Wanker Of The Week

July 22nd, 2008at 09:22pm Posted by Eli

Okay, so he’s not nearly as bad as Michael “Autistic kids are whiny brats” Savage, but Ron Fournier is still pretty heinous:

Last week, we learned that while investigators for the House Oversight Committee were looking into the 2004 death of Cpl. Pat Tillman… 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.

(…)

Fournier, now the wire service’s D.C. bureau chief, shrugged off the embarrassing revelation, conceding only: “I regret the breezy nature of the correspondence.”

Of course, Fournier wasn’t simply being breezy. “Have a great weekend” — that’s “breezy.”

(…)

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.

Think about it: That year, Rove was engineering the president’s re-election — a campaign Fournier was covering as an AP reporter — and Fournier urged Rove to “keep up the fight”? Even if that phrase was not written in connection with the campaign, that kind of communication is just wrong. If Fournier could produce emails from 2004 in which he urged top Democratic strategists to “keep up the fight,” it would certainly remove doubts about his relationship with Rove, but I suspect Fournier cannot.

(…)

But let’s dig a little deeper: In his attempt to dismiss the Rove correspondence, Fournier said that the exchange came “in the course of following an important and compelling story” while he was an AP political reporter. Meaning Fournier was just doing his job.

Yet according to a search of Nexis, Fournier didn’t write any bylined articles about Pat Tillman’s death in April 2004. Or ever, for that matter. That means Fournier wasn’t reaching out as a reporter to Rove for information, quotes, or context about the sad Tillman story. Fournier didn’t need Rove to be a “source” for the Tillman story because Fournier wasn’t covering the Tillman story.

Instead, Fournier seemed to be using the Tillman story as an opportunity to initiate contact with Rove and let him know that Fournier was on his side, and to urge Rove to “keep up the fight.”

But wait, there’s more!  This is what separates a Wanker Of The Week from a mere Wanker Of The Day:

Warning Clinton during the primaries about the dangers of having a candidate’s character questioned by the press, Fournier noted that Al Gore got unfairly tagged during the 2000 presidential campaign for having claimed to have invented the Internet. Fournier patiently set the record straight, noting that Gore “never said he invented the Internet,” that “his mistake was to place himself more centrally than warranted at the creation of the technology,” and that “such nuance was lost on people who voted against him in 2000.”

Silly voters. But how on earth did they come to the false conclusion that Gore ever claimed to have invented the Internet? Answer: By reading Ron Fournier.

  • “He [Gore] claimed credit for inventing the Internet, and comics had a punch line for months.” [November 13, 1999]
  • “Gore, who once claimed to have invented the Internet, e-mailed Bush and said Democrats won’t air TV ads purchased with unlimited, unregulated donations called ‘soft money’ unless Republicans do so first.” [March 15, 2000]

Awesome.  Ron Phonier is a wanker on so many levels.

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Edwards,Elections,McCain,Media,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers


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