Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 13, 2009

RON FOURNIER, CODE BREAKER.... Americans can tune into Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings and watch the various players involved in the process make their case.

Apparently, though, viewers may be inclined to simply hear the words people speak without an appreciation for hidden subtexts. Ron Fournier, the AP's Washington bureau chief, has such a keen ear, he can practically read the judge's and the senators' minds.

In the polite, white-hot world of confirmation hearings, senators and witnesses can't always say what they want to say. So they speak in code. Here's a translation of what was said in the opening moments of the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings, and what the players actually meant....

So, for example, the audience heard Sotomayor thank her family this morning, and tell the Judiciary Committee, "If I introduced every one that's family, we'd be here all morning." Sounds like a person who appreciates her large family? Not to Fournier, who re-interprets the comment for the rest of us: "I may not look like all of you but, trust me, I'm no different than every other family-loving American. I'm surrounded by people who love me."

Now, a normal person may think Fournier's code-breaking bears no resemblance to reality -- Sotomayor didn't even hint about looking different than the committee members -- but that's only because a normal person can't read minds like the AP's Washington bureau chief.

Similarly, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said nobody should demonize "this extraordinary woman, her success or her understanding of the duties she's faithfully performed the last 17 years." A reference to Sotomayor's lengthy record as a respected jurist? Not to Fournier, who re-interprets Leahy's comment this way: "Criticize Sotomayor at your own risk. Don't be sexist."

I get the sense that this is a "code" that only Fournier understands.

Steve Benen 3:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

But it's a code Nixon would understand perfectly.

Why does Ron Fournier still have a job?

Posted by: Yellow Dog on July 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT HE SAID: In the polite, white-hot world of confirmation hearings, senators and witnesses can't always say what they want to say. So they speak in code.

WHAT HE MEANT: I'm bored by these hearings. My cynicism knows no bounds. I should be pulled from this gig to cover the Washington Wizards.

Posted by: scott_m on July 13, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Fournier is absolutely right. Listen carefully to what is said in the MSM and you can hear hidden voices all the time.

Posted by: Al on July 13, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

There's something to be decoded all right, but it isn't the subjects of Fournier's 'analysis', it's the twisted process he uses to remold reality into conventional wisdom.

Posted by: charles on July 13, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sure it's not Rove emailing him what to say?

Posted by: ComradeAnon on July 13, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Fournier writes in code, too. What he is saying is that, yes, he is a prick, but you know who he is and are reading what he writes about but he neither reads nor cares about what you think or what you write about.

Posted by: qwerty on July 13, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Bear in mind that AP is ownedby the Moonies. Fournier learned his chops from John Solomon.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 13, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

You're all wrong; he's a pre-cog. It is not true now, but it WILL be true by next weekend, when Bill Kristol and George Will tell us what was REALLY said.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on July 13, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

At least Fournier is being honest by telling us up front that he's just going to make stuff up and pretend it's what people said at the hearing.

Most of the corporate media's phony "journalists" do that all the time, but they pretend it is "analysis".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 13, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bear in mind that AP is ownedby the Moonies. Fournier learned his chops from John Solomon.

The Moonies own UPI.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on July 13, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The ghost of Jeanne Dixon laughs at this ass-clown.

Posted by: slappy magoo on July 13, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yes...but for some reason Mr. Fournier didn't decipher some of the other code-speak at the hearing. Like, Mr. Sessions remarks -- which if I'm not mistaken were code for: "Listen, it's not that I don't like you because you ARE Hispanic or because you ARE a woman - rather than a conservative white man. It's because you ACT like a Hispanic woman and not a conservative white man. And we just can't have that."

Posted by: eric on July 13, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

What I say: Ron Fournier is an asshole.

What I mean: Ron Fournier is an asshole.

Hey! This is easy!

Posted by: Rand Careaga on July 13, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's the fortune teller's secret code, guys -- you pay an entry fee of 50 cents or $2, whatever your paper costs, and Fournier the Famous Futurist and Real Time Relator appears, magically, crystal globe at hand and stars on the curtains, to make you feel smug and sure and superior. And it's all a con, even if in some delusional way he almost believes it himself.

Posted by: SF on July 13, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Okay so Fournier understands these things so much better than the rest of us and has access to the inner selves of the Senate. . .should we call him the Senate whisperer?

Posted by: Greytdog on July 13, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ron responds..

Aw come on man.. Real journalism is *soo boring.. Yo, smart-ass infotainment is like, *way cooler dude. I rock!

Posted by: FC on July 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

From the San Francisco Gay Area, I offer three thoughts:

(1) Don't we have a right to expect better than professional mediocrity and / or political mendacity from the perrenially lowballing Beltway media corps? I mean, the only thing most of us here really want is accurate information upon which we can base our decisions. I think we're tired of being propagandized ad nauseum by people who are clearly our intellectual inferiors.

(2) The only way Ron Fournier will ever truly be worth six figures is if his employer correctly places the decimal point between the fourth and fifth digits.

