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White House "reporter" outed
February 9, 2005 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Fake "reporter" flees before bloggers. How did a man with no known journalism experience get repeated White House press room access, where he denounced Democratic leaders at press conferences and loudly supported President Bush? It's a question asked here before. But now, in an example of citizen journalism, bloggers have apparently exposed "Jeff Gannon," whose other activities may lend a new definition to the label "Republican tool."
posted by sacre_bleu (129 comments total)

 
Active MeFi thread about the same guy
posted by riffola at 10:43 AM on February 9, 2005


He knows about the thread, riffola, hence why he linked to it in his own FPP. The last day or so has provided more than enough new information for a follow-up, IMO.

For example, the official demand for a Congressional investigation into this. From Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office:
Dear Mr. President:

In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.
Here's an interesting question that I've been wondering- can someone ask this DURING a press conference?

I mean, with the guy (I'm assuming Talon will create a replacement for Gannon) actually in the room while someone else asks why the White House is giving press credentials to GOP operatives who assume fake IDs to cover up their possibly-illegal escort business? Can they then say to Scott McClellan that said reporter is welcome to help with the response? Can we actually make the guy cry?

Furthermore, isn't it interesting how Powerline and all the other bloggers who declared Dan Rather as the enemy of the state have NOTHING to say about this- and when they do, it'll probably be fake outrage over "smearing" Gannon? As mandated by my eternal love for Mick, I'd like to point out nothing is more damning than their silence.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:50 AM on February 9, 2005


"The voice goes silent."

This guy obviously has a high opinion of himself. He writes on his website

"Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life.

Thank you to all those who supported me."
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:51 AM on February 9, 2005


Two words come to mind: "tar" and "feathers."
posted by wsg at 10:54 AM on February 9, 2005


Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News.

Because of the attention being paid to him, Michael Jackson finds it no longer possible to effectively molest children.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:54 AM on February 9, 2005


Yep, I've noticed a deafening silence from the GOP bloggers about Jeff Gannon.

Its just another means by which the Bush White House is undermining the public's faith in any news agency or blog. Its a pretty smart strategy really, discredit all news sources so that no one believes the daily scandals.

Smart and depressing.
posted by fenriq at 10:54 AM on February 9, 2005


Active MeTa thread about the active MeFi thread. It's an update of a story though.

I wonder if the media will get on to this now that gay sex is involved. Apparently pointing out someone being a complete shill and ethical embarrassment aren't enough to get changes, but when sex gets involved. WHOA! GET HIM OUT OF THERE!

I'm just looking forward to in a few years when the only people allowed to ask questions at news conferences are the National Review, New York Post and Newsmax.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:56 AM on February 9, 2005


As I noted, it was the subject of a Feb. 1 post. I thought developments made it different enough -- especially since the Web-enabled types following this story have apparently broken it open. This just in: citing blogger reports, U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter calls on White House to explain.

Perhaps it is now considered commonplace for activists with computers to help set the national media/political agenda. To me, it's still remarkable enough to count as the best of the Web. If not, No. 1 will exercise snippitude, no doubt.

(On preview: Golly, I type slow.)
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:58 AM on February 9, 2005


I wonder if anyone at the White House uses those sites of his, or other services?

Why did he get such preferential treatment compared to the many other "true believers" they could have planted but didn't (as far as we know)?
posted by amberglow at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2005


Glad you guys are worrying about a closet homosexual when a very prominent person like the Sec of State says (and I quote)

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that Iran must live up to its international obligations to halt its nuclear program or the next steps are in the offing. "And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers and European Union officials.

Hello ? Tell bubba he's not coming but for a short break from iraq. "Freedom" as somebody likes it is on the march.
posted by elpapacito at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2005


and this Plame connection is unbelievable: White House-credentialed fake news reporter "Jeff Gannon" from fake news agency "Talon News" was cited by the Washington Post as having the only access to an internal CIA memo that named Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA agent. Gannon, in a question posed to Wilson in an October 2003 interview, referred to the memo (to which no other news outlet had access, according to the Post). Gannon subsequently has been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury looking into the Plame outing.

I'm sorry, but a potential male prostitute was given access to internal CIA documents? Hello?

posted by amberglow at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2005


elpapacito, you got a link for that?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:02 AM on February 9, 2005


wow, I'm sure the liberal media -- ie everybody except FoxNews, the WSJ and the Washington Times -- will be all over this outrage. I mean, the administration planting fake journalists only to ask leading questions and influence press briefings -- that's very bad.

