As recently as last year, Ron Fournier considered working for the McCain campaign. Instead he took a job as Washington bureau chief for the AP, but it looks like he’s still working for McCain.
Fournier say in a new AP piece that the Biden choice demonstrates that Obama "lacks confidence," that Biden is the "ultimate insider," and that it threatens to undermine Obama’s message of "change." It could’ve come straight off the fax machine of the McCain press shop, with no need for editing (indeed, the McCain campaign says it loves the Fournier piece). Its sentiments have been echoed all morning across cable news.
But this kind of journalistic opinionating is what Fournier likes to see in his campaign coverage. Earlier this year, Fournier outlined what his vision of new journalism is:
The journalistic ethics of old do not apply to the new guidelines over at the Associated Press. The new ethics are called “accountability journalism,” and the new bureau chief, Ron Fournier, believes that the conventional press model, where both sides of an argument are entitled to equal weight, is exactly what journalists need to avoid.
Fournier believes those old journalistic ethics are what stops reporters from telling the truth as they see it.
In March, Fournier wrote that Obama is "a bit too cocky," and that he and Michelle "ooze a sense of entitlement." I guess that’s "how he sees it."
It’s simply not acceptable that the head of the AP’s Washington bureau, in charge of presidential campaign coverage, sees the AP as little more than an extension of the McCain Campaign’s message:
- Steve Benen chronicles the horrible history of GOP propaganda masquerading as news that has constituted the AP’s political coverage of this election.
- Eric Boehlert and Media Matters have covered Fournier’s cozy relationship with Karl Rove and his encouragement of the "Obama is an elitist" meme.
- Julia has written that Fournier consistently attacks other candidates while promoting McCain.
It is for these very reasons that Fournier’s predecessor (and former mentor) at the AP, Sandy Johnson, expressed her concern by saying "I loved the Washington bureau…I just hope he doesn’t destroy it.”
When the AP’s Nedra Pickler acted as a GOP operative we generated over 15,000 letters to the editor at papers that carry the AP wire stories across the country, letting them hear from their own subscribers that this kind of propaganda is not acceptable as campaign coverage.
It’s time to crank that tool out again. Ron Fournier must be taken off the Presidential beat. He’s got an obvious