McCain's AP Mouthpiece?

Look up any journalism code of ethics and you will find some common themes: tell the truth, don't libel, identify your sources and, finally, be objective. Just to show you, here is a snippet from the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:

"Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context."

Let's move onto the American Society of Newspaper Editors and an article they published in 1997 about journalism values:

"Journalists must implement four key values to gain and preserve credibility. These are balance, accuracy, leadership and accessibility."

There is a whole class in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication dedicated to media ethics, and a recurring theme in that class is being objective and unbiased, unless, of course, you sell your soul to Corporate America and become a public relations specialist (read: business' ass cover).

I'm even pretty sure that The Daily Tar Heel, UNC-CH's student newspaper, doesn't allow it's writers or editors to be a member of any partisan organization on campus, work for any student campaigns or even throw some pro-Obama propaganda on Stalkerbook.

Don't worry, this is all leading somewhere.

Today a friend sent me an article from The Washington Monthly about Ron Fournier, the Associated Press' Washington bureau chief and his ability to rise above any the values and ethics of most every other journalist in the country.
Here's the gist of the story, in their own words:

latest piece from Ron Fournier, the AP's Washington bureau chief and the man responsible for directing the wire service's coverage of the presidential campaign, on Joe Biden joining the Democratic ticket, is drawing a fair amount of attention this morning. More importantly, McCain campaign staffers are pushing it fairly aggressively to other reporters, in large part because it mirrors the Republican line with minimal variation.
Fournier's objectivity covering the presidential race continues to look shaky. We are, after all, talking about a journalist who, as recently as last year, considered working for the McCain campaign.
We learned not too long ago that Fournier exchanged emails with Karl Rove about Pat Tillman, in which Fournier wrote, "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." Fournier was also one of the journalists who, at a gathering of the nation's newspaper editors, extended McCain a box of his favorite donuts ("Oh, yes, with sprinkles!" McCain said).

The article continues to list out even more evidence of good ol' run snuggling up in bed with McCain.

Now it's understandable that everyone has their biases and ideas, that's unavoidable. No writer is truly unbiased, but it's important for non-advocacy journalists to at least try to be objective, especially when he or she is writing for the AP, a wire service that sends articles around the country for thousands of newspapers to use.

It's simply unacceptable that the AP is allowing Fournier to continue spouting what seems to be nothing more than McCain propaganda and passing it off as real news from the campaign. A freshman after his or her first day of "News Writing" could tell you that.

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