Associated Press takes heat for ‘garbage’ obituary of conservative writer Bre Payton

The Associated Press was slammed last week for publishing a “garbage” obituary of Bre Payton, a conservative writer at The Federalist and frequent guest on television news outlets including Fox News Channel.

Payton died at age 26 after reportedly contracting the H1N1 flu virus and possibly meningitis. Her sudden death was mourned by figures throughout the news industry, but AP drew sharp criticism for an obit that “wasn’t so friendly,” according to NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck.

Houck wrote that “the fourth 'graph is where The AP lost all sense of decency,” and he found fault with how the passage characterized Payton’s career.

“In recent appearances on Fox News, Payton had condemned what she called ‘fake news’ media coverage of President Donald Trump and ‘sexist and bigoted’ coverage of first lady Melania Trump,” AP wrote.

Houck called the paragraph “garbage,” saying that reducing her "professional work to that lone, measly, tasteless sentence marked the epitome of unprofessionalism.”

According to her biography at The Federalist, Payton wrote stories on “subjects ranging from Kanye West to Supreme Court rulings, to 2016 and breaking news.” She previously worked as a reporter for Watchdog.org and received her degree in political journalism from Patrick Henry College.

Townhall’s Matt Vespa pointed out that AP was under fire for “making the entirety of her work solely on the Trump vs. the media paradigm,” and noted that it wasn’t the first time AP “trashed someone they didn’t like due to political affiliation.”

Last month, the news organization backed off a widely criticized tweet sent shortly after former President George H.W. Bush’s death was confirmed. The now-deleted message said: “Bush, a patrician New Englander whose presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait, but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, has died. He was 94."

AP did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Fox Business host Charles Payne called the Peyton obit “tacky,” saying it “underscores just how deeply the mainstream media resents conservatives.”

Reason editor Robby Soave wrote, “Though The AP reduced @Bre_payton 's journalistic output to 'condemned fake news media,' she should be remembered as a prolific writer as well as a pundit.”

Other media watchdogs also condemned the obit through outlets such as Twitter.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.