I need a miracle every day ...


We labored yesterday in honor of Labor Day and you, dear reader, but George tells me from the minimal mail drop, we suspect you were still at the beach (or on your "staycation"). In any case, if you missed yesterday's posts, they are below. Also, I put up a short piece at The Nation, "How to Cover the GOP." It's a little dated now, but I wonder how the RNC coverage would look if the media applied the standards we saw during the Democratic convention.

But before you go there, recall Eric Boehlert's terrific column about the Associated Press' Ron Fournier problem. Boehlert assembled a great deal of evidence showing that Fournier's infamous email to Karl Rove wasn't simply "breezy" correspondence, which is all Fournier copped to, but rather was representative of an inherent bias in Fournier, and thus the AP's, coverage.

After MoveOn.org started a letter-writing campaign against Fournier, the AP put out internal talking points, obtained by Michael Calderone at Politico.

The talking points are long on words and short on substantive defense of Fournier, and on that email, they again simply re-assert that "Ron has widely publicly said that the tone of the email was unfortunate, but that the contact with Rove was in the pursuit of a story."

For one, that ignores the scrupulous evidence compiled by Boehlert that Fournier was not pursuing a story at the time -- the email concerned the death of Pat Tillman, but Fournier didn't write a story about Tillman that year. Or ever.

And it's odd to simply object to the tone; we don't really care about the "tone." We care about the content. Fournier told Rove to "Keep up the fight." That, as Boehlert notes, is declaring sides -- however one says it, that's the problem. What if Fournier had written: "Dear Mr. Rove, In regards to your correspondence of last week, I strongly offer my sincere support. With regards, R. Fournier." That still wouldn't be OK, right?

Make no mistake how this is going to turn out -- the further the media move away from McCain love, and thus no longer able to ignore examinations of his judgment or politics, the stronger the conservative anti-media pushback will be.

The blaring headline of the Drudge Report currently: "MEDIA TURN ON MCCAIN IN ELECTION SHOWDOWN." (It links to this story, which is really about McCain turning on the media, not vice versa). By the time you've figured that out, however, Drudge figures he has you -- guy's got no respect for his audience, alas. (And we suppose/fear he's right.)

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