SocraticGadfly: Josh Marshall takes a ride on the waaaahhhbumlance about AP

July 14, 2008

Josh Marshall takes a ride on the waaaahhhbumlance about AP

The Talking Points Memo jefe cries a river about the quality of Associated Press political coverage this year and points a sharp finger at Ron Fournier, who now heads AP’s Washington bureau.

But, the Politico story to which he links supports just the opposite, with specific examples such as his Katrina coverage, of Fournier’s past “liberal” bias. Now, the Politico story leans heavily on the WSJ’s James Taranto to try to “game” the “liberal bias” angle, tis true.

But, the story as written simply doesn’t support Josh’s angle.

To me, this is a clear case of, “if the shoe pinches…”

Did Josh complain about the political coverage in 2005, when Fournier wrote this lede?
A dispatch Fournier filed in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina began: “The Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes. The economy is booming. Anybody who leaks a CIA agent's identity will be fired. Add another piece of White House rhetoric that doesn't match the public's view of reality: Help is on the way, Gulf Coast.”


On the other hand, Josh may have legitimate reason to moan.

Any reporter playing suck-up with Rove just got himself a black mark in my book. Stay tuned.

Update No. 2: Fornier issues a semi-apology.

Beyond that, Fournier is just Washington bureau chief, he’s not the AP managing editor.

As for the merits of what Fournier is doing in general, while caution is needed, I think he’s got some good thinking points.

I’ve written more that way for years. Being at community weekly and semi-weekly papers, while I still try to follow the AP’s “inverted pyramid” on news content, I haven’t written “old style” AP ledes for years. So, to me, there’s really nothing new here, as far as journalism; it’s just new as far as AP journalism.

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