The Op-Ed the New York Times Wouldn't Run

On December 5, the New York Times afforded former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers a chance to publish an op-ed, in which he defends himself from various charges made during the 2008 presidential campaign. That Ayers was given such an opportunity by the Times seems extraordinary; Barack Obama's other mentors, former pastor Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger, were subjected to as much public scrutiny as Ayers for their extremist politics and multi-decade associations with the president-elect, and yet it seems only Ayers was presented editorial space in the Times to defend himself. Perhaps even more extraordinary, however, is that the Times allowed Ayers to publish obvious lies about his terrorist past and rejected a rebuttal by the former FBI informant who lived through the history Ayers tried to rewrite.

Ayers claimed in his fantasy that:

I never killed or injured anyone. I did join the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, and later resisted the draft and was arrested in nonviolent demonstrations. I became a full-time antiwar organizer for Students for a Democratic Society. In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village. The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices -- the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious -- as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety, and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be -- and still is being -- debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.

Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.

Ayers' editorial was poorly written fiction, a fact that perhaps Larry Grathwohl knows better than anyone. Grathwohl was the only informant to successfully penetrate the Underground for the FBI and personally lived through the history Ayers so desperately desires to rewrite.

In hopes of correcting the lies that Ayers put in print, Grathwohl twice submitted an op-ed of his own to the Times to rebut Ayers. The editors rejected Grathwohl's op-ed, stating in a curt December 12 email:

Dear Mr. Grathwohl,

Because this is a direct response to an op-ed, it should be directed to our letters department.

Please email them at [email protected].


The Op-Ed Staff

Grathwohl's subsequent submission to the Times was then ignored. The rejected submission is now being run below as a Pajamas Media exclusive.