Is Fournier Moonlighting for McCain?
by Jonathan Singer, Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 07:02:17 AM EDT
Contact the Associated Press (updated)... Kathleen Carroll (Fournier's boss) at email@example.com or (212) 621-1500. Be POLITE, but be FIRM. Let them know that you don't want to see them serve as stenographers and amplifiers for pure spin by the McCain campaign.
I wrote earlier that the Associated Press' new Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier was sounding an awful lot like a surrogate for John McCain in his "analysis" piece on the Biden pick that ran across the wires overnight. What I didn't remember at the time was that it wasn't a long time ago that the McCain campaign was actually trying to hire Fournier.
Before Ron Fournier returned to The Associated Press in March 2007, the veteran political reporter had another professional suitor: John McCain's presidential campaign.
In October 2006, the McCain team approached Fournier about joining the fledgling operation, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. In the months that followed, said a source, Fournier spoke about the job possibility with members of McCain's inner circle, including political aides Mark Salter, John Weaver and Rick Davis.
Maybe it shouldn't be surprising that it sounds like Fournier is working hard to carry water for John McCain, or that he engaged in months of conversations at the highest levels of the McCain campaign about taking a senior level position with the outfit. This is, after all, the guy who told Karl Rove to "keep up the fight" during the investigation into the death of Pat Tilman, who editorialized about Howard Dean in what was supposed to have been a straight ahead news piece ("his lack of foreign policy experience, testy temperament, policy flip-flops, campaign miscues and edgy anti-war, antiestablishment message"), who was one of the worst disseminators of entirely false and scurrilous GOP attacks on Al Gore in 1999 and 2000 ("He [Gore] claimed credit for inventing the Internet" and "Gore, who once claimed to have invented the Internet", to take two examples).
If pure Republican spin and McCain talking points are what we are to expect out of the AP under Fournier, it's going to be a long hard slog full of truth squading between now and election day.
Update [2008-8-23 11:6:1 by Jonathan Singer]: Much more on the specifics of the problems with the Fournier piece from the inimitable Steve Benen, who has moved from his Carpetbagger Report over to The Political Animal over at The Washington Monthly.
Update [2008-8-23 11:49:45 by Jonathan Singer]:"McCain camp delights in Fournier piece", writes Jonathan Martin. No doubt they should delight -- they appear to have the AP's Washington bureau chief, who they almost hired, in their back pocket.