National Journal national reporter and formerly the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier has found the formula for making his articles go viral: Write about his experiences with past presidents in the most sticky sweet way possible and hit publish.
As George W. Bush is on a media tour this week to promote the opening of his library at Southern Methodist University in Texas, Fournier wrote a piece Tuesday lauding the still-unpopular former president as “a good man.”
“He remembered names of the spouses and children of his staff, and insisted that hard work at the White House not be an excuse to let family life suffer,” Fournier wrote.
The article (a piece on “presidential humanity,” as NJ called it in its daily newsletter) is as much about Fournier as it is about Bush and Bill Clinton, Bush’s predecessor. One of the many self-referential anecdotes in Fournier’s piece:
One steamy summer day in 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush called me with an exclusive interview and interrupted my first question. “What’s all that noise in the background, Fournier?” he asked.
“I’m at the pool with my kids, governor.”
Bush replied, “Then what the hell are you doing answering your phone?”
The article earned Fournier a guest spot on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss it. It was passed around on Twitter with readers (mostly conservatives) calling it “compelling,” “uplifting” and “an interesting perspective.” It landed a link on Drudge, headlined, “FOURNIER: Go Ahead, Admit It: Bush Is A Good Man…” As if Fournier’s name in all caps legitimizes an opinion at least half the country already holds.
Asked what makes his commentaries on Bush garner so much attention, Fournier… Read more