The Associated Press' Washington bueau chief, Ron Fournier, has been pissing various people off with his "accountability journalism" since he was installed in May. His bitter former boss at AP trashed his credentials to Politico, and influential website Talking Points Memo wondered if he wasn't responsible for the AP's "atrocious campaign coverage this year." Fournier has said his new approach, which involves taking more pointed stands within news articles, is driven by an in-depth examination of the facts, while critics say it is simply biased, advocacy journalism dressed up in new clothes. Fournier has had the backing of top AP brass in New York, but that may soon change, given the following recap of a 2004 email from Fournier to then-White House senior advisor Karl Rove, published this evening on TPM:
Karl Rove exchanged e-mails about Pat Tillman with Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier, under the subject line "H-E-R-O." In response to Mr. Fournier's e-mail, Mr. Rove asked, "How does our country continue to produce men and women like this," to which Mr. Fournier replied, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."
Fournier isn't trying to explain how telling the White House's main political adviser to "keep up the fight" keeps his journalism unbiased. Instead he said he's kind of sorry, even though he obviously isn't, at all:
"I was an AP political reporter at the time of the 2004 e-mail exchange, and was interacting with a source, a top aide to the president, in the course of following an important and compelling story. I regret the breezy nature of the correspondence."
Right, breezy. I always use phrases like "The Lord" and "great and free countries" in my breezy emails. In text messages, even.