I'm so sure the liberal media -- and the anti-idiotarian, bipartisan, libertarian, Jeffersonian "citizen journalists" -- will totally play this up for weeks.

heh.
posted by matteo at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2005


"And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers and European Union officials.

Yes. Sanctions.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2005


to partially answer my own question, I found this description, which jibes with yours except for the "And I think everyone understands what 'the next steps' mean." The article seems to imply that the next steps Rice was referring to would be international sanctions.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:06 AM on February 9, 2005


pardonyou? check it out:
cnn.com
posted by TheNakedPixel at 11:09 AM on February 9, 2005


"And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters

Don't make me take my belt off!
posted by JackFlash at 11:11 AM on February 9, 2005


I guess we don't know what 'next steps' mean, do we? With all the confusion and the Hersh article and the two wars on either side of the country and the attempt at establishment of democracy in the middle east and the creation of permanent military bases in Iraq and all.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:13 AM on February 9, 2005


The Conservative Voice is the only conservative outlet online I can find covering this.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:16 AM on February 9, 2005


I don't see what the big deal is about this guy. Had any of us heard of the Talon News before this story? It's not like he was running Nightline every night.

Also, what is "Fake News"? Is it fake because he has a GOP agenda? All reporters have an agenda of some sort. With so much crap flying in so many different directions these days, I don't think we can call much of anything "Fake News."

This is the information age. Consumers have to be their own editors to decide what to read and what not to read. Then they have to decide what to believe.

I don't have a problem with this guy because I'm smart enough not to subscribe to the Talon News.
posted by b_thinky at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2005


Just because Jeff Gannon is a conservative Republican operative who served up softball questions and wrote "stories" word-for-word identical with Republican press releases, doesn't mean he wasn't a real journalist!

I mean by those standards, you'd have to say most of the Fox News Channel isn't real journalism!

And to prove he's a real journalist, if you scroll down on his farewell message, the only link on that page is to a video game rental site. Really.

Now, I ask you: who but a real journalist would wrap up his anguished and heart-felt valedictory message with an advertisement?

posted by orthogonality at 11:23 AM on February 9, 2005


What I have found equally disturbing about this matter is the total unwillingness of the White House Press Corps during the past few years to out this guy as a Republican tool. If you've ever watched these people at a DPB or a one of those rare press conferences with Bush, they're more lapdogs than inquiring journalists. Sad.
posted by darren at 11:24 AM on February 9, 2005


Thanks, TheNakedPixel. That article also makes clear that Rice was talking about referring the matter to the U.N. Security Council.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:24 AM on February 9, 2005


So this means that Stephen Colbert will be joining the White House press corps later this week, right? Glad to hear it.
posted by junkbox at 11:31 AM on February 9, 2005


and this Plame connection is unbelievable

And getting more interesting: Plame & Propagannon: Joe Wilson Speaks Out
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on February 9, 2005


What I have found equally disturbing about this matter is the total unwillingness of the White House Press Corps during the past few years to out this guy as a Republican tool

They'd lose their credentials or they wouldn't be called on. Don't make Scott angry.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:34 AM on February 9, 2005


Reporters with an ideological bent are not news.

This guy isn't a reporter. He's apparently a political operative, working under an alias, repeatedly welcomed into the White House when many real reporters are denied access, so he could bash White House opponents and denounce the working press.

And the White House knew. You can't get four rows from the President without showing anybody your driver's license and submitting to a background check. The White House knew when they wrote "Jeff Gannon" on Bush's seating chart, which he consults on which reporters to call on.

The White House knew all along.

That's news.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:35 AM on February 9, 2005


Also, what is "Fake News"? Is it fake because he has a GOP agenda?

Here's a sample of one of his "questions":

Thank you. Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV] was talking about soup lines. And [Senator] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you've said you are going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?

Since you don't have any problem with one shill asking questions like that, how about two? How about if it was most of the White House press corps?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:37 AM on February 9, 2005


Interesting tidbits about Talon News and the journalistic qualifications of Mr. Gannon:

"Talon News registers its domain name March 29, 2003. The site goes live April 1, 2003, and on April 3, 2003, the pseudonomic 'Jeff Gannon,' with no journalism experience and with a $50, two-day seminar at a right-wing propaganda institute under his belt, is seated four rows away from where the most powerful - and most guarded - person on the planet makes his pronouncements.

