WASHINGTON – The University of Illinois on Tuesday refused to release records relating to Barack Obama's service to a nonprofit group linked to former 1960s radical activist.
The university's Chicago campus said the donor of the records that document the work of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge has not yet turned over ownership rights to the material.
The university is "aggressively pursuing" an agreement with the donor, and as soon as an agreement is finalized, the collection will be made accessible to the public, the university said in a one-paragraph statement.
There was no indication when an agreement will be worked out. The university did not identify the donor who it said was concerned that the release not invade personal privacy.
Since the mainstream media has never yet reported on this Ayers/Obama link the typical reader is probably scratching his or her head. Mr. Yost provides some background:
Ayers is an education professor at the Weather Underground Organization, which espoused violence as a necessity for political change.who in his youth co-founded the Weatherman organization, later known as the
In the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was awarded nearly $50 million by a foundation to help reform Chicago schools.
Obama was the first chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Republicans have been highlighting his ties to Ayers through the group.
The Republican National Committee posted the National Review article on the RNC's Web site.
Obama was board chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for three years starting in 1995 and he remained on the board until the project closed in 2001.
The $49.2 million was the largest private gift ever made to Chicago schools. The money went to 250 schools in one of the nation's largest school districts.
That is almost like reporting. Yost makes no mention of the fact that Obama was asked about Ayers at the Philadelphia debate in April and described him as ""a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago...", rather than as "a guy I worked with on education reform for six years without accomplishing anything" (The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was ultimately judged a failure by the Annenberg Foundation.)
Yost makes no mention of the fact that the Obama website produced a "Fact Check" on the Obama/Ayers relationship which made no mention of this failed collaboration on education reform.
Yost makes no mention of the fact that previously the Obama campaign was telling reporters that (a) Obama and Ayers met through kids who went to the same school, or (b) Obama and Ayers first met in the second half of 1995 when Ayers hosted a campaign kick-off for Obama. Since Obama became chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge in January 1995, that was false.
In fact, its almost as if the Obama campaign has tried to conceal this Obama/Ayers relationship. And now some mysterious unnamed donor is continuing the cover-up by sitting on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge archives.
And Yost almost reports on it.
So what does it mean? Well, none of us can judge the relationship at this point since a lot of possibly important information is being concealed. But the fact of an ongoing cover-up might spark some journalist's curiosity.
And why the cover-up? My guess is that the Obama campaign recognizes that education reform is a hot topic with voters everywhere. Obama, the man with limited executive experience, might not want to highlight his executive belly-flop here, undertaken in partnership with a hard left unrepentant domestic terrorist. But that is just a guess.
NO MAOIST LEFT BEHIND: One of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grants was to former student radical Mike Klonsky. More awkwardness.
EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL: Credit where due - at least Mr. Yost noted the story. Take a guess as to whether we will see coverage in the paper or blog at the WaPo, the NY Times, and the LA Times. I say zero for six. But enterprising researchers can find lots of links to background articles in this old post.
GUESS AGAIN: OK, you're a highly paid Obama media consultant - what strategy do you recommend?
(a) Continued stonewall.
(b) Selective release to a few friendly reporters (pardon my redundancy) twenty minutes prior to the VP announcement; then next week and for the next two months, chant "Old news. We have answered those questions. Distraction. Hope. Change."
(c) Confess everything, including the Ayers disposal of Jimmy Hoffa.