O'Reilly: 'AP May Now Be Dead As an Objective News Organization'

APlogoUpsideDownThe fallout that began a week ago after the publication of the Associated Press's Tony Snow obituary continues.

Fox News's Bill O'Reilly took his concerns about it to the top of AP, and didn't like the response he received. He shouldn't.

In his column this morning at Townhall.com, he also reaches a conclusion about the self-described "Essential Global News Network" that is becoming increasingly difficult to deny.

In their Snow obituary, the AP's Douglass K. Daniel, with assistance from Jennifer Loven, characterized the former White House Press Secretary as "not always (having) a command of the facts," questioning reporters' motives "as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing," and turning his briefings into "personality-driven media event(s) short on facts and long on confrontation." In an especially tacky moment, the pair also felt it necessary to tell readers what Snow's salary was while he served the president.

Doug Powers, Michelle Malkin, and yours truly (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) were among the first to decry Daniel's and Loven's report. A bit of a blogswarm ensued. Rush Limbaugh made a point to voice his outrage at least twice in Fox News Channel interviews last weekend; NB colleague Noel Sheppard posted one of them here at NewsBusters last Sunday. Rush also brought up the AP coverage during his Monday broadcast (about halfway through at link, which will be accessible until Monday evening).

O'Reilly also took umbrage at Daniel's and Loven's report during his broadcast endeavors this week. In his Townhall.com column, he discusses the source of the pathetic pair's disrespect. He further reports that the head of the wire service has unconditionally defended his reporters' work, reaches a sad but ever more obvious conclusion about AP's reliability, and explains why that conclusion should trouble anyone who believes that the public ought to be getting their information served up straight (bolds are mine):

..... Of course, this is all about ideology. The Associated Press has no use for President Bush, and that opinion has crept into its hard news coverage. This is a serious situation. The AP is America's primary news service; its dispatches go out to thousands of media organizations all over the world, many of which simply print whatever the AP sends them.

And increasingly the AP is sending them opinion, not fact.

The head of the Associated Press, Tom Curley, told my producers he "stands by the obituary," so we invited him on "The Factor" to defend it. Immediately Curley turned standing into running -- as in away. He refused to come on the program or issue a further statement.

I think Curley's treatment of Snow should be included in his own obituary. And furthermore, the Associated Press may now be dead as an objective news organization.

How ironic that one obit could so quickly lead to another.

How sad that casual news consumers are getting much, if not most, of their national and world news from the likes of Loven and Daniel. The wire service could use some meaningful, fair, and balanced competition. That is showing early signs of coalescing. It cannot arrive fast enough.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.