Wednesday, February 16, 2005


So by now many writers and posters with more talent and determination than yours truly have covered the unfolding story of Jeff Gannon (Guckert). For links go to or this racy section of Americablog.

Long story short: Gannon is a former gay prositute who was hired by a Republican operative in Texas to pretend to be a journalist and work for a pretend news agency. (a news agency so phony it was denied Capitol Hill press credentials, and which primarily reprinted WH press releases as content) While working for said agency he (Gannon/Guckert, see he used a fake name as a reporter) received daily press passes at the White House and frequently asked questions of the Press Secretary and even the President. Keep in mind that this is a President who rarely submits to interview or questioning. That he would allow a question from anyone is news, that it was a fake journalist for a fake paper potentially trading in sexual favors...well now that seems noteworthy to me. But for some reason Democrats are uneasy about it, and feel guilty.

Two metaphors popped into mind.

1. This guy works for a fake "news" agency. It's the equivalent of the editor for Highlights magazine getting a chance to ask repeated questions of the Press Secretary and the President. Except, of course, I'm assuming that Goofus and Gallant don't have sex for money, and more importantly never pretended to be journalists.

2. The Republicans take anything that looks like scandal and run with it. We tend to pull back and feel guilty. Not unreasonable. But we're playing a team that is using and abusing steroid and snorting amphetamines on the field, and we're worried that it's wrong to take a few vitamins. The rules of the game are changing or have already changed, and putting ourselves at a permanent competitive disadvantage doesn't make sense.

Don't ever abandon principle. Read that last sentence again. I was outraged well before the sex angle came into being. I think the idea of access being granted to a fake journalist is absurd. That that access may have had something to do with untoward behavior and not just ideological cronyism is offensive.

But.... Access being granted to a non-journalist, asking questions on behalf of a non-media entity is noteworthy. That the reporter in question may be a prostitute is also somewhat noteworthy, because it begs the question did his previous life help to ease his transition into his new one. Did he learn details for his journalistic endeavors through pillow talk? Finally, why is it of no concern to the WH that a person can be given access to the press room without a thorough background check, using an assumed name no less? Shouldn't we be vigilant in a time of terror?

Closing from Joe Conason:
Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart—or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

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