Remember a couple weeks back, when I linked to Ken Layne’s Wonkette post about The Atlantic’s search for “29 journalists and an idiot”? You know, the ad looking for “individuals made for – naturally wired for – original insight, original frames for comment on the large, national issues. Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.“?
Well, Marc Ambinder, who really should know better, is thrilled to announce that they’ve hired Karl Rove’s second-favorite fluffer, Ron Fournier:
“Ron will be the first editor responsible for all of the editorial product of the National Journal publications including the National Journal magazine, nationaljournal.com, CongressDaily, The Hotline, the Almanac of American Politics and Global Security Newswire.
Though we met only three years ago, Ron’s name has been whispered to me since my first days in Washington journalism. With genuine admiration, some of our most-talented colleagues have talked about Ron as among that small handful of the finest political reporters and editors in generations of Washington reporting. His particular gifts, unceasing focus on breaking news and original political analysis, are the first-among-equal disciplines we need to advance within our publications…”
I’ve tried to believe that Mr. Ambinder is merely practicing an unusually dry form of tongue-firmly-in-cheek-fu, but reading him suck up to someone who took such pride in sucking up to the Turdblossom is one tonguebath too far.
From Media Matters’ 2008 column, “The AP has a Ron Fournier problem”:
… [W]hile investigators for the House Oversight Committee were looking into the 2004 death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former NFL player whose story was promoted by the White House before it was revealed that he had been killed by friendly fire, they discovered that top political aide Karl Rove had exchanged emails with the Associated Press’ Ron Fournier on the day the news of Tillman’s death broke.
In one email, Rove asked, “How does our country continue to produce men and women like this?” Fournier responded: “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.”
That sign-off, which seemed to indicate an allegiance between the two men, raised hackles all over the Internet. That kind of correspondence (“Keep up the fight”) between a reporter and a partisan White House aide during a campaign year lands way outside the boundaries of acceptable newsroom practices…
Fournier was declaring sides. That was the implication of Fournier’s note: “Karl, you might think the media are liberal, but you can trust me. And give me access and return my emails. Because I’m on your side.”
The Fournier revelation came as no surprise to anyone who has read his recent campaign work, which has routinely been caustic and dismissive of Democratic contenders. In two “Analysis” pieces and a column, Fournier questioned whether John Edwards was a “phony,” announced the Clintons suffered from “utter self-absorption,” and claimed that Barack Obama was “bordering on arrogance.” That’s the right of a pundit. But at the same time, Fournier avoided raising any doubts about Sen. John McCain, and in fact rushed to his aid in print during the senator’s time of campaign need…
Just in case this isn’t perfectly obvious, just in case people might be wondering if it’s common for objective political reporters to email partisan operatives off the record and behind the scenes, urging them to “keep up the fight,” the answer is a resounding no. Because it violates the basic journalistic guideline of maintaining neutrality. Especially at the AP, that kind of correspondence should be considered breathtakingly inappropriate.
Read the whole Media Matters article, and remember: “Economist rigor; Tom Friedman insight.” Republican Ratfvcking, no extra charge.
But I’ll bet Fournier is a master at pairing exquisite canapes with just the right vintage, which is all that the Media Village Idiots really care about, after all.
Oooookayyyyyy. “Fournier” is apparently either a Ralph Lauren cologne for the Village set, or it’s a safeword to get that creepy Senator to take his hand off your leg.
Sometimes I really hate this town.
Sweet Jesus, despite saying I would not renew my Atlantic subscription 2 weeks ago I did (but have not paid yet). I wonder if I should cancel now.
Fournier will get some new material to work with if Memeorandum is any indication: Al Gore Sex Attack!
@Napoleon: Hell yes, why would anyone want to read anything written by someone they disagree with?
Nothing wrong with reading someone you disgree with. There is a problem with dishonest hacks like Fournier who seem to be in the business for the canapes and the access to power. That puts him a step above the wingnut welfare types who are professional propagandists, but just one step.
they even have different porn than we do.
@Xenos: So don’t subscribe. That’ll learn em.
Wait, so they’re replacing McArdle, or are they going to have two idiots now?
