Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Following Jeffy's footprints
February 1, 2005 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Meet Jeff Gannon, White House Correspondent for the conservative Talon News Service. Jeff has become known for asking ridiculously leading questions and for writing news stories containing pure Republican boilerplate. Some people think something weird is going on here. You see, Talon News Service is not so much a news organization as it is a branch of conservative advocacy group GOPUSA. Then there's the fact that Jeff Gannon is a pseudonym - not a big deal, except that the White House press office has apparently broken with tradition and allowed him to register with them as his pseudonym. Who is this guy? Why does he have White House press credentials? And how did he apparently get hold of a secret intelligence document concerning the Plame affair? Inquiring liberals want to know, and several blogs -- including Daily Kos -- are trying to figure it all out.
posted by barjo (50 comments total)

 
Saw this on Captain Normal this morning and it is appalling that ShrubCo is allowing shills to pose as journalists.

But maybe this helps explain why Bush is so softballed by the press. They work for him.
posted by fenriq at 3:43 PM on February 1, 2005


"Gannongate" ?

Is this really any stranger that Helen Thomas, the former UPI reporter who is now a opinion columnist, retaining her front row seat in the White House Press Briefing?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:51 PM on February 1, 2005


"then" not "that"
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:53 PM on February 1, 2005


How can you defend this shit, Steve?
posted by interrobang at 3:53 PM on February 1, 2005


Steve: Well, yes.
I tire of getting excited about the downfall of various groups I oppose. They seem reasonably tough.
But I might have one more left in me: Woo! The hunt is on!
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 3:57 PM on February 1, 2005


Well, I'm not really sure what "this shit" is. Sorry if I take what Atrios and the recently assembled Media Matters with more than a grain of salt.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:01 PM on February 1, 2005


By misdirecting, steve_at_ admits that he knows full well that the Republicans are wrong on this one. And that it doesn't bother him that the White House would do something like that. It's good to know these things about people.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:03 PM on February 1, 2005


Also according to the Stevefilter, what media matters are saying is accurate, since he didn't question their statements, only expressed dismay that they haven't been around for a long time.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2005


he really doesn't care--at all. ethics, responsibility, accuracy, morality even--all foreign concepts.
posted by amberglow at 4:06 PM on February 1, 2005


Is this really any stranger that Helen Thomas, the former UPI reporter who is now a opinion columnist, retaining her front row seat in the White House Press Briefing?

can you expand on this? i fail to see how it relates to gannon. i mean this in earnest.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:19 PM on February 1, 2005


...Jeff Gannon is a pseudonym - not a big deal...

Pardon my density, but is it common for members of the press to use pseudonyms, like actors?
posted by jikel_morten at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2005


Hmm... This freeper thread (NSFDecentHumanBeings) also has all sorts of talk about Helen Thomas when the subject is supposed to be the Jeff Gannon. So it looks like steve_at_linnwood, aside from being OK with White House dishonesty, also isn't terribly original in making up his own poor arguments.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2005


Is this really any stranger that Helen Thomas, the former UPI reporter who is now a opinion columnist, retaining her front row seat in the White House Press Briefing?

Total red herring. Helen Thomas is a strident critic (i.e., she does her job as a journalist). This Gannon character is an administration mouthpiece.

C'mon Steve. Take off the red-colored glasses. This is just wrong.
posted by felix betachat at 4:27 PM on February 1, 2005


There is no defense of this action, Helen Thomas is still a journalist, Gannon has never been a journalist and is there for simply no other reason than to softball Bush and give him leading questions that he can smack out of the park without ever really getting at any issues.

And no, the press is not usually inclined to using pseudonyms. It sort of, oh I don't know, undermines their credibility.
posted by fenriq at 4:37 PM on February 1, 2005


Is this really any stranger that Helen Thomas, the former UPI reporter who is now a opinion columnist, retaining her front row seat in the White House Press Briefing?

Well, Helen seems fully qualified to be at the Briefing:

The Associated Press, July 5, 2000 ... Helen Thomas, who resigned her longtime post as UPI's White House correspondent two months ago, has been hired by newspaper publisher Hearst Corp. as a columnist. Thomas, 79, will write twice a week on national issues. Her work will be syndicated by the Hearst News Service, which serves 650 news outlets. [You can read a January 28, 2005 column here, for example.]

So I guess the issue that Steve is raising is one of protocol: where should Helen sit? Apparently this violation of protocol is quite serious, so I look forward to Steve explaining exactly why, hopefully in his next appearance in this space.
posted by WestCoaster at 4:37 PM on February 1, 2005


Holy crap. Talk about kicking over an anthill. *boggles*

Wonder if this will make it into the mainstream at all? A fake journalist from a fake (and completely partisan) news organization, making it into the White House Press Corps? Just that part is outrageous, let alone he may be planting memes in the news on purpose...

