Getting schooled in street politics

I’m getting first hand experience at a lobbying effort by progressives aimed at one of the Associated Press’ top Washington journalists.
Long-time activist/journalist Al Giordano of “The Field” blog, among other projects, is taking the campaign against Ron Fournier, AP’s Washington Bureau Chief to newsroom senior managers across the country with a campaign targeting the 27 members of the Associated Press Managing Editors association, or APME.

I know this because I was recently elected to the board of APME as an online representative.

Giordano’s “Field” has local chapters of “Field Hands” in several states, including Tennessee, and members have been urged to contact APME board members in their areas.
He is urging them to write personalized emails or letters to APME board members and to make several points about Fournier’s coverage, which they view as pro-John McCain. Fournier has been criticized for biased coverage by a number of blogs and political sites, including Whatever the merit of those claims, it’s fair to say, Fournier’s controversial.

Progressive organizations have been highlighting Fournier for awhile, including with an email campaigns to the wire service’s management.

Focusing on APME — which promotes journalism excellence, training and is a sounding board between newspapers and the wire service (see the full about us) — is a new tactic just launched this week.

I received a handful of polite and impassioned emails today. I tried to give thoughtful responses (basically, Fournier seems to me to be a journalist of the highest professionalism and that the Saturday AP story on an AP-Yahoo poll on race and the election was good journalism, but I appreciate their concerns).

Based on what I have read on Giordano’s site, I assume they will be posted online although they were intended as personal replies to the email writers.
The response I got from Giordano was bit gruffer (and returned in kind), but he’s an old hand at the hurly-burly of street politics, first testifying before a state legislative  committee as a teen and working for several years with radical Abbie Hoffman.

I suspect this effort will continue at some level beyond the election in early November.