Ex-AP big Ron Fournier's call to black out news from President Trump is outrageous

Ron Fournier is Mister Respectable on the media front.  He's sat on panels, he's lectured the young'uns, he's gotten awards.

The former Associated Press Washington bureau chief (he took a couple other jobs and then went into business) was widely considered some kind of dean of reporters, a media standard-bearer, as well as "the hardest working man in Washington."  In the past, he's even criticized the press and pols of all political stripes.  That's why it's so appalling to see him crank out tripe like this:

He's pulling rank, invoking his storied past as a journalistic standard-bearer and using it as a soapbox to make pronunciamentos now, pronoucements the rest of the press is sure to heed.  And now he's calling for the press not to cover the news, something he seems to vaguely recognize as calling for censorship in the urgency of his "don't say this lightly" qualifier.

He's certainly not the first.  Like much of the press, he recognizes that covering Trump's press briefings is driving Trump's poll numbers higher.  It's not an unusual phenomenon, either.  President Franklin Roosevelt's fireside chats were very popular.  Over in Chile in the late 1970s, then-labor minister José Piñera's weekly broadcasts explained how Chicago-boy capitalism could help a then-third-world country and post-socialist hellhole such as Chile become prosperous through accumulated savings, the famous "Chile Model" Herman Cain once spoke about.  These talks, from articulate and able leaders, encouraging the public at a trying time and offering the way forward — great leadership, really — succeeded hugely with the public.  Fournier is old enough to know this.  And he knows that right now, Trump is showing this same kind of leadership.

His call for a news blackout is absolutely outrageous in a supposed committed newsman, Mister Journalistic Lion.  We expect this kind of stuff from the White House press corps, those "27-year-olds" who "know nothing" (in the immortal words of Ben Rhodes), but now we see Fournier going the same way.  The White House press corps, remember, not only recently vowed to not cover the news, but tried to stop people who do want to cover the news, such as OAN correspondent Chanel Rion, claiming a phony protocol.  In this regard, they turned themselves into a cartel.  As I wrote here the other day:

Some of the networks actually vowed to not cover the briefings Trump was putting on. They hated that those direct addresses of Trump's to the general public, comforting them at the time of a pandemic, and driving his poll numbers higher. Yet at the same time, they apparently held places in the WHCA press rotation, taking up seat space for the very briefings they said they wanted to keep out of the news. 

Any questions as to why the public doesn't trust the media?  If a telephone repairman didn't want to repair telephone lines, or a farmer didn't want to farm, would anyone respect him, either?

It's kind of shocking to see an old-line newsman such as Fournier advocating the same kind of censorship.

It's dangerous, too.  Take a look at this news item from Bloomberg News, which utterly misrepresents what Vice President Mike Pence said:

Bloomberg's headline:

Pence Tells U.S. Food Workers 'Do Your Job' as They Fall Ill

What Pence really said:

... some of the most important people are working in food supply ...

C-SPAN's accurate summary headline: Mike Pence Thanks Food Industry Workers.

Here is a link from C-SPAN.

If Fournier has his way and the Trump administration gets subject to this dishonest crap, the White House won't be able to get a word in edgewise to the public.  The leaders the public elected would be shut away by a nakedly biased self-appointed media gatekeeper. 

The press's bias is already well known: based on a 2014 story, some 93% of reporters are known to be Democrats, and considering groupthink dynamics, the percentage is probably higher now.  They've also gotten way too chummy with leftist politicians — even Fournier links a story that suggests just that kind of too-cozy-for-comfort setup between reporters and pols, in what's quite a puff piece for the Democrats.  We all know about their journalistic objectivity from when then-Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris went clothes-shopping and tried on a sequined jacket.  Remember the squeals and giggling?

Imagine Bloomberg and its dishonest reporters (here's another one) monopolizing the news with these twisted descriptions of events.  They, and only they, will be the priestly mediators between the public and their leadership, something that in another context triggered something called the Reformation.

If they manage to shut Trump down on Twitter, too, it's going to be the death of the free press, the end of access to what our democratically elected leaders are thinking and communicating to us.  If they don't want to cover the news, fine, let them see what it does to their ratings.  But the Trump administration should be handing out more FCC licenses to enable the rise of new media outfits that are interested in covering the news, including even news they don't like.

Because if they get their way, what we will be up against is a news cartel controlling all information we can see.  We will have no access to what our elected leaders say.  It's well known that the Associated Press, according to this study, went downhill on Fournier's watch, moving from objective, detached reporting to biased opinion-making reports.  The addition of censorship to the mix, via Fournier playing Mister Olympian, is outrageous.

