After Breitbart News published a story about The National Journal’s Ron Fournier’s refusal to comment on a fellow political journalist’s mocking of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Christian faith (we waited a full day for a response), from the floor of CPAC, Fournier reached out to us late Thursday afternoon and spoke at length about the controversy.
Fournier was not familiar with Goddard’s tweets or the post in question (Goddard appears to be deleting everything). These comments came after Breitbart News read Goddard’s full post to Fournier over the phone. Because he hadn’t read Goddard’s piece himself, Fournier said he wasn’t comfortable commenting on Goddard directly but only about the issue of mocking someone’s faith.
“It is unacceptable and unprofessional to mock anyone’s faith,” Fournier said before adding, “especially for a journalist.”
“Democrat or Republican, a politician saying their decision making process involves their faith and prayer is typical and admirable and unexceptional. It’s not newsworthy. To pretend or to say otherwise is inexcusable.”
“If Walker had said this to me in an interview, I probably would not have found it news. I certainly would not have found it out of the ordinary.” Fournier said that in his experience, prayer “is the first act many politicians engage in before a big decision.” Praying for guidance “is normal behavior. It’s dog bites man.”
Fournier apologized for not getting back to Breitbart News sooner. He said he’d been buried in work and with CPAC.
“These kinds of attacks [on religion] only coarsen our national debate,” he said before we hung up. “This is something we all, myself included, need to get better at.”
After former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani questioned Barack Obama’s love for America, Fournier was one of the first in the DC media to demand the entire GOP condemn the retired Mayor’s personal opinion of Obama. Others in the media followed suit, including The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank and CNN’s John King and Dana Bash.
With this standard in mind, after Taegan Goddard attacked Walker’s faith, Breitbart News reached out to all four asking for a condemnation of Goddard’s attack.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC