The AP Really Thinks Cheney is Helping the GOP?

Let me get this one straight, Associated Press: Dick Cheney becoming the rhetorical standard bearer for the GOP is a good thing for the party?

Analysis: Obama debating Cheney is a plus for GOP

How, exactly, does Walter R. Mears come up with the reasoning behind this conclusion? By interviewing Republicans, of course. Because who better to discern whether a development is good for a party than the party's own partisans!

Let's look at the numbers, though. Dick Cheney's favorability numbers are awful, consistently below 40 percent with an unfavorability rating approaching, and often exceeding, 60 percent. Cheney's job approval rating as Vice President was just as bad.

Barack Obama, whose engagement with the former Veep is purportedly good for the Republican Party, has a favorability rating that's close to the inverse of Cheney's. In fact, taking into account live-interview survey's, it's actually better than the inverse of Cheney's favorability rating, with fully two-thirds of the country viewing the President favorably and just a quarter viewing him unfavorably. His approval rating under the same metric is 62.8 percent, with just 30 percent disapproving.

So tell me again how this is a good thing for the Republican Party. I realize that I shouldn't necessarily expect more out of the AP, whose Washington editor Ron Fournier got in trouble during the 2008 election for failing to disclose that he had been in job talks with the presidential campaign of John McCain and who continues to use his position to peddle GOP talking points. Nevertheless, this one I don't get.

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Ron Fournier Emerges to Peddle GOP Talking Points

Bumped

We don't hear much from the Associated Press' Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier -- but when we do, it's not surprising to see him peddling right wing talking points under the guise of "analysis." Look at this lede:

What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference?

Get it? Barack Obama is some kind of puppet who doesn't have any ideas of his own. He even needs to bring a teleprompter to a press conference!

Fournier does conclude that the reason why the President used a prepared text to open his press conference is because he is "careful" -- but the underlying implication of this piece is clear: President Obama is a cipher. Of course Barack Obama fielded questions on a broad range of topics, handling them all with grace, intelligence, thought and depth. But, no, the lede is that the President had a teleprompter.

This type of "analysis" from Fournier doesn't come as much of a shock. Fournier, you might remember from the 2008 campaign, failed to disclose that he had engaged in talks with John McCain about becoming a senior adviser to the Republican's presidential campaign. Before that, Fournier was known for telling Karl Rove to "keep up the fight" during the probe into the death of Pat Tillman, editorializing against Howard Dean in what was purported to be a straight reporting piece, and repeating untruths about Al Gore, including the whopper that he claimed to have invented the internet.

With a record like this and "analysis" pieces like these, it's little wonder that newspapers are saying no to Fournier and his bosses at the AP have been forced into spin mode.

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The AP Tries to Kneecap Obama. Again.

What can one say about the Associated Press these days?  Rather than realize the error of their ways in becoming a conservative mouthpiece out of their D.C. office instead of an objective news source, they've apparently doubled down their bets on McCain's dying presidential campaign.

Just moments after Obama's detailed, inspirational video tonight, the AP's McCain-loving Washington Bureau came out with their latest hit-piece masquerading as journalism:

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Will AP Ron Fournier break out his abacus again?

From Media Matters

Last week, in an apparent effort to paint Sen. Hillary Clinton as self-absorbed, the AP's Ron Fournier counted the number of times she used "some variation of the pronoun 'I'" in her convention speech.  

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Associated Press in Full Spin Mode Over Fournier

It's never a great sign when a news organization is forced to create talking points to deal with ongoing criticism over the actions of one of its reporters, editors or bureau chiefs, but according to The Politico's Michael Calderone, the pushback against the Associated Press because of their Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier is apparently causing enough concern at the organization to merit a campaign-like response.

AP Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier has been targeted by MoveOn, Media Matters and many liberal blogs this campaign cycle for what they consider light treatment of John McCain at the expense of other candidates -- especially Barack Obama.

In July, I reported that Fournier had discussions with the McCain campaign in late 2006 -- while not at the AP -- about taking a senior level communications job with the campaign. Fournier spoke with Mark Salter, Rick Davis, John Weaver and other campaign staffers, but did not take the job. He returned to the AP in March 2007.

So with the blogosphere enraged over Fournier, FishbowlDC writes today that Ellen Hale, the AP's vice president for corporate communications, has e-mailed talking points to managers on how to deal with questions about the wire's D.C. bureau chief. But the contents of the memo were not yet revealed.

I've now obtained the full talking points which are after the jump (and include a  mention of "Politico.com, the blog").

You can check out the whole set of talking points here, but suffice it to say that they are fairly underwhelming. And contrary to the hope that the organized spin effort would help protect the AP's reputation, the leak of the talking points makes the AP look defensive -- which isn't a great outcome considering that some of the criticisms, particularly that Fournier was in months of talks with the McCain campaign about taking a senior level position with them yet did not publicly disclose this fact, are completely fair and germane.

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