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.“?
“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.