AP's Ron Fournier Defends His 'Accountability Journalism'

Here's an oldie but a goodie. Well, not a goodie, but this is instructive when it comes to examining liberal bias in the Associated Press: Ron "Authenticity" Fournier from June 2007 defending his liberal biases as "accountability journalism." (h/t NewsBusters fan motherbelt)In an Associated Press newsletter, Fournier defended what he called "Accountability Journalism" as a news reporting format that "[liberates] reporters and the truth." (emphasis mine):

Katrina made a believer out of me. I had always known that The Associated Press played a role in holding public officials accountable, but it took a killer hurricane and an incompetent, arrogant government response to make me realize this is no mere role. It's an obligation, a liberating one at that.The Iraq war, the war on terror, the federal budget deficit, the crushing cost of entitlements, the rising cost of health care, crumbling infrastructure and the horrendous state of the American public school system –- these and other generational crises must be addressed by the leaders we cover or future generations will suffer. So how do we hold our leaders accountable?

These are, of course, hardly apolitical news judgments. They fundamentally presume "generational crises" which, given Fournier's list, all skew towards presuming that although government is in shambles, somehow political solutions involving more government needed.Fournier emphasized his point when he encourages reporter to become critics, to become partisans in a controversy, rather than accurately name and quantify often unnamed amorphous "critics":

A colleague of mine in Washington, Cal Woodward, has an interesting rule about accountability journalism: Whenever possible, he avoids the phrase "critics say." More often than not, it's a crutch to hide lazy reporting or uncourageous writing. If the "critics say" something that you know to be true, you should assert it yourself and not let it be watered down by a broad, meaningless attribution. You be the critic. That's the role we played after Katrina...

For more, check out Poynter Online. See also James Taranto's excellent take on Fournier here.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters