The Mirror

HOPELESSLY HOOKED: Reporter breaks promise to stay off Twitter

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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We knew he couldn’t do it.

National Journal‘s Ron Fournier has let down the entire United States of America and maybe the world. The national correspondent is a serial tweeter of the most inane, ass-kissing, but oh-so-intelligent Washington drivel out there.

On Dec. 19, some six days before Christmas, Fournier, now a national correspondent after deciding that being editor wasn’t for him, declared that he was signing off until the first of the year. “That’s a wrap until ’14,” he said, clearly crossing his fingers behind his back. “Will give your feeds a rest for the holidays. Thank you for reading, reacting and trolling ’13. Keep up the fight.” In the moment,  John Feehery, president of Quinn Gillespie and Associates, blogger and former flack to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, offered a bizarre sprinkle of encouragement, saying, “You da man.” The Mirror, too, offered him encouragement in the form of these rose-smelling apes.



But I knew in my bones Fournier couldn’t do it.

I hate to be a doubter. At first I was really rooting for him to be able to achieve this monumental feat, but there was no way Fournier could pull this off. The guy spends every waking moment on Twitter. He warns you when he’s actually writing a story and offers updates on how it’s going. Sure, he eventually finishes his story. But not before taking breathers to quarrel with the likes of Washington Post‘s “The Plumline” writer Greg Sargent. Eventually Fournier finishes. But it’s a vicious cycle. More tweeting ensues.

On Dec. 20, the holiday Fournathon began. There he was, some 13 hours after the promise at 7:04 a.m., tweeting all kinds of stuff that really is hard to care about. My heart sank and soared simultaneously. You’re probably thinking, why read his feed? As they say on Brokeback Mountain, I just can’t quit him. And like a car wreck, rubbernecking is an unavoidable hazard of my job.

So what kind of crack-like euphoria made Fournier go off the Twitter wagon over the holidays?

As much as it pained me to do it, I went through his entire feed, line by line. I needed a full-body acupressure massage mid-way through from the stress and irritation, but I survived six days of Fournier’s online chatter, which included 57 retweets and a whopping 62 actual tweets from Fournier. Seriously, was he just fucking with us saying he was taking this time off Twitter? My current emotional state: All Fournier-ed out. But still breathing.

Things quickly went downhill as Fournier went on a serious Twitter bender full of pointlessness. Like this: “Dinner at the Knights.” (No offense to the Knights, but really?) And this: “.@abby4nier put ‘stylish lunch box’ on the grocery list so I came home with this.” (You break your promise for this? With this, he posts a picture of the lunchbox: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck sashaying their way through a horrible Christmas scene.) On the 22nd, he felt the need to tell people about a Ray Charles song, as opposed to just listening to it and enjoying it: “It’s not Christmas until you’ve heard Ray Charles sing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” Deep sigh. But there’s more where that came from. Other rage-inducing nothingness Fournier felt the need to share:


 * A bunch of retweets from Pepino Suave, clearly a favorite of Fournier.

* Something he felt the need to “+1” and retweet (I shit you not): RT @big_ben_clock: BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG”

* Never one to miss self irony, he retweeted an alleged Will Ferrell saying, “This dumbass next to me on the highway is texting and driving.” And from @Samir: “Ok everyone enough of your ‘family’ time to come back to the internet. We are your real family.” (Fournier took this one to heart.)

* Seriously, he’s curious about the luggage of another journalists’ mother-in-law? “Curious @JoshuaGreen , did @AmericanAir find mom-in-law’s luggage yesterday?” Previously, he took time to take matters into his own hands and send a “snarky” message to American Airlines. And American Airlines replied. “Hey @AmericanAir, 3 things not to mess with: 1) mothers-in-law 2) @JoshuaGreen 3) @JoshuaGreen‘s mother-in-law #Fail” The airline replied, “Hi Ron, how can we help you this morning?” One quick question: Is Joshua Green a moron and incapable of going to or calling up the lost luggage department?

* He retweeted PBS Gwen Ifill‘s “favorite ornament,” which happens to be a black Santa.

* A retweet from Pope Francis: “Christ comes among us at Christmas: it is the perfect time for a personal encounter with the Lord.”

* On Christmas Eve, he inquired, “Is NSA tracking Santa?”

* Also on Christmas Eve: “Merry Christmas. Been dispatched to Target for something Santa left off her list. Ho Ho Hope I’m out by noon.”

There’s hope yet. Earlier today Fournier tweeted, “Driving all day until we fall off the grid in northern Michigan.” I wondered if he was actually driving, in the passenger’s seat tweeting away as his wife drove or thrown in the back seat for being anti-social. Fournier friends, it is possible that he’ll be “off the grid” later today with NO ACCESS to Twitter.

We can’t help but think there’s a special battery we’ll be hearing about later.