On Tuesday Michael Calderone at Politico produced definitive evidence of Ron Fournier's bias in favor of John McCain. He did it by linking the Associated Press Washington Bureau chief directly to the McCain presidential campaign. Over a period of several months during 2006, Fournier discussed taking a high-level communications job with the McCain campaign. Apparently Fournier turned down the job offer in the end.
I say 'apparently' because often it is difficult to tell from the reporting produced by Fournier and his Bureau whether or not he views himself as a campaign operative.
The most striking thing about this story is what is absent. Although he oversees reporting on the presidential race for the purportedly unbiased and nonpartisan AP, Fournier has never disclosed to the public his close contacts with the McCain campaign. And though he doesn't deny the contacts, when asked about them Fournier declined to discuss the matter and referred Politico to an AP spokesman (who issued a bland statement). If Fournier has had nothing to hide, then why the secrecy and evasiveness? Who would argue that the public does not have a right to know that the AP Washington Bureau chief considered working for a presidential candidate?
Here are details from Politico:
In October 2006, the McCain team approached Fournier about joining the fledgling operation, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. In the months that followed, said a source, Fournier spoke about the job possibility with members of McCain’s inner circle, including political aides Mark Salter, John Weaver and Rick Davis.
Salter, who remains a top McCain adviser, said in an e-mail to Politico that Fournier was considered for "a senior advisory role" in communications.
"He did us the courtesy of considering the offer before politely declining it," Salter said..........