Image credit: Josh Hallett via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.

Ron Fournier is Mister Respectable on the media front.  He's sat on panels, he's lectured the young'uns, he's gotten awards.

The former Associated Press Washington bureau chief (he took a couple other jobs and then went into business) was widely considered some kind of dean of reporters, a media standard-bearer, as well as "the hardest working man in Washington."  In the past, he's even criticized the press and pols of all political stripes.  That's why it's so appalling to see him crank out tripe like this:

He's pulling rank, invoking his storied past as a journalistic standard-bearer and using it as a soapbox to make pronunciamentos now, pronoucements the rest of the press is sure to heed.  And now he's calling for the press not to cover the news, something he seems to vaguely recognize as calling for censorship in the urgency of his "don't say this lightly" qualifier.

He's certainly not the first.  Like much of the press, he recognizes that covering Trump's press briefings is driving Trump's poll numbers higher.  It's not an unusual phenomenon, either.  President Franklin Roosevelt's fireside chats were very popular.  Over in Chile in the late 1970s, then-labor minister José Piñera's weekly broadcasts explained how Chicago-boy capitalism could help a then-third-world country and post-socialist hellhole such as Chile become prosperous through accumulated savings, the famous "Chile Model" Herman Cain once spoke about.  These talks, from articulate and able leaders, encouraging the public at a trying time and offering the way forward — great leadership, really — succeeded hugely with the public.  Fournier is old enough to know this.  And he knows that right now, Trump is showing this same kind of leadership.

His call for a news blackout is absolutely outrageous in a supposed committed newsman, Mister Journalistic Lion.  We expect this kind of stuff from the White House press corps, those "27-year-olds" who "know nothing" (in the immortal words of Ben Rhodes), but now we see Fournier going the same way.  The White House press corps, remember, not only recently vowed to not cover the news, but tried to stop people who do want to cover the news, such as OAN correspondent Chanel Rion, claiming a phony protocol.  In this regard, they turned themselves into a cartel.  As I wrote here the other day:

Some of the networks actually vowed to not cover the briefings Trump was putting on. They hated that those direct addresses of Trump's to the general public, comforting them at the time of a pandemic, and driving his poll numbers higher. Yet at the same time, they apparently held places in the WHCA press rotation, taking up seat space for the very briefings they said they wanted to keep out of the news. 

Any questions as to why the public doesn't trust the media?  If a telephone repairman didn't want to repair telephone lines, or a farmer didn't want to farm, would anyone respect him, either?

It's kind of shocking to see an old-line newsman such as Fournier advocating the same kind of censorship.

It's dangerous, too.  Take a look at this news item from Bloomberg News, which utterly misrepresents what Vice President Mike Pence said:

Bloomberg's headline:

Pence Tells U.S. Food Workers 'Do Your Job' as They Fall Ill

What Pence really said:

... some of the most important people are working in food supply ...

C-SPAN's accurate summary headline: Mike Pence Thanks Food Industry Workers.

Here is a link from C-SPAN.

If Fournier has his way and the Trump administration gets subject to this dishonest crap, the White House won't be able to get a word in edgewise to the public.  The leaders the public elected would be shut away by a nakedly biased self-appointed media gatekeeper. 

The press's bias is already well known: based on a 2014 story, some 93% of reporters are known to be Democrats, and considering groupthink dynamics, the percentage is probably higher now.  They've also gotten way too chummy with leftist politicians — even Fournier links a story that suggests just that kind of too-cozy-for-comfort setup between reporters and pols, in what's quite a puff piece for the Democrats.  We all know about their journalistic objectivity from when then-Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris went clothes-shopping and tried on a sequined jacket.  Remember the squeals and giggling?

Imagine Bloomberg and its dishonest reporters (here's another one) monopolizing the news with these twisted descriptions of events.  They, and only they, will be the priestly mediators between the public and their leadership, something that in another context triggered something called the Reformation.

If they manage to shut Trump down on Twitter, too, it's going to be the death of the free press, the end of access to what our democratically elected leaders are thinking and communicating to us.  If they don't want to cover the news, fine, let them see what it does to their ratings.  But the Trump administration should be handing out more FCC licenses to enable the rise of new media outfits that are interested in covering the news, including even news they don't like.

Because if they get their way, what we will be up against is a news cartel controlling all information we can see.  We will have no access to what our elected leaders say.  It's well known that the Associated Press, according to this study, went downhill on Fournier's watch, moving from objective, detached reporting to biased opinion-making reports.  The addition of censorship to the mix, via Fournier playing Mister Olympian, is outrageous.

Image credit: Josh Hallett via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.