Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press is one of AP's regular reporters covering Mr. Bush and The White House.
She also has an obvious conflict of interest, as her husband, Roger Ballentine, was a senior adviser to John Kerry on energy and environmental issues during the 2004 presidential campaign. Ballentine is currently president of Green Strategies, Inc., an environmental consulting and government relations (read: lobbying) firm. He also continues to be actively involved in the politics of energy and the environment, as this appearance at a renewable energy conference in December 2004 and the promotion for his October appearance on "E&E TV" show.
It has apparently never occurred to AP that her husband's point of view could affect the objectivity of Ms. Loven's reporting, though, as this post at Powerline supplied by me back in September 2004 shows, she went so far as to ridicule a 2002-2003 Bush Administration environmental initiative in one of her "objective" reports using language that parroted her husband's environmental advocacy statements.
Whether it's Iraq, the Joe Wilson charade (a report that led Powerline to call her a "Democrat Operative"), or the economy, Ms. Loven's reports on day-to-day happenings in the administration have been consistently negative and sometimes even hostile. In early December (go to end of post), Ms. Loven just had to respond to the report of 215,000 new jobs created in October by reminding us (as if it was relevant to the report) that Mr. Bush was " faced with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency." All in all, she may be as close to "Exhibit A" as exists as to why we can no longer trust The Associated Press to do the job it was designed to do: give us the news, straight up -- so spin, no shading.
Ms. Loven continued on her merry antagonistic way Saturday as she reported on the President's Friday speech at The Economic Club of Chicago:
Bush attacks Dems in first 2006 speech
CHICAGO — President Bush on Friday opened a sharp election-year attack against Democrats, who he said would devastate the economy and turn back recent job gains by blocking free trade and raising taxes.
It was Bush’s first 2006 speech on the road and, with Republican control of Congress potentially at stake in the November elections, the president pulled no punches.
‘‘Just as this economy is getting going, there are some in Washington who want to take the money out of your pocket,’’ the president said in a speech before a friendly audience from The Economic Club of Chicago. ‘‘They think they can spend it better than you can.’’ He mentioned Democrats only once but it was clear they were the target of his remarks.
Really? Given that the GOP controls Congress, Mr. Bush's main problem, and arguably his principal object of criticism, could just as easily have been the roughly half-dozen Republican senators who are wavering on making the current tax structure permanent. Though they almost unanimously oppose permanent extension, Democrats have not threatened a filibuster (yet). So the characterization of Mr. Bush's speech as exclusively an attack on Democrats simply is not supported by the current political reality he faces.
Loven went on to explain that Mr. Bush criticized one unnamed Democrat (Nancy Pelosi). Okay, fine, he did -- But the headline says "Democrats" (plural), and she is the only one named.
Even if we somehow buy into Ms. Loven's idea that Mr. Bush was solely criticizing Democrats, characterizing the above excerpted quote as an "attack" is a long, long stretch.
In contrast, Ms. Loven characterized Nancy Pelosi's contentious response as a "reply."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.