Holy crap.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:42 PM on February 1, 2005


for George, any publicity is good publicity. Don't you people get it by now? Nobody fucking cares. Nobody.

/too busy paying for a mortgage and a drinking habit.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:14 PM on February 1, 2005


(WARNING: EXTERNAL LINK)

'Cause, y'know, the internets is a dangerous place...
posted by 327.ca at 5:28 PM on February 1, 2005


for George, any publicity is good publicity. Don't you people get it by now? Nobody fucking cares. Nobody.

/too busy paying for a mortgage and a drinking habit.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:14 PM PST on February 1


Don't worry, jsavimbi.

We care, so you don't have to.
posted by Floydd at 5:33 PM on February 1, 2005


Hey Steve,

I got a difference:

Helen Thomas is named Helen Thomas.

Bonus:

She's been doing this under multiple presidents. She's earned her fucking tenure, she's an institution at this point. Also, she has yet to ask the question "Mr. Bush, your campaign has the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?"

you're seriously absurd
posted by slapshot57 at 6:13 PM on February 1, 2005


Helen Thomas isn't covering up her name, her status, her views on the administration or who signs her paycheck.

Now can we get back to the issue at hand?
posted by PlusDistance at 6:20 PM on February 1, 2005


Helen Thomas isn't covering up her name, her position, her views on the administration or who signs her paycheck.

Now can we get back to the issue at hand?
posted by PlusDistance at 6:21 PM on February 1, 2005


(...and Helen Thomas doesn't double post. Sorry.)
posted by PlusDistance at 6:24 PM on February 1, 2005


Well, let's see, official GOP party mouthpiece, who has published GOP memoranda unaltered as his own "reporting," who has been given (special) access to the White House press room, masquerading as a journalist while pushing official government positions (and I don't mean just agreeing with the government -- actually being a part of, and paid by, the government).

Yup, this shit is hard to understand, Steve. Look, party loyalty fine and all, but this is way over the fucking line, well into the Soviet model of information management. This is terrifying shit. You need to to condemn it.

We can't have a free nation if we allow the government to destroy the field of journalism this way.
posted by teece at 7:00 PM on February 1, 2005


I'm still waiting for Gannon to say, "Mr. President, I don't have a question, I have three thank yous. One, thank you for your availability to serve. Two, your candle is burning brightly. And three, thanks for accepting the call and answering the call to work for what's right in the country and in the world."
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:04 PM on February 1, 2005


Unfortunately, while our Constitution clearly states that no laws shall be made which restrict the freedom of the press, there's nothing in there which forbids the Executive Branch from hiring paid shills (or encouraging volunteer shills, for that matter) to infiltrate that press and spread whatever info or disinfo is desired. It's probably not technically illegal, though paying a shill with taxpayer money might be...

However, any sane person who can think straight understands that this is morally wrong and an offense against us citizens, and against the concept of freedom of the press.

At least in this case it's pretty damn transparent.

Perhaps this will get fixed on the next revision, RealFreeDemocracy 2.0. (talk about vaporware...)
posted by zoogleplex at 7:43 PM on February 1, 2005


Strange how Steve_in_Highschool has been silent for so long....
posted by interrobang at 8:58 PM on February 1, 2005


If I was still a republican I would be pissed that my president's administration had to resort to this.

Somewhere along the way it became okay to be cowardly.

I suppose this is because the opponent was ungodly or something.
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:20 PM on February 1, 2005


Something's seriously fucked, here. Talon News Service has removed their Jeff Gannon bio. (Here it is, last spring.) It lists him as a graduate of the Leadership Institute "Broadcast Journalism School", which has as its mission "the placement of conservatives", well, everywhere. The "school" is a $50 two-day seminar "for conservatives wishing to pursue a career in journalism".

JeffGannon.com bills itself as an "Old Media Bias Blog". Registration data is, predictably, bogus:
Daniels, J. bedrockcorp@bedrock.com
4001 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE 19807
US
302-547-8825


Bedrock.com is actually a Wisconsin-based IT provider. IP lookup on the site finds the IP registered to Hurricane Electric, a California based host.

(Some of this basic sleuthing, and more, is found on DailyKos.) Real Kaycee Nicole work here.

