Ron Radosh

Joe Scarborough is Out to Lunch while his program's Guest, Bill Ayers, Spews Unchallenged Propaganda

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This morning on MSNBC, Morning Joe did its viewers a major disservice, by reserving its book spot for none other than Bill Ayers, who was there to plug his new memoir Public Enemy: Memoirs of an American Dissident. To make matters even worse, Joe Scarborough, on set for all the other segments, mysteriously disappeared after the break. Ayers was left to be questioned by the non-threatening (not to say Scarborough would have been hostile to Ayers, but as a self-described conservative, he would by nature have offended Ayers’ sensibilities) Mika Brzezinski and journalist Mark Halperin.

The entire segment was structured as a propaganda coup for Ayers. It began with clips from Sarah Palin at 2008 campaign events, including the famous one in which she referred to Barack Obama as “palling around with terrorists.” If you watch the segment from the beginning, nothing Palin said is actually objectionable or wrong, although it was clearly broadcast again to show how unfair the vice-presidential candidate was to poor victim Bill Ayers.

Showing her own ignorance, Brzezinski welcomed him as a “founder of the militant anti-war group the Weather Underground.” In saying this, she from the start allowed Ayers to falsely paint himself for the benefit of his book sales and for the purpose of gaining his TV audience’s confidence.

Anyone at all familiar with Ayers and the WU knows that their goal was to destroy the “Amerikan Empire,” to bring down capitalism and build a revolutionary communist state, and to use force and violence — and bombings of police stations, Army recruitment centers, and, of course, the actual failed attempt to bomb a dance for new recruits at Fort Dix — as part of the necessary actions to destroy capitalism and act in a revolutionary fashion while living “in the belly of the beast.” A simple five-minute Google search could have found scores of articles about what Ayers really believes, including the many I wrote for PJ Media from 2008 on. Or Brzezinski could have picked up Peter Collier and David Horowitz’s classic Destructive Generation and, in one chapter, learned all they needed to know.

The real love affair occurred between Ayers and co-host  Mika Brzezinski, whom Ayers flattered by saying how wonderful she would be in a real conversation about the war and the ’60s, and with whom he stressed he agreed on educational questions.

Halperin at least tried to get Ayers to explain himself, and quoted two lines from his book in which Ayers wrote how he would not apologize for anything he had done. But Halperin knows little about the ’60s and what the Weather Underground and Ayers actually stood for, and hence his questions turned out to be softballs. Ayers responded by painting his actions falsely as simply part of the broad anti-war movement that was necessary and correct when the United States was killing thousands of innocent Vietnamese citizens every day. After all, Ayers told Halperin, the U.S. was “waging a genocidal war.”

Ayers got away with presenting himself not as a revolutionary Marxist but as someone who seeks to advance his goals through educational reform meant to create a future generation of leftists through using education to attain revolution — he of course uses the less offensive term “social justice” — as he still tries to hide his own actual views and activities. Had they done some research, they might have asked Ayers why he stood by the side of the late Hugo Chavez and endorsed his regime’s agenda as the one he sought to implement in the United States. Instead, Brzezinski smiled and nodded in approval at every word spoken by Ayers.

Ayers said one thing that is true: He noted that he still is trying to prove true to the “passions and activism” that inspired him decades ago. But since he got away with hiding what these really were and how what he does today is meant to have them succeed in new situations, Morning Joe allowed him to use their program as a vehicle for his subterfuge. Might Brzezinski have asked him about how he and Dohrn organized the violent Hamas-backed flotilla a few years ago meant to help destroy Israel? Evidently, she did not even know about it or perhaps did and preferred not to raise such a divisive issue to a guest she only had kind words for.

Ayers said how happy he would be to have a dialogue which, he said to the smiling Mika, she could “be a community organizer for.” It would include “everyone from Henry Kissinger to John Kerry to Bob Kerrey to me, to Angela Davis, to Bernadine Dohrn, to Jane Fonda” and he would have them all sit down and say what they were sorry for. Notice he did not include John McCain or any of the other POWs who were brutally tortured by his “innocent” Vietnamese comrades. “In that company,” Ayers said, “I would be fine and would say what I’m sorry about.” Since that gathering never will take place, Ayers can keep on saying he has nothing to apologize for.

The very subtitle of his book, in which he refers to himself as an “American dissident,” is an insult to all the real dissidents of the former Soviet Union, today’s Communist Cuba, or today’s China, all of whom suffered greatly and still suffer today in the little Gulags that still exist, or are hardly little, if one includes North Korea. Bill Ayers is welcomed on major network TV programs, hardly a fate any real dissident ever experienced.

The only thing left is for MSNBC to offer Ayers his own program. Don’t think that is impossible. And once again, why did you leave the set, Joe? Were you told to disappear, or was it a private statement of your disapproval of Ayers appearing on your program? Your viewers are owed an explanation.