(3) In the future, before offering his opinion, Ron Fournier should at the very least first arise from his present kneeling position in front of his corporate masters. It's bad manners to talk with one's mouth full.

Posted by: Out & About in the Castro on July 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, between Halperin, Fournier, Nedra Pickler--is there anybody at the AP who isn't a shameless hack?

Posted by: Allan Snyder on July 13, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to "Thank you" to all the bloggers covering this hearing so I don't have to listen to it.

I have health issues, and my blood pressure would go through the roof if I had to listen to that racist frigging icehole Jeff Sessions imply that Sotomayor is a racist.

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 13, 2009 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this standard Neocon policy?

There are secret and hidden meanings the world that can only be discerned by the illumaniti [aka neocons]. Ordinary [rational] people cannot see these secret relationships.

Because they can see the secret meanings, the neocons must take the extrordinary actions [wars, torture, pillage etc.] necessary to protect the lesser people from these hidden dangers.

Same old story.

Posted by: Buford on July 13, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Fournier thrives in the modern media ecosystem because he knows how to serve his paymasters the media moguls.

It's really that simple.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on July 13, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

What he said: Code

What he meant: I hear messages from the DEVIL! The DEVIL!

Posted by: Glen on July 13, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, Fournier is such a wank - but there are so many wanky right-wing politicos and commentators, almost any one of them gets lost in the crowd!
UPI: now owned by the Moonies?! Ugh, I thought it was just the Wash Times complex - this is awful. I hope Reuters stays good(?), I heard McClatchy has already gone crappo.

As for Sotomayor, she seems fit enough but does anyone here think Obama could have done better to pick say, Pam Karlan or Diane Wood?

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on July 13, 2009 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Also, it is a typical right-wing hacks' indulgence to think they can sense what people (especially liberals) "really mean", and hacks like Rush have been playing that game for years - to both needle their victims/opposition, and to advance a narrative. Fournier follows in their footsteps even if lacking an explicit alliance.

Posted by: N e i l B on July 13, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I have absolutely NO journalistic credentials- but I still have my Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring (Drink Your Ovaltine, Ralphie).

Can I too be an AP reporter?

Posted by: DAY on July 13, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Drink Your Ovaltine, Ralphie

A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!

Posted by: Ralphie on July 13, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

*He* (Fournier) thinks they're speaking in code. *I* think that he needs a hearing aid as well as a short course of "remedial hearing comprehension". To each his/her beliefs and prejudices, no?

Posted by: exlibra on July 13, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT FOURNIER SAID: WHAT SHE MEANT: I may not look like all of you but, trust me, I'm no different than every other family-loving American. I'm surrounded by people who love me.


WHAT FOURNIER MEANT: She's NOT like you! She's Hispanic! Do not be fooled by her "I'm just like you" act!

Posted by: kc on July 13, 2009 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

We may not like what Fournier is saying and 'interpreting'... However...

That is actually what conservatives 'HEAR'... At least he's honest about letting us non-conservatives in on the code.

It would have been nicer if compliant Democrats hadn't taken Roberts and Alito at their word, and listened to Fournier's 'secret code' We wouldn't have those 2 right wingers on the Supreme court today.

But then again... You'd have to have a spine in order to protest. Better to stay 'above the fray' and pretend you don't 'hear' the code.

Posted by: bruno on July 13, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

funny thing about code, whenever Fournier writes or says anything, WHAT HE MEANS IS: "Take my temperature, Mommy. No, not that way. You know how I like it. IN THE POOPER.

Try to prove me wrong, Ron. I'll just say you're in denial. Say I'm projecting, I'll say you're deflecting. Infantilism is nothing to be ashamed of. Well, it IS something to be sshamed of, but better than being a phantom neocon.

Posted by: slappy magoo on July 13, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

But -- but -- but -- Maureen Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize for doing that! In fact, she's built her entire career on it. A week doesn't go by without at least one imaginary conversation, or her transcription of someone else's private thoughts. Fournier just wants a Pulitzer too, and at the rate that he and the Pulitzer committee are both going he'll probably get one.

Posted by: T-Rex on July 13, 2009 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't this the guy that wanted to become the head PR flack for the McCain campaign? I know it was an AP douchebag. I think it was Fournier.

Posted by: coltergeist on July 13, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Fournier - Karl Rove's little butt-buddy.

Posted by: Patrick Starr on July 13, 2009 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Decoding Fournier: "Everything everyone says is about race or sex." What the hell, man? I'm reminded of a recent Daily Show segment- I think it was where Obama was describing the qualities he'd look for in a Supreme Court justice. Aasif Mandvi decoded every sentence he said as being about abortion (except for the one about gay marriage).

Posted by: Jurgan on July 14, 2009 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Ron Fournier still have a job?

Are you kidding? He's doing his job. Republican claims about the "liberal media" are just for the rubes.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2009 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

You know, it's not like it's impossible to do this sort of thing hilariously well, it's just that Fournier sucks.

Posted by: R.R. on July 15, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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