Anyone who watches any of the major news outlets is going to be exposed to a bunch of half-truth sensationalism. Neither candidate is without ties to the political machine, which is more concerned about its survival than yours.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I find it interesting that McCain is being attacked here, when he clearly didn't make this, and if it isn't being shown on tv then why denounce it? Why should he go on the defensive on something that has already been taken care of?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Lacey, McCain and his campaign had nothing to do with this ad.
piper23 piper23 8 years
I want to hear more about Ayers in the media. I also want to hear about Obama and Ayer's work on the Chicago Anneburg Challenge, which was ultimately judged a failure by the Anneburg Foundation. "Results suggest that among the schools it supported, the Challenge had little impact on school improvement and student outcomes, with no statistically significant differences between Annenberg and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain, classroom behavior, student self-efficacy, and social competence." If this is the kind of educational leadership that we have to look forward to under an Obama administation, I think we should all want to hear more about it.
stephley stephley 8 years
And don't bother congratulating Fox for not airing the ad - they got it all the attention it needed. If they really intended not to air it, there's no way it would have been cued up in a machine to be 'accidentally' played.
stephley stephley 8 years
"If it attempts to string unrelated facts together to give a false impression, I would have a problem with that." If you check your history, you should have a problem with this ad.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I think I may have found the answer to my question. has this disclaimer on the bottom of their site: " Civic Action is a 501(c)(4) organization which primarily focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on important national issues. Political Action is a federal political committee which primarily helps members elect candidates who reflect our values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election. Political Action and Civic Action are separate organizations." So I guess that means they aren't a nonprofit? :?
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Is a nonprofit? This isn't meant to be sarcastic or anything. I really would like to know. :)
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
I believe that selective editing counts as conscious untruth. I can't get the video embedded in the original post to play, so I can't check what's in it. If it relates discrete facts, I have no problem with it. If it attempts to string unrelated facts together to give a false impression, I would have a problem with that. Question: What's the difference between Harold Simmons' "American Issues Project" and George Soros' ""? If McCain has recent associates who are confessed violent lawbreakers who do not regret their acts, I'd like to know that, too. I suspect only a scant handful of us here, if that, actually remember the Weather Underground at all, so perhaps not everyone is clear on the nature of the organization. Nostalgic recollections are not quite the same as the true story.
lexichloe lexichloe 8 years
Why is this newsworthy? Everyone knows Fox is totally right based. People from the left don't even tune to that channel. This is a stupid debate, trying to stir up MORE DEBATE. Oh, the drama...
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Get what?
janneth janneth 8 years
Ok, organicsugar, we get it. :fish:
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I don't think anyone is saying the information shouldn't be out there. It should just be put out there in a legal way. AIP broke the law and that's the only reason FOX News won't air it. You don't think FOX would shy away from airing a negative ad about Obama? ;) If some one else (not a nonprofit) had put up the funding for this ad, we probably would have seen it aired sometime tonight during the coverage to the convention.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
What things are untrue?
blondie01 blondie01 8 years
the ad does give facts about the relationship of ayers and obama, where you take those facts and what you think about them is up to you. They may imply certain things, but they still give you the facts, ultimately. I agree with you Laine, I think that all the information should be out for the people to evaluate on their own.
stephley stephley 8 years
Yes Mich, there are things about the ad that are untrue.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Yes! Yes! Definitely go after MADD! Because of them I had to sit through about a half dozen boring assemblies in high school and junior high. They owe me hours of my life!
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I know! And we should go after MADD, because they don't have a political agenda either.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Oh they can run as many ads supporting candidates as they want. Just not with non profit funds. :P
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Stephley, is something about this ad untrue?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I don't think people should be allowed to run ads that support the candidates that they want if they're not part of the campaign. We don't have the right to speak freely about political matters in this country.
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