Charles Babington, Coverup Artist
Posted by MEC on July 19, 2008
I first became aware of Charles Babington when I read a Washington Post article, soon after George W. Bush took the White House, that quoted Richard Perle saying encouraging things about Bush’s foreign policy skills (Charles Babington, “Leaders Urge Bush to Face Foreign Policy Issues.” Washington Post, 20 March 2001, no longer online). Babington portrayed Perle as a conservative (but nonpartisan) objective observer of the new Bush Administration — in reality, he’d been an adviser to the Bush campaign. When I wrote Babington to ask him why he’d chosen a Bush partisan to cite in the article, he claimed complete ignorance of Perle’s role.
Babington has not learned to choose his sources more carefully or fact-check himself. Which is another way of saying he’s still shilling for the Republicans as a reporter for the Associated Press:
John McCain was in his favorite campaign setting, a town hall meeting, when he spotted a promising target. “I’d love to recognize you first, sir,” the Republican presidential candidate said to a man in a Vietnam War veteran’s hat.
Instead of a softball opening question from a fellow vet, however, McCain got a lengthy harangue, as the man insisted the senator had opposed better medical benefits for veterans.
McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, politely said the man was mistaken. He finally broke it off, saying, “I’ll be glad to examine what your version of my record is.”
Babington’s account, using a loaded verb to portray the questioner as aggressive and McCain as forbearing, gives the impression that the man in the Vietnam War veteran’s hat was wrong. Babington’s covering up McCain’s lies about his record on veterans issues and the support he isn’t getting from veterans’ organizations.
Babington even tries to portray McCain’s “town halls” as somehow more democratic and courageous than Obama’s campaign appearances. But I don’t remember any reports of people being barred from entering an Obama event because they don’t agree with him on an issue (as described in Babington’s own article) or arrested for exercising First Amendment rights.
Straight Talk Express? So-called journalists like Babington make McCain’s campaign the Stenography Express.
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