Apparently the Atlantic is after a new target audience. Thoughtful well-written pieces from James Fallows or second-hand agitprop from the wingnut wurlitzer? How long before we get blast faxes reprinted in the Atlantic about how much the fisherman of the gulf coast respect BP and think the government might be going too far?
“Even the liberal Atlantic is ….”
Ya’ll keep thinking of the Atlantic as a magazine. There’s yer problem.
I’m sure there was a jar somewhere that everyone who said “magazine” put a quarter into. They used to be a collection of writers with various takes on different subjects.
But now they are a gudammed Media Outlet, and they don’t have time for that masthead stuff any more! They don’t want good writing and a unique outlook; that’s so 20th Century. What they want now is doing what everyone else does, only better.
And since the trend now is controversial crap, they intend to get to the top of that heap.
What’s with the Roman Square style, daddy-o? Trying to keep “fuck” off the front page or something?
I’m so glad I let my subscription lapse last year. I don’t mind if conservatives like Crook, Goldberg and Sullivan and idiots like McArdle have a platform, but I’m sure as hell not helping to pay their salaries by subscribing. Fournier’s just one more conservative Atlantic toady I won’t be subsidizing.
I mean, seriously?
Thanks for covering this, Anne Laurie. I was appalled when I read that he had been hired by the Atlantic. I was hoping that the predictions of AP’s demise would mean we didn’t have to put up with him any more.
On a related note, Eliot Spitzer also has a new job: a show on CNN, along with Kathleen Parker. It ought to be interesting, at least. If Spitzer actually holds the line and argues the way he can, he can be an effective voice against the right — which means he’ll be fired in about two months.
I guess we’ll know in six months if the hire works out.
On the plus side, at least Fournier will no longer be the AP Washington Bureau Chief. Maybe he can peddle his misleading, biased crap to a smaller audience, and stop sullying the AP’s previous status as a fair source of reporting on Washington.
Note to AP: This is a chance to do better!
Note to the Atlantic: Coates and Fallows are way too good for you.
Wonder what Sullivan thinks of the hire? Here he is in 2008:
I’ve slept on it and still haven’t decided how excellent this news is for John McCain. Ahhh well…at least this change will offer some entertainment value.
Ugh. I wouldn’t read the Atlantic anyway because they publish the execrable and incredibly head-crushingly stupid Andrew Sullivan.
Just catbox liner. That’s all they’re printing.
Fallows can only make up for some much douchbaggery at The Atlantic. I think this pushes it over the line for me.
Even since I subscribed years ago, the magazine has gotten worse with every issue, every new hire. This is the email I just sent them:
Ron Fournier? Seriously? I could ignore Douthat and his weird hang-ups. I can, with effort, ignore Mcardle’s frequently discredited, snottily delivered “insights.” Caitlin Flanagan’s breathless credulity to any and all urban legends regarding teen sexuality I can’t ignore, but that’s okay, because her articles are unintentionally hilarious. Another mark against the magazine, granted, but hilarious. She’s basically what would happen if my grandmother started reading 4chan.
However, with this latest hiring of Ron Fournier – it looks like in the future I’m going to have to ignore the entire magazine.
I subscribed years ago for insight into world events, travel articles on the ends of the Earth, and literary reviews. Now, I find myself presented with a snobbier “big ideas” version of the Weekly Standard – basically a bunch of 3rd rate bloggers plying bits of various right wing conventional wisdom, shipped to the newsstands with one (1) standard rant by a drunken Iraq war enthusiast about some long dead, forgotten British poet.
I miss the old Atlantic, the Atlantic I subscribed for and re-subscribed in the false hope it would someday return. But, with this new hire, I have come to accept that your magazine’s greatest ambition is to become a center right version of Newsweek. Good luck with that. I will not be with you on your journey.
You’re missing the important part. Fournier is no longer running AP. Instead of making editorial decisions that will influence what millions of people read each day, he’ll now be making decisions that will influence what about a hundred and fifty people read each month.
I call that a win-win for everyone.
For extra comedy, Fournier wrote that stuff about “the Lord” to Rove, who’s an atheist, or at least contemptuous of the religious right (despite his boss’ religious fervor). That note must have given Rove a laugh.