On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, correspondent Louise Schiavone aired a video clip of Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for his association with Bill Ayers, but neither Schiavone nor Lou Dobbs noted that Chapman has also repeatedly criticized Sen. John McCain for his association with G. Gordon Liddy, whom Chapman has called McCain's “own Bill Ayers.”
On the October 7 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Louise Schiavone aired a video clip of Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for what host Lou Dobbs described as Obama's “relationship with 1960s radical terrorist William Ayers.” But neither Schiavone nor Dobbs noted that Chapman has also repeatedly criticized Sen. John McCain for his association with the person Chapman has called McCain's “own Bill Ayers” -- radio host and convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy -- and has written that "[i]f Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy." Indeed, in a post published on his Tribune blog earlier on October 7, Chapman wrote: “While Obama has gotten lots of scrutiny for his connection to Ayers, McCain has never had to explain his association with Liddy. If he can't defend it, he should admit as much. And if he thinks he can defend it, let him.”
According to a search of the Nexis database, CNN has yet to mention McCain's association with Liddy during the 2008 presidential campaign -- from McCain's November 15, 2006, announcement that he was planning to form a presidential exploratory committee through October 6, 2008.*
As Media Matters for America has documented in detail, Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in “if necessary”; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a “gangland figure” to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap “leftist guerillas” at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The murder, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.) During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Liddy has donated $5,000 to McCain's campaigns since 1998, including $1,000 in February 2008. In addition, McCain has appeared on Liddy's radio show during the presidential campaign, including as recently as May. An online video labeled, “John McCain On The G. Gordon Liddy Show 11/8/07,” includes a discussion between Liddy and McCain, whom Liddy described as an “old friend.” During the segment, McCain praised Liddy's “adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great,” said he was “proud” of Liddy, and said that “it's always a pleasure for me to come on your program.”
Additionally, in 1998, Liddy reportedly held a fundraiser at his home for McCain. Liddy was reportedly scheduled to speak at another fundraiser for McCain in 2000. The Charlotte Observer reported on January 23, 2000, that McCain's campaign vouched for Liddy's “character”:
[McCain] campaign officials said Liddy's character will appeal to many voters because he was following orders from President Nixon and kept silent afterward.
“His (Liddy's) judgment might be in question, but I don't think his character is,” said Ed Walker, the York County chairman of McCain's campaign. “He was following orders just like any good soldier, and he didn't tell on anybody. He felt like he was on a mission and kept his silence.”
Liddy's 2000 speech was reportedly canceled due to bad weather.
As Media Matters previously noted, in an October 4 article, The New York Times quoted Chapman denouncing Obama's association with Ayers but did not note Chapman's denunciations of McCain for his association with Liddy.
From the October 7 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: One topic that is very likely to come up in tonight's debate is Senator Barack Obama's relationship with 1960s radical terrorist William Ayers. The McCain campaign says the relationship raises serious concerns about Senator Obama's judgment and his character. Louise Schiavone joins me now with more on the Obama-Ayers relationship. Louise.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, Barack Obama and '60s radical William Ayers go back at least 13 years, when it's reported they were introduced in a Democratic Party ally's living room. They've collaborated on community projects since then, although Obama rejects suggestions that he and Ayers are allies in radical politics. But, there are skeptics.
OBAMA [video clip]: The notion that somehow, as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense.
CHAPMAN [video clip]: I think it does make sense. I think Ayers is a guy who set off a bomb in the United States Capitol, in the same Capitol where Barack Obama serves as a senator. I mean, he was a guy who was at war with the American Democratic system.
SCHIAVONE: Ayers, in fact, is famously quoted in The New York Times in 2001, before the 9-11 attacks, as having said of the Weather Underground violence, quote, “I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough,” end quote. Obama directed $50 million in Annenberg Challenge grants to various programs in Chicago schools, including some Ayers education projects. Annenberg funds also went to a left-wing community action group called ACORN, which, as you know, Lou, is now under investigation for voter fraud and embezzlement.
DOBBS: In a number of jurisdictions, shall we say. Louise, thank you very much. Louise Schiavone.
* Media Matters searched the Nexis database for CNN for “McCain and Liddy”