The Associated Press's Charles Babington went so far over the top in his Monday morning dispatch on Republicans, the Obama administration's scandals, and the fall electoral landscape that it's hard to know where to begin.
The fingerprints of Obama administration operatives appear to be all over Babington's report, both in what's included and what's left out. Most notoriously, there is no mention whatsoever of the Veterans Administration scandal. Ah, but there's a specific reference to Democrats who complain that the Benghazi and IRS scandals have been "fading from national headlines" except at the specifically named Fox News. Excerpts from Babington's babbling follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In Animal House, when the members of Delta Tau Chi fraternity faced imminent expulsion for poor grades, they decided to take a "Road Trip!" to, as Wikipedia's plot summary indicates, "take their minds off their troubles."
The presidential keister-kissers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are in a similar quandary. Over the past seven weeks, they've seen their favorite president's "signature achievement" devolve simultaneously into an national joke (HealthCare.gov) and a national disgrace (millions of health insurance policy cancellations deliberately devised through regulations). This has led to their favorite party's national humiliation. We now know that its members' guarantee that "you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" — made by President Obama, 27 Democratic Party Senators, and surely dozens of leftist congresspersons and other party apparatchiks — was a deliberate deception. The party itself has been torn asunder, as patron saint Bill Clinton called on Obama to "honor his commitment." With all of this going on, the AP's Washington-based Charles Babington somehow decided that now would be the best time for a "Road Trip!" out west to show how awful the divisions are — in the Republican Party.
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration, as I demonstrated in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked.
This post will further show that polling data Babington cited near the end of his report contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked, and that polling data he cited near the end of his report (to be covered in Part 2) contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
You can tell that Babington's effort was something out of the ordinary, because the self-described "Essential Global Network" actually used the term "far left" in the story's headline and content. In a U.S. story, that almost never happens unless a reporter is quoting a far-leftists' conservative or moderate opponent. Usually, the only time you see "far left" used in U.S. AP content is to identify a person's placement in a photo. Excerpts from the story follow the jump.
In the liberal fantasyland that is the Associated Press, it's only Republican governors with an eye on 2016 that are fraught with potential problems that could end their campaigns before they begin. In their May 2 AP story, reporters Bob Lewis and Charles Babington sought to convince readers that the Republicans governors of Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida are all train wrecks.
Lewis and Babington focused in particular on Virginia's Bob McDonnell and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, who are unpopular in no small part because of moves they made on tax policy. McDonnell signed off on massive tax increases for transportation, while Jindal’s failed attempt to reform his state tax code -- making the state income tax free but boosting some sales taxes to make up for lost revenue -- has eroded his once-stellar popularity. Of course, plenty of Democratic governors thinking about 2016 also hiked taxes, but they were curiously left out of the mix.
I guess we had better start paying closer attention to how the establishment press labels -- and mislabels -- congressional districts.
The headline at the Associated Press at a lengthy column composed by Charles Babington bemoaning the lack of willingness of Ohio First District Congressman Steve Chabot to "compromise," i.e., sell out his principles, reads as follows: "PARTISAN DISCORD FINDS ROOTS IN TOSS-UP DISTRICTS." Uh, Chabot won the district in the 2012 elections by 20 points. Babington's attempt to justify the "toss-up" classification also falls flat:
Yesterday, James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web had this to say about the title of an Associated Press report ("Obama Defends Tenor of His Campaign, Slams Romney") covering President Obama's four-question "press conference" -- "The writer of this Associated Press headline is either witty or clueless."
The underlying writeup by Jim Kuhnhenn and Charles Babington wasn't witty, and was at least as clueless, especially in letting the howler about how Obama was supposedly able to "distance himself" from the "Mitt Romney caused my wife to die of cancer" meme his own campaign associated itself with earlier this year (verbiage relating to the Todd Akin situation in Missouri is also in the report; I'll defer to others in that matter; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In covering GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's appearance at the annual National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis yesterday, Associated Press aka Adminstration's Press reporter Charles Babington pretended to know nothing about President Barack Obama's opposition to basic Second Amendment rights. At least I hope he was pretending, because Obama's hostility to the right to keep and bear arms is longstanding, well-known, and did not stop when he swore an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution" on January 20, 2009.
I have excerpted Babington's first four paragraphs plus three others. I will follow that with a rundown of Obama's pre-2008 gun-hostile record, his meeting with the Brady group in May 2011, and this "little" thing called Operation Fast and Furious Babington and his establishment media colleagues have mostly deliberately ignored for well over a year (bolds are mine throughout this post; HT to a frequent emailer):
When I saw the headline at last night dispatch from the Associated Press's Charles Babington on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his campaign ("Romney rebuts claims that he, GOP are anti-women") I thought that the Obama administration and Babington's employer, also known as the Administration's Press, might finally be throwing the inane "war on women" meme into the dustbin. After the Hilary Rosen disaster of the past 36 hours, that would seem wise.
