NBC's Andrea Mitchell Hides Ayers Bombing Past

Now that Sarah Palin has made Barack Obama's history with William Ayers front and center in the campaign the mainstream media is doing their best to ignore some of the more explosive aspects of Ayers' past. On Monday's "Today" show NBC's Andrea Mitchell merely identified Ayers as a "sixties radical" and cited the New York Times as dismissing the Obama connection as, "the two men do not appear to have been close."

As the following excerpt shows, Mitchell conveniently forgot to mention the reason Palin and others regard Ayers as a terrorist, the fact the he, as a part of the Weather Underground, actually bombed police stations and the Pentagon.

Palin was referring to William Ayers, a sixties radical, now a Chicago education professor. In 1995 Ayers hosted a coffee for Obama, then a state senate candidate. The New York Times reported this weekend that, "the two men do not appear to have been close." And the Obama campaign says they have not spoken since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Mitchell, continuing the trend she started last week, also aired portions of "Saturday Night Live," that mocked Palin but didn't bother to excerpt any of the moments that made fun of the Democratic ticket.

MITCHELL: Her high energy performance after two faltering network news interviews reassured some concerned Republicans but not her critics.

[BEGIN "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE CLIP"]

TINA FEY AS PALIN: Can I call you Joe?

JASON SUDEIKIS PLAYING BIDEN: Of course.

FEY: Okay because I practiced a couple of zingers where I call you Joe.

SUDEIKIS: Okay great.

[END CLIP]

MITCHELL: Palin's style and substance were skewered again on "Saturday Night Live."

[BEGIN "SNL" CLIP]

FEY: We are not afraid to get mavericky in there and ruffle feathers and not got to allow that and also to, the great Ronald Reagan.

[END CLIP]

The following is the full segment as it aired on the October 6, "Today" show:

ANN CURRY: Now to the race for the White House and the presidential election just 29 days away and both campaigns are launching some very tough attacks. NBC's Andrea Mitchell has the latest on this. Andrea, good morning.

[On screen headline: "'Heels Are On, Gloves Come Off,' Palin Steps Up Attacks On Obama."]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Ann. The economic crisis has shifted the political map in Barack Obama's favor. So now John McCain's campaign has signaled it wants to turn the focus off the economy and on what it claims are character issues about Obama. With less than 30 days to go the heat started coming from the Republicans and Sarah Palin.

SARAH PALIN: Okay now the heels are on, the gloves come off! Okay!

MITCHELL: As John McCain stayed home to prepare for this week's second presidential debate Palin led the charge against Barack Obama.

PALIN: Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.

MITCHELL: Palin was referring to William Ayers, a sixties radical, now a Chicago education professor. In 1995 Ayers hosted a coffee for Obama, then a state senate candidate. The New York Times reported this weekend that, "the two men do not appear to have been close." And the Obama campaign says they have not spoken since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate. That's not the way Palin describes it.

PALIN: I thin it's fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy's living room.

MITCHELL: At a rally in North Carolina, Sunday, Obama hit back.

BARACK OBAMA: His campaign has announced that they plan to, and I quote, "Turn the page on the discussion about our economy," and spend the final weeks of this campaign launching swift boat-style attacks on me.

MITCHELL: And online today his campaign is trying to link McCain's involvement in the Keating Five S&L scandal two decades ago, to the current banking crisis. McCain was cleared of wrongdoing but cited for poor judgment. But since Palin's big debate with Joe Biden, she, not McCain, has been the public face of the Republican ticket.

PALIN: Hey can I call you Joe?

JOE BIDEN: You can call me Joe.

MITCHELL: Her high energy performance after two faltering network news interviews reassured some concerned Republicans but not her critics.

[BEGIN "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE CLIP"]

TINA FEY AS PALIN: Can I call you Joe?

JASON SUDEIKIS PLAYING BIDEN: Of course.

FEY: Okay because I practiced a couple of zingers where I call you Joe.

SUDEIKIS: Okay great.

[END CLIP]

MITCHELL: Palin's style and substance were skewered again on "Saturday Night Live."

[BEGIN "SNL"CLIP]

FEY: We are not afraid to get mavericky in there and ruffle feathers and not got to allow that and also to, the great Ronald Reagan.

[END CLIP]

MITCHELL: All of this comes before the next dramatic moment in this remarkable campaign, the second presidential debate, a town hall meeting format that could play to McCain's strengths, moderated by our own Tom Brokaw in Nashville, tomorrow night.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.