Steve, Helen Thomas remains in the White House Press Corps regardless of sponsorship; she retains first chair not by virtue of her employer, but by her personal longevity in the corps, a longstanding tradition. I think it's up to the press corps to decide who gets first chair, anyway.
posted by dhartung at 10:37 PM on February 1, 2005


Also, I might add that Helen Thomas quit UPI after it was purchased by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (who is in insane) and went to work for Hearst, which is an actual news organization unlike "Talon."
posted by jefbla at 11:01 PM on February 1, 2005


Recently assembled? We've been around for almost a year now for chrissake... :)
posted by owillis at 11:01 PM on February 1, 2005


when the movie of this administration is made, nobody will believe it.

my grandkids will say, grampa what did you do?

i will say, i blogged about the insanity of it all and wore a tshirt with the letters wtf on it.

and hopefully they wont say, oh you mean the shirt you still wear every day?
posted by tsarfan at 12:35 AM on February 2, 2005


Ad Hominem Alert

What I learned from this thread™:

Steve, like most all Freeped wingnut apologists, is a total twat.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 6:41 AM on February 2, 2005


I think that the Reverend's statement should be immediately elevated from rule of thumb to axiom.
posted by n9 at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2005


Steve, there is nothing more damning than your silence.

(God, someone remind me to thank Mick for giving us that one.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:02 AM on February 2, 2005


So, the Right's response to the Gannon scandal is to start picking on an old woman? Classy.
posted by mkultra at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2005


X, that's the new "A++++" and "Why do you hate America?"
Let's use it until we're sick of it.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:19 AM on February 2, 2005


Well it's not like the "legitimate" press corps have been anything but Bush lapdogs for four years anyway. Hopefully this will rouse them to do some actual questioning of the president with the fewest press conferences.
posted by petebest at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2005


You people keep forgetting that Steve is a child, both literally and metaphorically.
posted by bshort at 11:18 AM on February 2, 2005


This Gannon story gets better and better the further it goes.
posted by shawnj at 7:44 AM on February 4, 2005


"I write a news story, I post it, and anything having to do with GOPUSA, I don't know about." Added Gannon, "I'm not the '60 Minutes' producer with the Kerry campaign on speed dial."

Well! Case closed then!
posted by petebest at 2:21 PM on February 4, 2005


He just quit, right after lefty bloggers dug up the gay escort domains he registered.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:04 AM on February 9, 2005


Yeah this story has just been all over the mainstream media - it reminds me of the Monica Lewinsky story how it's just infecting everything the administration does because of its ubiquitousness.
posted by petebest at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2005


Well, at least no one lied about getting a blowjob.
posted by Cyrano at 11:18 AM on February 9, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood counters "Is this really any stranger that Helen Thomas, the former UPI reporter who is now a opinion columnist, retaining her front row seat in the White House Press Briefing?" [emphasis mine]

But Steve! I know for a fact that Helen Thomas was removed from that front row seat.

How do I know that?

From a repost at FreeRepublic.com of an article by that always truthful journalist, Jeff Gannon!
Bush Reaches Out to Press Corps By Jeff Gannon Talon News November 9, 2004

WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- Ever since Sen. John Kerry conceded the presidential election to him, President George W. Bush has been reaching out to those who opposed him.

. . . .

For decades, Thomas had been given front row seating at presidential press conferences and always asked the first question. That tradition ended when George W. Bush became the chief executive. Now Thomas often finds herself relegated to the back rows and never called on to pose a question. [emphasis mine]
To see Gannon's full article, you'll have to look in in the Google cache, because for some strange reason, the article has been removed from GOPUSA.com's site.
posted by orthogonality at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2005


He just quit, right after lefty bloggers dug up the gay escort domains he registered.

This is probably very bad news for Steve_at.

(Sorry, just trying to pick up the slack.)
posted by soyjoy at 6:50 PM on February 9, 2005


Thank you, orthogonality. She's only been covering the White House since like, the Van Buren administration. It's a really bad counter-argument, as the more you examine the way this chief executive has treated Ms. Thomas, the more the rest of the travesty that is that press room becomes almost unsurprising.
posted by obloquy at 7:56 PM on February 9, 2005


Steve,

"than" not "then"

FYI
posted by Shike at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2005


"Unfortunately, while our Constitution clearly states that no laws shall be made which restrict the freedom of the press, there's nothing in there which forbids the Executive Branch from hiring paid shills (or encouraging volunteer shills, for that matter) to infiltrate that press and spread whatever info or disinfo is desired."

I'm not so sure about that. I admit I'm not extremely fluent with the laws surrounding this, but I know there are prohibitions on "covert propaganda" for at least some government-funded operations (see ONDCP violation). So assuming he's being paid by the government and not disclosing that he's acting on behlaf of the government, it appears to me that it would be illegal.
posted by nTeleKy at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2005


the GOP isn't the government yet, right?
posted by nequalsone at 11:32 AM on February 11, 2005


« Older The beginning of the end for Dear Leader?...  |  Bill Clinton to become Secreta... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments