Cortney wrote about the sudden passing of Bre Payton, who was a regular fixture on Fox News and a staff writer for The Federalist. She was only 26. According to reports, she succumbed to the flu (H1N1) and possibly meningitis. Her friend Morgan Murtaugh found her unresponsive last Thursday in San Diego; Payton was in California guest hosting a show on One America News Network.
I only met Bre a couple of times, but she was always a class act, very kind, and respected by many. She was talented, smart, and the Federalist was lucky to have her. She was prolific writer, covering topics in news and popular culture. She co-hosted a podcast called Problematic Women with The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness, which sought to shine “a spotlight on strong conservative women, current events, and the hypocrisy of the ‘feminist’ left.”
Yet, the Associated Press’ obituary is being slammed, and rightfully so, for making the entirety of her work solely on the Trump vs. the media paradigm. Newsbusters forcefully came out to call it straight trash [emphasis mine]:
Poignant tributes poured in from the conservative movement both Friday morning after word first came out about the incident and after her death, ranging from The Federalist (here and here) to The Washington Examiner and stories about her passing on FoxNews.com, Mediaite, and The Wrap. The Associated Press also published one, but it wasn’t so friendly.
The AP story followed the normal structure for a news obituary with a lede that described her as “a writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets,” when she died, and her age.
The next two paragraphs stated how the news was announced as (by The Federalist and Payton’s friend Morgan Murtaugh, a former OANN reporter and former GOP congressional candidate) plus the alleged cause of death.
From paragraph five to the end, everything was well and good, but the fourth graph is where the AP lost all sense of decency, boiling down Payton’s work this way:
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.
Thank you everyone for your prayers. It is with a heavy heart that I type this. Unfortunately Bre has passed. Please send prayers to her family. Rest in paradise you beautiful soul. https://t.co/pMFCZNaqKl— Morgan Murtaugh (@morganmurtaugh) December 28, 2018
From those who knew her, and there were many, this was unnecessary and classless. It wouldn’t be the first time AP trashed someone they didn’t like due to political affiliation. They were forced to delete an absolutely garbage tweet about the passing of George H.W. Bush.
The @AP just stealth edited @Bre_Payton’s obituary to add a short scare quotes line on her recent comments about Melania Trump on Fox News. There’s nothing else in the piece about her great body of work as a writer & commentator. What the actual hell is wrong with these people. pic.twitter.com/ifmTLAdpFI— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) December 29, 201
There’s a scholarship fund established in Bre’s name. You can donate here.