The headline's reference to rebuttal leads one to believe that Romney had successfully "refute(d) by evidence or argument" the utter garbage the left's "war on women" accusation against Republicans and conservatives has always been. I should have known better. The headline doesn't reflect the underlying article at all, leading one to hope that most readers stop right there. Babington's report is so disgracefully over-the-top it deserves its own wing in the Journalism Hall of Shame (bolds and numbered tags, which cover only a portion of the journalistic offenses committed in Babington's full write-up, are mine):
It's truly delicious when the outfit which calls itself the Essential Global News Network essentially admits that a certain economic theory which begins with a "K" has become such an undesirable word -- almost an epithet -- that it avoids its mention.
That was the case with a pathetic critique of GOP candidates' economic plans written up by the wire service's Charles Babington on Sunday. When I saw its headline ("Studies challenge wisdom of GOP candidates' plans"), I blew past the story because I expected the same-old, same-old. Then an emailer with a journalistic background informed me that it was even worse than usual. He's so right that I can't possibly pick it apart without writing a book; so I'll just concentrate on the paragraph containing the theory with no name and the one which immediately follows it:
Based on a report filed earlier today and time-stamped 8:16 p.m. as of when this post was prepared, it would appear that the last thing Associated Press writers Charles Babington and Kasie Hunt want is a competitive Republican primary season, and that they'll twist reality and the numbers to fit their meme. Oh, and in case you haven't gotten the establishment press memo, Rick Perry is still Mitt Romney's only real competitor.
Funny, I don't remember the AP or anyone else in the establishment press calling Hillary Clinton's nomination "inevitable" in October 2007, when, according to Real Clear Politics (RCP), Ms. Clinton was outpolling Barack Obama by an average of 24 points in 18 polls (and by probably more over John Edwards, though that info wasn't available at RCP).
The opening sentence of Charles Babington's "objective report" about the possible extension of what was billed late last year as a "temporary payroll tax cut" reads like a Democratic National Committee press release: "News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes."
It doesn't get any better until the final paragraph. Babington's babble is otherwise a long-winded, chidish taunt about the supposed hypocrisy of anyone who would like to see a program which, for all its very considerable faults, at least ran a cash surplus for several decades get into the neighborhood of where taxes collected almost equal disbursements.
To be fair to the Associated Press's Charles Babington, he may not have written the headline applied to his early analysis ("Obama wants big 2012 campaign map, GOP wants small") of how the presidential electoral map looks. But what he wrote essentially fits the headline, but didn't provide any evidence that the Republican Party is only focusing on winning back the states lost by John McCain in 2008 which George W. Bush won in 2004 to get past the 270 electoral votes needed to retake the presidency.
Here are several paragraphs from Babington's coverage (numbered tags are mine):
“GOP presidential contenders drift to the right,” reads the headline over a Monday night dispatch by the AP’s Charles Babington who devoted an entire story to fears “Republican candidates are drifting rightward on a range of issues, even though more centrist stands might play well in the 2012 general election.” (I caught a shortened version in Tuesday’s Washington Examiner.)
“Independents,” the Associated Press White House correspondent warned, “may be far less enamored of hard-right positions than are the GOP activists.” He soon repeated the “hard-right” pejorative as he relayed how “some in Obama's camp,” as if they are genuinely concerned for Republicans or offer any kind of reliable political insight, “say the presidential contenders risk locking themselves into hard-right positions that won't play well.”
With the loss of party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter Tuesday night, AP political writer Charles Babington was assigned the obligatory story "Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats." It's a fairly routine analysis until Babington had an Andrea Mitchell moment when he called Scott Brown's Senate win "excruciating." (In 1990, Mitchell told NBC viewers after a Jesse Helms victory that "This has been a really heartbreaking race.")
In previous months, Obama's endorsements and campaign appearances weren't enough to save then-Gov. Jon Corzine's re-election bid in New Jersey, Creigh Deeds' run for governor in Virginia or Martha Coakley's campaign in Massachusetts to keep the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat in Democratic hands.
In fairness, Deeds was an underdog from the start, and Corzine brought many problems on himself. But the Coakley loss to Republican Scott Brown was excruciating. She once was considered a shoo-in, and her defeat restored the Republicans' ability to block Democratic bills with Senate filibusters.
If Babington had said it was "excruciating for Democrats," it would have been unremarkable. Instead it sounded like "it was excruciating for me."
