Was he tone-deaf or spot-on? Or, worse, did AP writer Charles Babington prepare his reaction to Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech not by listening to the address but by reading the transcript before Obama actually delivered it? And just who is this Charles Babington anyway? These questions and more were bandied about on various outlets and blogs over the ensuing hours after Babington’s review hit the news wires to be picked up by newspapers around the country.

First, here’s Babington’s story:

AP via Google News:

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.

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Now, let’s take a look at the Babington Effect on the blogosphere and the, uh … newsosphere:

1) As Indecision 2008 writer Dylan Ris notes, Babington wasn’t exactly preaching to the choir when it came to some of Obama’s potential critics: conservatives. After all, even right-wing papa bear Pat Buchanan was a fan of the Obama speech!

2) CBS’ Steve Benen has some tough love for the AP.

3) Gawker offers one possible explanation: Babington didn’t see the same speech the rest of the country did.

4) A roundup in USNews.com on Friday makes the case that praise of Obama’s speech was bipartisan.

5) Editor & Publisher published reader reactions to their own story about Keith Olbermann’s thunderous on-air “smackdown” of Babington Thursday night.

6) Meanwhile, Fox News managed to make a pop culture reference from within the last 30 years in an article supporting Babington’s report.

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