The Associated Press hasn't been having a good year. It’s been striking, in part because it’s unexpected — the AP has not exactly earned a reputation of being the Fox News of wire services. For the AP to do so many poor reports in such a short time made it seem as if the outlet had undergone some kind of deliberate shift.
As it happens, it has.
[Ron Fournier, the new head of The Associated Press’s Washington bureau] is a main engine in a high-stakes experiment at the 162-year old wire to move from its signature neutral and detached tone to an aggressive, plain-spoken style of writing that Fournier often describes as “cutting through the clutter.”
Fournier calls the trend “accountability journalism” and “liberating ... the truth.”
In principle, I couldn’t be more pleased. If the AP wants to bring accountability to campaign coverage, I’d be thrilled.
But I’ve seen the results of Fournier’s experiment. The AP is failing badly.