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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Huston Wrong About AP's Fournier
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston uses a July 15 NewsBusters post to take issue with changes made by Ron Fournier, the new Associated Press Washington bureau chief, to more to "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing," which Huston claims "makes the AP's past bias even more pronounced." Except it's not the bias Huston thinks it is.

Citing an 2007 essay by Fournier claiming his movement toward this style of journalism was caused by Hurricane Katrina, Huston asserts that Fournier's move came because "the media didn't attack Bush enough over the Iraq war and Katrina." That's not what Fournier said. From the essay:

Shortly after Katrina struck, I dutifully reported that President Bush had said nobody anticipated the breach of the levees. In fact, many experts had predicted a major storm would bust New Orleans’ flood-control barriers. In the past, that’s all I would have written; readers would get both sides of the story and then be expected to draw their own conclusion. This time, I went a step further and simply wrote: He was wrong.” Why not? Why force the readers to read between carefully parsed lines when the facts are clear? Why not just get to the point? The president of the United States was wrong.

Huston offers no evidence that Fournier lied when wrote that President Bush was wrong to assert that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees.

Huston concludes by writing, "With Ron Fournier, we might find that the AP gives us here more fodder to reveal liberal bias in the media than ever before." But the record shows a different kind of bias -- one that Huston would find appealing. 

  • In a March 17 column, Fournier asserted that Barack Obama is  "bordering on arrogance" and that "both Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement."
  • During an AP luncheon, Fournier was pratically begging John McCain to call Obama an "elitist." 
  • A House Oversight Committee report on the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan notes that in 2004, Fournier sent Karl Rove a note saying, "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's the kind of bias Huston can believe in, isn't it? Then again, since it favors his political agenda, he likely won't see it as bias at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT

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