The Associated Press (AP) is the news giant that very few seem to notice. They are a huge syndicated force, but the nearly anonymous diffusion of their material allows them to for the most part escape detection.
The AP was formed in May of 1846. Since then, the news syndicate has risen to consist of 243 news bureaus in 97 countries. They have over 3,000 journalists on staff. 121 countries avail themselves of what they have to offer. Their content appears in 1,700 newspapers worldwide.
But the AP is now far more than merely “Press”. There are additionally 850 AP Radio News audio affiliates, with 5,000 radio and television outlets spanning the globe taking them for and at their word.
Beyond just the majors, it is from where a great many small town American newspapers get most or all of their national and international news stories. They are a deeply and tremendously dominant and influential force. And for decades, the AP was the gold standard -- the fast and accurate reporting entity every newspaper and broadcast media outlet sought to emulate.
Back in 1919, Upton Sinclair -- in his Leftist classic “Brass Check” -- excoriated the AP for what he alleged to be its ultra-conservatism and corporatism. We at the Media Research Center do not possess archives going back quite that far, so we can not speak to the accuracy of Sinclair’s scathing of the AP as a bastion of turn of the 20th Century Rightism.
But if the Socialist Sinclair was correct then, we can say that he would be far more pleased with the AP product of today. There are large swaths of liberal bias rife throughout the organization and its presentations of the news, and it in many ways blazes the trail for its many lesser liberal journalistic cohorts to follow.
Last week was most certainly an active and activist one for The Syndicate.
The polling booths for Tuesday’s Michigan presidential primaries were barely closed before the AP’s Ron Fournier, unable to contain any longer his anti-Romneyism, came bursting apart at the seams and in print with “On Deadline: Mitt Won, Authenticity Lost”.
Reporter Fournier begins, “The former Massachusetts governor pandered to voters, distorted his opponents' record and continued to show why he's the most malleable - and least credible -- major presidential candidate. And it worked.”
Clearly Fournier is not a Romney fan. Does this unbiased journalist from this paragon of the news firmament have a horse in this race? Meet Arizona Senator John McCain.
“The man who spoke hard truths to Michigan lost. Of all the reasons John McCain deserved a better result Tuesday night, his gamble on the economy stands out. The Arizona senator had the temerity to tell voters that a candidate who says traditional auto manufacturing jobs ‘are coming back is either naive or is not talking straight with the people of Michigan and America. Instead of pandering, McCain said political leaders must ‘embrace green technologies,’ adding: ‘That's the future. That's what we want.’
… “Judging by the brief campaign in Michigan, one candidate (Romney) would flail away at the problem with empty rhetoric while the other (McCain) would ask Americans to come to grips with the harsh realities of global competition, a tech-based economy and the urgent need to retrain a generation of workers. … Romney didn't talk about any of that. Instead, he told voters what he thought they wanted to hear.”
Apparently, McCain purchases his economically disastrous climate change notions at the same store at which Fournier shops,for his.
Last Monday morning on C-Span’s “Washington Journal”, AP Political Reporter Beth “Hong Kong” Fouhy provided the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign with twenty-five uninterrupted minutes of commercial time and political spin.
Fouhy repeatedly defended Senator Clinton and her husband against the charges of racism. Those charges stem from questionable statements regarding (black) Democrat opponent Barack Obama and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Against charges that Senator Clinton had her Campaign Trail of Tears moment.
Fouhy excused every Clinton self-contradiction as little more than an “understandable” part of the campaign process. She stood up for the Senator in referencing the debate in which Obama and Best in Show candidate John Edwards allegedly ganged up on her. She even went so far as to question the veracity of an Obama statement or two, to turn the tables on behalf of the Clintons.
All of this sober, impartial analysis from the lead AP reporter charged with delivering us the Democrat campaign goods.
A shorter burst of bias was proffered in another AP story, this one entitled, “Judge may let Rather's lawsuit proceed”.
In which there is absolutely no mention of former CBS anchor Dan Rather’s use of forged documents in an attempt to diminish President Bush’s chances of re-election in 2004. (Rather is suing to contest his premature forced retirement and acquire back monies he claims he is owed.)
The closest AP gets to mentioning the enormity of the scandal (minimizing rather than burying the lead) is, “Rather, whose last months at CBS were clouded by a disputed story on President Bush's Vietnam-era military service…”
Disputed? Disproven, more accurately. The AP story reminds us of Rather’s words on the subject, “(T)he facts of the story were correct. One supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one supporting pillar was brought into question.”
There is far more bias to mined in just these last seven days, but we have already far exceeded our word count quota.
Suffice to say that this Week in the Life of the AP is not atypical, but just another days at the office for the undisputed Colossus of News (Bias).