Heady times indeed. Not to mention the fastest background check in the history of labyrinthine bureaucracy. Perhaps the speed of that background accounts for the fact that our hero doesn't have to use his real name and seems to have sprung up as a glorious, immaculately conceived creation of the right wing less than a year before.

Of course, it was Ari Fleischer answering questions that fateful first day and not President Bush, which surely must have been disappointing to such a rising star. We all must live with such disappointments, even the most gifted - and dare I say ... planted? - among us.But hey! Who needs boring old Columbia Journalism School and years of experience when all it takes to sit a few feet away from the President of the United States during wartime and toss him worshipful leading questions is a fake news site, a fake name and a willingness to lift your peers' work whole and cut and paste White House "fact" sheets? You don't even need a pen!

Sad to say, Mr. Gannon's reputation did not precede him at the more august legislative body, the United States Senate, where the National Journal reported in November 2004 that 'the non-partisan U.S. Senate Daily Press Gallery has rejected Gannon's repeated requests for congressional press credentials because of TalonNews' financial ties to GOPUSA.' " [more]
posted by ericb at 11:41 AM on February 9, 2005


who needs boring old Columbia Journalism School

indeed
posted by matteo at 11:46 AM on February 9, 2005


I don't have a problem with this guy because I'm smart enough not to subscribe to the Talon News.
posted by b_thinky at 1:22 PM CST on February 9


Heh.
Comedy GOLD!
posted by Floydd at 11:50 AM on February 9, 2005


This is an interesting bit of information on Talon, pointed out in a comment on the mediacitizen post. Curious.
posted by taz at 11:57 AM on February 9, 2005


hey, remember the Kitty Kelly stuff? It reveals the use of the White House by male hookers.

hmmm....
posted by amberglow at 12:05 PM on February 9, 2005


I often wonder how this administration gets away with this crap. Then, I remember the Ronald Reagan years who as some of you might recall was known as "The Teflon President" for obvious reasons. Next thing I know Mr. Reagan dies, and he's being lauded far and wide. I imagine the same thing will happen to Mr. Bush.
posted by Eekacat at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2005


This would be incredibly awesome if I thought anyone in the mainstream press would do anything about it.
posted by The God Complex at 12:42 PM on February 9, 2005


Irony Alert!

Read Jeff Gannon's "report" on how the press corps was a tool of the Kerry Campaign:
Bush Reaches Out to Press Corps By Jeff Gannon Talon News November 9, 2004

Ever since Sen. John Kerry conceded the presidential election to him, President George W. Bush has been reaching out to those who opposed him.... the president declared that he was reaching out to the White House press corps.... A subdued group of journalists asked about... the second term....

...Talon News asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to explain the outreach to a press corps that is supposed to be a non-partisan group. He suggested that the president was making a "tongue-in-cheek" comment.
. . . .

Talon News pointed out that the press corps seemed at times to be pursuing stories that aided Bush's opponent, McClellan replied, "[...] I'll leave that to others to get into."

But the conduct of the media in the recently concluded election has been one of the biggest stories. In particular, the use of forged documents by CBS.... and an 11th-hour story... that focused on explosives that went missing 18 months ago has been cited by some as evidence of bias or partisanship.

...[Helen] 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.

But she still holds sway in the Brady briefing room where her theater-style seat in the front row bears her name. All other seats are identified by the news service. Even though Thomas writes only an opinion column for the Hearst News Service, she still leads the daily assault on McClellan.

Thomas has been extremely critical of the Bush administration and the president.
. . . .

With his comment about reaching out to the press corps, the president might be reviving the notion of creating a "new tone" in Washington that would bring some civility to political discourse, something that failed miserably during the first term. But by all accounts, the White House reporters don't appear to be reaching back. [all emphasis added]
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 12:44 PM on February 9, 2005


Yep, I've noticed a deafening silence from the GOP bloggers about Jeff Gannon.

Matt Drudge isn't even touching this.
posted by jefbla at 12:45 PM on February 9, 2005


Mmmm... schaudenfreude...

And to prove he's a real journalist, if you scroll down on his farewell message, the only link on that page is to a video game rental site. Really.

