“Breathtakingly inappropriate,” is how Eric Boehlert describes Ron Fournier’s email exchanges with Karl Rove from 2004 (Fournier was an AP political reporter at the time; he is now the Washington bureau chief). Writes Boehlert, in a piece titled “The AP Has A Ron Fournier Problem:”

That kind of correspondence (“Keep up the fight” [wrote Fournier]) between a reporter and a partisan White House aide during a campaign year lands way outside the boundaries of acceptable newsroom practices.

Fournier’s official reaction to the emails, which happened to come to light last week when the House Oversight Committee released a report on Pat Tillman’s death of which the emails were a part, was: “I regret the breezy nature of the correspondence.” To which Boehlert says: “Of course, Fournier wasn’t simply being breezy. ‘Have a great weekend’ — that’s ‘breezy.’ Instead, Fournier was declaring sides.”

Or maybe “Keep up the fight” is part of Fournier’s standard email signature? You know:

Keep up the fight. Cheers! —Ron Fournier

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.