Believe it or not: the AP has released a piece by Ron Fournier titled "Analysis: Is Edwards Real or a Phony?"
Talk about parroting Republican talking points! Can we expect an equivalent approach to covering the GOP candidates? ("Giuliani: Sane or Crazy?")
Also, there's an obvious epistemological problem here -- Fournier can't resolve whether Edwards is "real" or a "phony," nor can anyone else. And this sort of character-focused coverage diverts attention from issues that Fournier can effectively address such as, well, policy.
Finally, what the hell happened to Ron Fournier? Since returning from the Hotsoup.com boondoggle, the former lead reporter for the AP is now writing terrible op-eds as "analysis." It's reminiscent of the record producers who get sick of other people getting the credit and decide they want to be the star.
Update 9/19 8:16 PM: On reflection, the most absurd part of the article might be this passage, which reads like a parody of the "objective" approach to news reporting:
Is the Democratic presidential candidate a man of the people, as he says, or the fake his rivals call him?
It may be that Edwards is not quite either caricature — that the answer, like much in politics, is less black and white than gray, and discerning voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will give Edwards his ultimate gut check.
The truth is always somewhere in the middle, so Edwards must be at least partly phony! That's what's so pathological about "he said," "she said" news coverage. (As Paul Krugman put it, "if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, 'Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth.'") See All the President's Spin for much more on the problems with focusing on balance in news reporting.
Update 9/20 5:30 PM: CJR's Liz Cox Barrett has more on Fournier violating his own advice to AP reporters.