Associated Press writers haven’t overcome their tendency to describe President Obama’s plans as "audacious" – like they'd just finished leafing through their well-worn copy of Obama’s campaign book The Audacity of Hope. On Friday, a Charles Babington political analysis began:
President Barack Obama's bid to overhaul the U.S. health care system was in doubt Thursday as lawmakers rejected the quickest route for achieving it in the aftermath of a major Republican political victory.
Defeat for Obama's audacious plan would be a major setback for the president one year into his four-year term. He made health care his most important domestic priority but has seen support for it among the populace dwindling in recent polls, apparently overtaken by public worry over the state of the economy.
The Associated Press should seriously consider renaming itself "Associated Dems" or "Associated Leftists."
This morning, the AP's Charles Babington uncritically relays the latest Democratic Party talking point about its statist health care plan that has been passed in two very different forms in the House and Senate. The supposed point is that anyone who voted to create Medicare Part D in 2003 and voted against ObamaCare is "obviously" a flaming hypocrite.
Along the way, Babington ignores a Congressional Budget Office report response issued just before Christmas asserting that characterizations of the Senate's bill as reducing future government deficits are wrong. Beyond that, the litany of other distortions and errors in Babington's report is perversely impressive in its no-fib-or-spin-left-behind comprehensiveness.
Here are the first several paragraphs of Babington's babble, followed by its final sentence:
GOP lawmakers change tune on costly health plans
Democrats are troubled by the inconsistency of Republican lawmakers who approved a major Medicare expansion six years ago that has added tens of billions of dollars to federal deficits, but oppose current health overhaul plans.
Kudos to Steve Ertelt at LifeNews.com (the source of the graphic at the right) and to others in the pro-life community for getting the notoriously stubborn Associated Press to effectively back down on a false claim it made about the availability of abortion services in the version of the health care bill passed by a House Committee last week.
The Associated Press is coming under criticism from pro-life advocates who say its recent wrap-up article on the health care debate is misleading.
AP writer Charles Babington wrote a "fact check" story attempting to make the case that abortion is not included in the health care bills and that President Barack Obama doesn't want it to be included.
But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, says that's not the case.
In an "analysis" on how President Obama is dealing with the race issue, AP writer Charles Babington seems to have based his take on what happened to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the assumption that Gates was arrested for being black in his home, not that he was arrested for disorderly conduct and for his outrageous disrespect for a police officer -- something to which other police officers involved attest, officers that are themselves minorities.
Babington so soft-pedals Obama's gaffe against the police officers, leaving out so many details that, after reading the story, one finds it difficult to understand why Obama's words were so controversial. And it's all in a seeming effort to cover for the president and try to help him reclaim the high ground on race in America. The whole Babington piece appears to be far more of an effort to smooth the waters for Obama instead of provide any actual analysis of the incident.
Calling Obama's reaction to the Gates arrest "understated" and "perhaps obvious," Babington goes on to say that Gates was arrested in his home -- without giving any context at all -- and assumes that even with Obama in the White House race is still a major problem in America.
AP political writer Charles Babington underlined how President Obama hoped to "divide and conquer" Republicans as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will "embrace" Obama's alleged stimulus on Thursday. Obama's opponents are hardliners, but his GOP friends have no label:
Republican governors have had mixed reactions to the massive measure. Some hardline conservatives, such as Mark Sanford of South Carolina, have rejected portions of the economic bounty.
Other GOP governors, including Charlie Crist of Florida, have welcomed Obama and the stimulus money. Schwarzenegger is casting his lot with that group.
No "hardline conservatives" were allowed to speak against Obama in the Babington piece. But he suggests Obama will be playing a dashing political role:
As Gov. Bobby Jindal began to offer a Republican response, it became apparent that he would be no match with Barack Obama in the soaring-oratory department. The Republicans really should have tried a gimmick instead. Perhaps Jindal could have simply walked on and said, "Today, the president held what he called a fiscal responsibility summit." He could afford a wide smile at that point, knowing his audience had erupted in laughter.
Honestly, now: Are we quite ready finally to declare the Era of Obama As Fiscally Conservative is over? Last year, Republicans warned that Barack Obama was ultraliberal – a socialist, in fact – but the media handlers typically presented this as a conservative smear. Instead, they painted Obama as an aspiring moderate-Republican deficit reducer. Take New York Times economics writer David Leonhardt last August: "Obama’s aides optimistically insist he will reduce it [the deficit], thanks to his tax increases on the affluent and his plan to wind down the Iraq war. Relative to McCain, whose promised spending cuts are extremely vague, Obama does indeed look like a fiscal conservative."
It’s natural for someone to lose a job and then say it really wasn’t important and desirable any way. That’s kind of the sound of Associated Press reporter Charles Babington made in a defensive news analysis on Friday after Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary. "Obscure post gives Obama big headache" was the headline. The analysis began:
Quick, who headed the Commerce Department under President George W. Bush?
