Megyn Kelly (AP/Richard Drew)

Megyn Kelly's awkward Bill Ayers interview: It turns out there are people to Obama's left!

The Fox News host tries to link Obama to the Weather Underground co-founder. Sadly, they don't have much in common


Jim Newell
July 2, 2014 10:45PM (UTC)

It may have been Fox News host Megyn Kelly's biggest "get" yet: a TWO-PART EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers (EXCLUSIVE). "It was in his living room," the opening narration for Part 2 of the interview that aired last night began, "that a then-unknown Barack Obama launched his political career. A domestic terrorist who avoided real jail time and isn't sorry for bombing America." Camera footage shows Ayers, looking jovial, walking around hallways, presumably plotting further liberal terror in the name of his soul mate, the mysterious 44th president.

Ever since the story about Barack Obama going to Bill Ayers' house once in 1995 at the start of his first Illinois state Senate campaign broke, this has been the line: Barack Obama launched his political career at the house of a radical left-wing terrorist. Sarah Palin's famous riff about Obama "pallin' around with terrorists" is the more folksy version. The implication on the right has always been that during that meeting, Obama and Ayers mapped out their long-con to seize control of the reins of American power and institute a regime of violent Communism from the inside. Now, that project is almost complete.

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It's not entirely clear why Bill Ayers would break his relative public silence on the set of "The Kelly File." Perhaps for a laugh? We get it, sure. In the interview, he's relatively candid about his belief that he and fellow members of the Weather Underground were right to bomb American property in protest of the Vietnam War, and suggests that they should have destroyed more. He doesn't acquit himself perfectly. Several times he's asked about over-the-top things he and his wife, fellow Undergrounder Bernadine Dohrn, have either written about or reportedly said back in the day. He denies that these things were ever said or written, and the media is just lying. He'd come across better if he just took his lumps and admitted, Yeah, we said some stupid crap.

But it doesn't really matter, because Ayers is just a professor in Illinois and not the target of this Megyn Kelly EXCLUSIVE sit-down. That would be Barack Obama, who -- to repeat -- went inside Bill Ayers' house once in the 1990s and may have even sat on a couch there or accepted an offer of coffee or iced tea. Near the end of the interview, Kelly gets to the point: What is Bill Ayers' relationship with his fellow radical left-winger, the president of the United States? Do they looooooove each other?

KELLY: Well, many members of the Weather Underground are now in academia. President Obama, let me ask you this, how much ideology did the two of you share?

AYERS: Zero.

KELLY: Good friends, not good friends?

AYERS: I knew him as well as he knew 10,000 other people, and today I wish I knew him much better, and I wish he had listened to me.

KELLY: Did he ever contact you once you became the story in his presidential race?

AYERS: Absolutely not. And I didn't contact him.

KELLY: The entire time he's been president, you haven't been in contact --

AYERS: Never. No. Although I wish I were, because I have a lot of advice for him.

KELLY: You want him to go further to the left.

AYERS: Oh, I want him to stop droning people. I want him to close Guantanamo, I want him to, you know, universal health care. Don't you think we deserve universal health care? Seriously. Medicare for all.

This could be a breakthrough of truth for Fox News if it was interested in breaking through to the truth. It might suggest that ... Barack Obama is a pretty standard center-left Democrat instead of a radical left-winger, and actual lefties have a lot of problems with his policies? No, no, that can't be the case at all. Ayers must be lying about his contact with Obama. After the interview he probably contacted Obama on their private telegraph line and transmitted the message, "MR. PREMIER: STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIVERSION DATE 07-01-14 ACCOMPLISHED. APOCALYPSE DEVICE 666 PLACED. ACQUIRING COORDINATE VORTEX. -- B.A."

The attempts to link Obama and Ayers as deeply as possible have taken comical turns over the years. Conservative investigative maker-upper guy Jack Cashill believed (still believes?) that Bill Ayers was the ghostwriter for Obama's memoir "Dreams From My Father." This rumor spread widely on the hinterlands of the conservative Internet and email chains. A couple of times, when reporters or right-wingers would spot Ayers in public and ask him if he wrote "Dreams," Ayers would jokingly say, Oh yeah, that was me, definitely. Many, many conservative writers didn't catch the dripping sarcasm. "If it pans out, that is to my mind a very big story," National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote, in one of his all-time-unniest blog posts in a career filled with them. (Sadly, National Review has since taken this one down.)

It's entertaining stuff when Fox News interviews real leftists, and hopefully they'll do more -- not just attention-seeking carnival barkers or ones with famously tarnished pasts like Bill Ayers. But doing so is a real risk to their business model. Because as soon as leftists start listing their many complaints about Barack Obama, it disrupts the narrative -- on which a lot of time and money has been staked -- that Obama represents the radical leftward pole of the American political spectrum. God forbid that rainmaker run loose.


Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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