The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against Barack Obama

The Associated Press decides to double down in its attacks on Barack Obama. Here's the headline from Charles Babington's "analysis" of Obama's speech tonight:

Analysis: Obama spares details, keeps up attacks

Amazingly, it actually gets worse, reading almost exactly like Republican talking points (and in fact parroting that exact spin).

Barack Obama, whose campaign theme is "change we can believe in," promised Thursday to "spell out exactly what that change would mean."

But instead of dwelling on specifics, he laced the crowning speech of his long campaign with the type of rhetorical flourishes that Republicans mock and the attacks on John McCain that Democrats cheer. The country saw a candidate confident in his existing campaign formula: tie McCain tightly to President Bush, and remind voters why they are unhappy with the incumbent.

It is not until after the lede that Babington admits that 35-minute speeches are rarely chock full of details -- particularly those that are enthralling to a crowd. (By the way, it is also below the lede that Babington admits that the Obama speech did actually include specifics.) But this admission misses a key point. Babington, and the Republicans pushing this line of spin to him, set up a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for Obama -- either he delivers a compelling speech, which they deride as rhetoric, or he delivers an excessively policy-laden speech, prompting calls that he is too professorial.

What a true journalist would do would be to analyze the speech without using the crutch of opposition talking points, without resorting to the easiest "he said, she said" type of stenography. But apparently this is no longer the policy of the Associated Press under Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier -- a man, by the way, who spent months in talks with the McCain campaign about possibly accepting a senior level position. No, what we get out of Fournier's AP is pure and unadulterated talking points that are as non-germane as they are simply incorrect.

Update [2008-8-28 23:59:59 by Jonathan Singer]:Chris Cillizza shoots down the AP's nonesense...

"Obama's speech was more substance than style; more specifics than rhetorical flourish."

Update [2008-8-29 0:20:3 by Jonathan Singer]:The Boston Globe agrees with Cillizza: "Analysis: Obama gets specific, and tough"

It's time, then, once again to contact Fournier's boss, Kathleen Carroll at kcarroll@ap.org or (212) 621-1500 to let her know that you do not want the AP to serve as a stenographer and amplifier for pure spin from the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee. You can also participate in the direct action by MoveOn or FireDogLake. Be POLITE, but be FIRM, and above all speak your mind.

Update [2008-8-29 0:7:14 by Jonathan Singer]: Oy vey. Really? More attacks on Obama from the Associated Press? How long can this organization countenance Fournier sullying its more than century and a half of good reputation?

Update [2008-8-29 0:20:3 by Jonathan Singer]: Wow, just wow. Babington apparently wrote his article before Obama was finished giving his speech.

Tags: Associated Press, Barack Obama, John McCain, Ron Fournier, White House 2008 (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against

Olbermann just called out Babington and the AP.

by Dreorg 2008-08-28 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against

That speech wasn't 35 minutes, it was 42 minutes, and the content was exactly the opposite of what the guy describes.  What an Asshat.  The AP is destroyed.

by ArkansasLib 2008-08-28 07:51PM | 0 recs
DONE.

Mrs. Carrol,

As a journalism student, I was both sad and excited as the venerable newspaper was being slowly replaced by the internet news site.

My great-grandfather, an immigrant from Lebanon, read four newspapers daily: two in English, and two in his native Arabic. I, myself do my best to read my cities two newspapers daily (The Inquirer and the Daily News), not out of some wistful desire to honor my forebears, but because there is no replacement for the feeling of paper and ink in your hands.

It is with this in mind that I am disappointed that your great and historic organization has abandoned it's oath of integrity to become a parrot for the most short-sided and blatant of Republican and conservative talking points.

I don't want to stop buying newspapers, Mrs. Carrol, but you're making it less and less attractive to do so.

Respectfully,
Danny Bauder

by dannybauder 2008-08-28 07:55PM | 0 recs
Can I only Mojo you once?

by chrisblask 2008-08-28 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Can I only Mojo you once?

Yeah, you can only rate a comment once. But if you really like my comment, send Kathleen Carroll an email, too!

kcarroll@ap.org

by dannybauder 2008-08-28 08:07PM | 0 recs
Done

by chrisblask 2008-08-28 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against

http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/a roundthetable/babington.html

Here's his picture.  If you see him spit or don't break in traffic.

by yitbos96bb 2008-08-28 08:01PM | 0 recs
Dude's gonna get canned.

Newspapers across the country will stop using them, or at least will complain very vocally. The AP is designed to be the GENERIC news service. The one that other people add flourishes onto.

by vcalzone 2008-08-28 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War

For my small part I will no longer click on or link to any AP stories, just as I don't watch or link to FOX LIES.

But the video footage of Obama's brilliant speech will trump an AP story that will be in newspapers few even read these days.

by Obama44 2008-08-28 08:07PM | 0 recs
Enough!

I e-mailed last time.  Now his boss is getting a phone call.  Daily if need be.

by fogiv 2008-08-28 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against

We will not let this slide, AP!

Heading over to Kos to see what the next move is.

No more Dukakis, Gore or Kerry.

This year, Dems fight back and like Biden's Mom said, we bloody their nose.

Tough on terrorists and tough on media hacks!

by Tad 2008-08-28 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War

Olbermann is all over this article calling it utter and complete BS.  He wonders if they even watched the speech.  That can't be helpful to the AP or Fournier.  

by jmnyc 2008-08-28 08:28PM | 0 recs
Rate them down

I'd suggest that folks with yahoo ids click through to the AP articles on Yahoo and rate them 1 star as well. I certainly don't recommend that article to anyone.

by letterc 2008-08-28 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War

Looking around on yahoo, I ran across a Reuter's article that has what I think may be the saddest, weakest attack on Obama I could imagine, from a random Republican:


"It was a feel-good speech. It made you think about yourself and where you wanted the United States to go. It was just him making you feel good for the purpose of him getting elected," Lindsey said.

When the worst criticism Reuters reporters can find of Obama's speech is that it "made you think about yourself and where you wanted the United States to go," the Republicans are at a loss for words.

by letterc 2008-08-28 09:07PM | 0 recs
my email to Ms. Carroll

Subject: More "Fair and Balanced" AP?

Re Charles Babington's ridiculous write-up of something other than Obama's speech -- since that clearly was NOT what he was describing: It would have been a good idea for him to wait until the speech was over to begin writing. If he had actually listened to it, he might have drawn a different conclusion (and gotten the length of the speech right).

How do you people look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning? Better question: if you have kids, how do you look them in the eye and tell them with a straight face the value of being truthful?!

Shame on you!

[Jim in Chicago]

by Jim in Chicago 2008-08-28 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War

With Rove and Noonan praising Bill Clinton's speech, I thought it couldn't get weirder. Until I found the YouTube of Buchanan effusively praising Barack's as the best politician speech he ever heard.

by KevinHayden 2008-08-28 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Associated Press Keeps Up its War Against

That Babington dude is a jealous bigot.

by nzubechukwu 2008-08-29 01:34AM | 0 recs

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