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August 23, 2008

AP's Ron Fournier may command speaking fees of up to $10,000

The Washington Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier, may command speaker's fees of up to $10,000 per appearance.

As of this writing, Fournier appears to be available for booking through the All American Talent & Celebrity Network's website. I called to confirm that he was still listed with the agency, but I haven't heard back yet.

According to his speaker bio, Fournier co-wrote a book called Applebee's America with Bush's former chief strategist Matthew Dowd and former high-level Clinton adviser, Doug Sosnik. Appropriately enough, the 2006 book is a treatise on political marketing for politicians, captains of industry, and mega-church pastors.

Applebee's contains such pearls of wisdom as: "The most important Gut Values today are community and authenticity. People are desperate to connect with one another and be part of a cause greater than themselves. They're tired of spin and sloganeering from political, business, and religious institutions that constantly fail them."

Before Fournier returned to the AP in March of 2007, he was in negotiations with the McCain campaign about a job.

Fournier drew fire when his over-friendly email to Karl Rove came to light in the course of a Congressional investigation into the death of Pat Tillman

In April, Fournier told the Alaska Press Club that "developing new sources to going out on a date." No word on whether he charged for that advice.

Here's AP's ethics policy on outside appearances:

Employees frequently appear on radio and TV news programs as panelists asking questions of newsmakers; such appearances are encouraged.

However, there is potential for conflict if staffers are asked to give their opinions on issues or personalities of the day. Advance discussion and clearance from a staffer's supervisor are required.

Employees must inform a news manager before accepting honoraria and/or reimbursement of expenses for giving speeches or participating in seminars at colleges and universities or at other educational events if such appearance makes use of AP's name or the employee represents himself or herself as an AP employee. No fees should be accepted from governmental bodies; trade, lobbying or special interest groups; businesses, or labor groups; or any group that would pose a conflict of interest. All appearances must receive prior approval from a staffer's supervisor.

It would be difficult to have a career as a highly-paid motivational speaker if you couldn't take money from business, labor, government, lobby, or special interest groups.

Update: When Fournier spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the country's most powerful lobby groups, he was billed as AP's top political writer. The event was held in September of 2006, when Fournier was supposed to have quit the AP to do promotional work for his book.


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Nicely done, Lindsay. What's next?

Ron Fournier has replaced the AP's neutral reporting with Op-Eds.

But instead of labeling them Op-Eds, he labels them "Analysis."

Politico has an article about this, "Is Fournier saving or destroying the AP?"

It's incredible that the AP would allow its writers to give paid speeches to anything other than journalism groups and journalism-related academic forums.

The reason I'm bringing up Ron Fournier's use of the term "Analysis" instead of "Op-Ed" is the associations of each word:

"Op-Ed" - a pundit who gets paid to spout opinions spouts one to-boost-the-Republicans or to-boost-the-Democrats or to bring attention to an issue

"Analysis" - a person with a neutral, scientific demeanor is brought by the facts to the only conclusion which fits the facts

Ron Fournier's latest garbage:

"Barack Obama is my candidate," (Hillary Clinton) said. "And he must be our president."

But did she mean it?

When Rudy Giuliani endorses John McCain next week, I'm sure Ron Fournier will ask afterwards: But did he mean it?

Or then again, maybe Fournier won't ask that.

Rudy and McCain have been friends and for the most part political allies for a long time.

There is absolutely none of the deep personal animus that exists between Obama, Clinton, the spouses, and their respective camps.

The Phanton -

Your proof of the long friendship between Giuliani and McCain? Your proof that Hillary Clinton hates Barack Obama?

typo: The Phantom

Thats funny. A lot of the people on Brit websites use the phrase "phanton"

I've always thought that they were friendly, at least over the past decade

Giuliani, when running for President in the primaries, was criticized for not going after McCain. He just wouldn't do it. I think that stems from a reluctance to attack someone who has been a political ally but also a friend.


There are an ocean of indications that Bill dislikes Obama.

And the feeling is mutual

As far as Hillary's distaste for Obama? Its a big gut feeling, unprovable, but last night's speech did not convince me otherwise. There is just such a chill there, right beneath the surface.

The PUMA phenomenon, which I don't understand much at all, is not helping Obama or the party at all. I don't understand the dead ender loyalty to Hillary Clinton, or why some view her as a "feminist icon". As if.

Second link should have been this

"Media Matters for America" took issue with a different part of Ron Fournier's "analysis" of Hillary Clinton's convention speech.

Ron Fournier attacked Hillary Clinton for using the word "I" 17 times.

We'll see if Ron Fournier attacks Republican speakers for how many times the word "I" appears in their convention speeches next week.

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