Ron Fournier, the new Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief? Definitely a tool, possibly a Republican. Some of the AP campaign coverage this season? Annoying at best, misleading at worst. But recently liberals (led by the usually serious Talking Points Memo) have all but declared the Associated Press an arm of the John McCain communications office. Well we can seek out and link to only the AP dispatches that fit our preferred spin too, guys! Today the wire sent out a remarkable analysis piece on how the McCain campaign just lies, all the time, about everything. And everyone calls them on their lies, and "fact checks" them, but it doesn't matter, because they don't care. And the AP under Fournier has actually done a better job with this fact-checking than lots of other outlets. The AP has no compunction about explicitly reporting that a statement is deliberately misleading, even if they sometimes shy away from the word "lie." Take a look:

That's just from this month! The "fact-check" stories are the same ones the AP's been running for years now, every campaign season, but the analysis pieces—like the Babbington one linked up top—are actually demonstrating the advantages of Fournier's call for more personality and "emotive language" in wire reports. Fournier's own analysis pieces have been (often rightly) criticized as lame and biased, but this one's a pretty strong criticism of McCain's media handling. All we're saying is the Republicans run against the media because they run against truth and reason and rationality. It works for them. And maybe the criticism from liberals is what led to this AP about-face—or maybe it was never quite as bad and biased as everyone thought! Call out bullshit, don't attribute mendacious motives without evidence. (And "he was once nice to Karl Rove" does not cut it.)