No disrespect to Carlos M. Gutierrez, but commerce secretary is not one of Washington's more glamorous jobs. It's overshadowed by first-tier Cabinet posts at Justice, State, Defense and Treasury. Scores of senators, House members, Supreme Court justices and White House aides would draw more attention at a Georgetown cocktail party or Dupont Circle restaurant.
Yesterday was Pity the Poor President Day in Old Media.
Early last night, I noted how the Associated Press's Ben Feller chose to characterize an already-planned visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to a DC elementary school as an "escape" that "surely made him happy for a while."
A few hours ago, NB's Brent Baker reported with amazement the absurd attempts by CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams to portray Obama -- who either allowed poor vetting by his team or was nonchalant about the tax and other irregularities they found -- as somehow being a "culture of Washington" victim. Zheesh.
Analysis: GOP gambles in opposing Obama stimulus By CHARLES BABINGTON and LIZ SIDOTI AP White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.
At least two of these folks come with a history. Charles Babington, when at the Washington Post, and Jennifer Loven, in her current position as Democratic flack for the AP, each have a history of writing briefs for the current Democratic position disguised as news reporting or analysis, with Loven having trouble interpreting polls correctly.
WASHINGTON (AP) Eight days after Barack Obama took office as a "change" president, House Republicans have made a huge political gamble that could set the tone for the next election cycle. In unanimously opposing the massive spending bill that Obama says is crucial to reviving the economy, they signaled they are not cowed by his November win or his calls for a new era of bipartisanship.
The hosannas have already been sung in numerous stories of this variety from earlier in the campaign, but for some reason Babington thought fit to chronicle the cries of adulation from the Illinois senator's faithful followers (emphases mine; h/t e-mail tipster Joe Loiacono):
Only a fraction of the thousands of people who attend Obama's larger rallies manage to touch him. They arrive hours early, stand and cheer during his speech, and then scream, jump and sometimes cry out in joy when he uses both hands to briefly press their arms, hands, fingers.
The Associated Press's Charles Babington, the journalist Keith Olbermann attacked in August for having the nerve to criticize Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, wrote a McCain-bashing article Thursday evening that should get a standing ovation from the "Countdown" host.
The piece entitled "Dems, Some in GOP Question McCain's Intervention" probably evoked so much applause from the Obama campaign and Congressional Democrats Thursday night that they must have wondered if their operatives wrote it.
In fact, when you look at the first eight paragraphs of this article, you'll also likely think someone in either the Obama campaign or Howard Dean's office was responsible (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann made his support for Barack Obama even clearer Thursday when moments after the junior senator from Illinois accepted his party's nomination as president, the "Countdown" host assailed an Associated Press writer for having the nerve to not be as enthralled with the Messiah's address as he was.
In Olbermann's crosshairs on this occasion was Charles Babington who penned an article that largely mirrored the opinions offered on Fox News by liberal contributors Juan Williams and Nina Easton: the speech was short on specifics.
This didn't sit well with Olbermann who said the following (video embedded right) :
AP political reporter Charles Babington, who recently touted "ample evidence that Obama is something special," is now warning that Obama is bracing against "race-based ads." Recent examples of "racially tinged" TV images like Obama wearing a turban and native Kenyan gear are "harbingers" of conservative 527-group ads to come. Babington then typically recounted the usual liberal-media suspects on racial politics – the Willie Horton ad and the crumpled-letter ad from Jesse Helms.
But he typically ignored acidulous race-baiting liberal commercials like the NAACP in 2000 suggesting that George W. Bush was dragging black victim James Byrd to death behind a pickup all over again, and the Missouri Democratic Party ad in 1998 that claimed: "When you don’t vote, you let enough church explode.When you don't vote, you let another cross burn." Babington implied that the history of nasty racial politics is a one-way avenue:
Catching up with a fawning Associated Press story on Barack Obama from last Saturday, “Obama rises from political obscurity to verge of history,” on Friday the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto ridiculed the sycophant approach taken by the AP's Charles Babington, formerly of the Washington Post. Babington trumpeted in the May 10 dispatch: “There's ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn't sound Pollyannaish.” Taranto, in his May 16 “Best of the Web Today” online compilation, poked fun at Babington:
Is Barack Obama merely something special, or is he truly extraordinary? Babington can't take a position on that. He's a professional reporter, after all, and has to maintain his detachment. But he does report that “without question, Obama is an electrifying speaker,” that “Obama has a compelling biography, too,” and that “for a politician with only four years of experience at the federal level, Obama also has spot-on instincts, associates say, and a steely confidence in his convictions, in good times and bad.”