Hey, hey now... let's not forget the link counter...
posted by mkultra at 12:52 PM on February 9, 2005


Next thing I know Mr. Reagan dies, and he's being lauded far and wide. I imagine the same thing will happen to Mr. Bush.

yeah, but when?!
posted by quonsar at 12:54 PM on February 9, 2005


If talonnews.com owner, Endeavor Media Group, LLC, has registered with the Texas secretary of state as required then all of the officers, shareholders etc. should be on file there. Any intrepid mefi'ers in Austin wanna do a little legwork to break further details on this sordid and amusing story?
posted by Toecutter at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2005


But she still holds sway in the Brady briefing room where her theater-style seat in the front row bears her name. All other seats are identified by the news service. Even though Thomas writes only an opinion column for the Hearst News Service

Good thing nobody_at_MetaFilter ever listented to this guy.
posted by PlusDistance at 1:28 PM on February 9, 2005


The question is, how did he get let in so quickly, anyway? Obviously, the White House does know who he really is, or he wouldn't be allowed that close access.

I smell Defense Intelligence Agency. Or serious incompetence in White House security. Or perhaps some nepotistic or buddy-buddy relationship that's not clear yet.

But more likely something Intel-related, what with the incongruous Plame connection. Tsk tsk tsk, Administration. Amazing what persistent, smart people can come up with.

Praise to the bloggers!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2005


eh? "we the media" are complaining someone doesn't have the right journalistic credentials? wtf?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:41 PM on February 9, 2005


"We the media" don't have a seat at White House Press Briefings.
posted by mkultra at 1:47 PM on February 9, 2005


zoogleplex, you're kidding right? Of course the Bush team knew he was placed. They wanted to be able to select a softballer at any time and Jeff Gannon was their mule.

Suggesting that this was a security fiasco, I think, completely overlooks the willfull and decietful nature of Gannon being allowed into the press corps.
posted by fenriq at 1:57 PM on February 9, 2005


but fenriq, why did he have internal CIA memos and stuff? That says there's much more here than just a planted "reporter" lobbing softballs.
posted by amberglow at 2:01 PM on February 9, 2005


And of course, there's Gannon's aol profile (nsfw, if your boss hates ugly men in tighty whities)

dang.
posted by emjaybee at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2005


Ah, but once again the Bush administration demonstrates that their mendacity is only equaled by their incompetence. If you stop and think about it, it's astonishing that they'd use someone so obviously a tool and easily unmasked. Which, as with similar incompetency in the Plame affair, indicates that this isn't the work of diabolical geniuses as much as it is of disorganized, short-sighted opportunists.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2005


Perhaps he was a double agent, an attractive tool for the President actually under Democrat control. And then BAM! they expose him and make the President look horrible!

Alright, so I don't actually believe that... I'm just saying conspiracy theories that fit your ideals are easy to come up with. I don't think anyone on the right cares because this guy is a nobody. Before the liberal blogs started making a huge deal about his sex life (talk about bizzaro world here), few had ever heard of him. It's not like he writes for CNN, or the WaPo, or the NYT.

So he threw some softballs; he let the President evade difficult questions. News bullitin: the President does that anyways. Perhaps the rest of the Press Corps should have thrown back harder.
posted by sbutler at 2:14 PM on February 9, 2005


amberglow, hmm, my thinking is, if he was planted in the press corps, they gave him wider access on the pretext that he needed to be able to back up his "scoops".

I don't know about the CIA thing, unless he was less plant and more willing propoganda tool and the GOP's bastardized version of Deep Throat (outing the good guys instead of the corrupt buggers in charge).

I just don't know but the c-word keeps coming to mind. No, not that one, quonsar, I was thinking of Conspiracy.
posted by fenriq at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2005


Ahh, but sbutler, you're ignoring his involvement in the Valerie Plame/CIA episode. He was the one with the memo, remember? This is a big deal.
posted by Floydd at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2005


Ahh, but sbutler, you're ignoring his involvement in the Valerie Plame/CIA episode. He was the one with the memo, remember? This is a big deal.

Argg.. I haven't been following the Palme affair, and I have an exam in 20 minutes so I can't search too deep. So let me see if I get this straight:

1. Novak outs Palme as working for the CIA, and says she was the one who suggested her husband go to Nigeria.
2. Novak laters says he was told by a non-government source.
3. 6 months later this Gannon guy is interviewing Wilson and asks him to confirm some information with the following quote:
TN: An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?
4. Since he references the memo in this one instance, everyone assumes he is the non-government source Novak relied on?

My question is: was it already assumed by this point that a government memo of some sort was involved? Were other news agencies using this sort of language in thier articles? I mean, MeFi seems to have made a convincing case that this Gannon had a questionable journalistic background, isn't it also possible that he just made a stupid assumption and botched the interview?

