The AP’s hypocrisy

I just read an excellent story over on Media Matters by Eric Boehlert. In it, Boehlert demonstrates beyond doubt that the Associated Press’s Ron Fournier calls a biased game. Fournier, the AP’s Washington, DC bureau chief, was caught red-handed “slapping the back” of his good friend Karl Rove. From Media Matters:

A July 14 proposed House Oversight and Government Reform committee report stated that, in the wake of the death of former pro football player and Army Cpl. Pat Tillman in Afghanistan in April 2004, then-White House senior adviser Karl Rove asked Ron Fournier, then a reporter for the AP, and now its acting Washington bureau chief: “How does our country continue to produce men and women like [Tillman]?” As noted by the TPM Muckraker blog, according to the report, 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.”

This is not the kind of exchange one would expect between a White House operative and a non-partisan journalist. If the AP were truly the non-biased news agency it claims to be, they would already have fired Fournier for his inappropriate chumminess with Karl Rove, the high priest of the right’s propaganda machine.

In 2006, long-time bureau chief Christopher Graff was fired without any warning or notice by the AP for posting to the wire a column by Vermont’s senior senator, Patrick Leahy, which was critical of the Bush administration (see here). While one could argue that the opinion of a long-time senator on any issue would be newsworthy, it is hard to see how anyone can defend the clear favoritism displayed by Fournier. Yet the AP appears to have taken the oppositive view. Apparently it is only a violation of AP’s ethics if you’re biased toward the left. Being biased toward the right is clearly acceptable behavior.

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