Or maybe in my quick 20 minute research here I've botched things up. Whatever, I have a random processes exam (excuse me... 2 hour quiz) to go to.
posted by sbutler at 2:44 PM on February 9, 2005


it's coming up on CNN now (altho Howard Kurtz--a total putz--will be reporting)

i'm betting they don't even mention the Plame stuff.
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on February 9, 2005


Bligh, I agree, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetance. Still, if they can't even get a press corps stooge right, how are you going to trust them with an invasion, much less nation building?
posted by Freen at 2:46 PM on February 9, 2005


Not that I think you are a Bushco Fan.
posted by Freen at 2:47 PM on February 9, 2005


sbutler, Gannon was subpoenad too.
posted by amberglow at 2:47 PM on February 9, 2005


Does this ring a bell?



A growing thread at Democratic Underground
posted by jackspace at 2:58 PM on February 9, 2005


Kurtz is saying there's no evidence the White House planted him--bullshit. Kurtz really shouldn't lie so much.

According to Kurtz, this is "liberal bloggers" going too far with someone's private life.

disgusting. absolutely.
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2005


They're running a piece about this today on All Things Considered, too.
posted by sugarfish at 3:03 PM on February 9, 2005


Kurtz should be resigning himself. From Editor and Publisher: White House Correspondents Criticize Alleged 'Softball Thrower' -- and Jeff Gannon Fires Back

Gannon's credibility was first called into question last spring by The Standing Committee of Correspondents, a group of congressional reporters who oversee press credential distribution on Capitol Hill. Julie Davis, a reporter at The Sun of Baltimore and a member of that committee, said Gannon approached the group in April 2004 seeking a Capitol Hill credential for Talon News, but he was refused.

"We asked for evidence that they were an independent news organization," Davis told E&P. "That they were not connected to a political organization, and they could not provide that, so we denied them their credential." She also said Talon News could not prove it carried paid advertising or paid circulation, two other criteria for approval.

posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2005


Still, if they can't even get a press corps stooge right, how are you going to trust them with an invasion, much less nation building?

I certainly don't. This is the primary reason Bush's reelection upset me so much: I really can't find any standard by which this admin can accurately be labeled "competent". There's no comparison to the other Republican presidencies of my adult life: Reagan and Bush. I didn't like either of them, but they were generally competent (the administrations each taken as a whole).
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:24 PM on February 9, 2005


My God, Kurtz just got down and completely licked the White House's shoes just now on CNN. He talked to the press secretary -- but only to pass on the White House line. Kurtz avoided the No. 1 question: How's a fake reporter with a fake name get to ask the president a question?

The President does not ask random reporters for their questions.
posted by sacre_bleu at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2005


makes this recent Frank Luntz statement all the more relevant, no? While Fox News Channel remains the favorite network of Republican lawmakers, NBC's new anchor, Brian Williams, is the one turning GOP heads. Message guru and former MSNBC contributor Frank Luntz says in a confidential memo to Hill leaders that Williams has emerged as the "go-to network anchor" because of his brains and "lack of detectable ideological bias." Luntz credits NBC Executive Producer Steve Capus for "a flawless transition to a new generation of news anchor." Still, Fox and CNN lead the nets when it comes to GOP loyalty.
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on February 9, 2005


... the GOP's bastardized version of Deep Throat ...

Umm. I don't want to say that that comparison ... sucks, but it's ... hard not to, given the guy's background.

{/juvenile defense mechanism against deep bushian depression}
posted by mmahaffie at 3:36 PM on February 9, 2005


Another conservative take on the story, unfortunately from the rabid and logic-challenged Tim Graham, rather than Ponnuru or someone. I suspect that's because there really is no defense for this. As Jonah Goldberg put it, "Yeah, the lefty bloggers are giddy about it. But I'm not sure why they shouldn't be."
posted by ibmcginty at 3:45 PM on February 9, 2005


Arg. Jackspace, that huge image was totally, totally unnecessary and unwanted. Links are enough, thanks.

This Gannon guy's an idiot, of course, and a hack. Whoever paid him is, too. And I don't mind that he's gone. What's more, owning a web site isn't exactly part of your private life; it's there on a WHOIS search for all to see.

However, I worry about what this means about the position of bloggers-- not that they haven't been in this position before. That is: I worry that hacking and sexual outing will become commonplace, if it hasn't already. And what the left does with it is nothing; it bothers me enough that families are potentially split when it's revealed that Daddy Republican looked at gay porn once (nobody deserves that), but does anyone wonder that the right-wing bloggers won't catch on soon? And that the right-wing bloggers won't be infinitely worse?
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on February 9, 2005


I'm outraged by this. And having him leave the White House press room is not enough.

I won't be satisfied until this bastard gives back the Princess Zelda, dammit. Hyrule has suffered enough!
posted by koeselitz at 3:59 PM on February 9, 2005


I don't see what the big deal is about this guy.

OK, find ONE other White House correspondent from a news service anything like Talon. The only media represented by those correspondents are the largest outlets. There is not one other WH correspondent with a background or employer like Gannon's, whether his website is owned by GOPUS or not.

Now, why is that? How did Gannon get his pass?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:09 PM on February 9, 2005


people carrying political signage adverse to the administration are contained within caged "free speech zones" hundreds of yards from the nearest admin official, while a phony reporter with a phony name from a phony news service espousing views amenable to the admin sits within four rows of the prez himself right inside the white house.
posted by quonsar at 4:24 PM on February 9, 2005


what quonsar said! spot on!
posted by ericb at 4:25 PM on February 9, 2005


Some other questions about the Gannon/Guckert scandal: were laws broken? : "How the hell could this Gannon/Guckert scandal happen right in front of the White House Press Corps? Seems to me, attending a White House Press Briefing is unlike most other briefings. You don't just show up. First, you can't even get into the White House complex without a background check and picture identification. So who got the background check? Gannon or Guckert. Did he tell the Secret Service his real name? If not, how the hell did the Secret Service let someone using a false name get close to the President. That is kinda scary."
posted by ericb at 4:29 PM on February 9, 2005


this from Kos has it exactly right:

As a journalist whose beat is covering other journalists, Howard Kurtz doesn't consider having a journalist in the White House who:

1. Operates under an assumed name
2. Has no meaningful journalism experience whatsoever.
3. Works directly for a GOP-linked organization that was previously denied credentials due to their partisan, non-journalistic background.
4. Files "reports" that copy liberally from White House released text.
5. Has background ties to military-based gay pornography/prostitution.
6. Was given, by somebody "high-up" in the White House, classified information about the identity of an active CIA undercover operative working on WMD-related intelligence.

... to be a newsworthy breach of journalistic ethics, nor of White House security, national security, etc., etc., etc. He doesn't consider any of that to be meaningfully newsworthy. And to reiterate, Kurtz covers journalism and journalistic ethics as his primary beat.

posted by amberglow at 4:31 PM on February 9, 2005


'Jeff Gannon's Washington' Columns at TalonNews.com (cached).
posted by ericb at 4:34 PM on February 9, 2005


NPR's got an extended interview with Jimmy D. It's well worth a listen:
Conservative Reporter Resigns Amid Controversy
by David Folkenflik

Folkenflik asks about J.D. Guckert. "Jeff" says, "if you got that from the Senate Press Gallery, then that's a violation of privacy and I will call them on it."

Heh.
posted by Floydd at 4:40 PM on February 9, 2005


Sean Hannity on Gannon: "a terrific Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for Talon News."

On January 26 Rush Limbaugh bragged that a quote he had fabricated ended up surfacing in a question asked of President Bush by Gannon at a White House press conference. Limbaugh said he was "flattered and honored and proud to have a point made by this program represented in the press conference and asked by a reporter." Limbaugh later falsely claimed that Gannon's question was "accurate."
posted by ericb at 4:49 PM on February 9, 2005


Olberman is covering it now, on MSNBC.
posted by amberglow at 5:01 PM on February 9, 2005


oop--Olbermann. He already mentioned the Plame thing and the websites, and is now showing a "greatest hits" reel.
posted by amberglow at 5:06 PM on February 9, 2005


amberglow - thanks for the tip. Very thorough account ... and interesting discussion on Olberman's program.
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on February 9, 2005


Dana Milbank is doing a good job, unlike Kurtz earlier on CNN
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on February 9, 2005


Looks like Jeffie is gonna get one of those fancy hero medals that W likes to hand out when someone fails "fabulously" whle shilling and slurping.

Did W happen to be in the WH back in 89 when the gay hooker guys scandal occured? I saw a picture of him hugging little Jeffie and saw him kissing LIEberman last week. Wonder if Laura knows he's on the down low with this lifestyle?
posted by nofundy at 5:17 PM on February 9, 2005


I cracked up when Dana Milbank (Washington Post White House correspondent) responded to Olbermann's statement "Dana Milbank welcome to the show - if that's your real name ..." and Milbank replied" "No, you can call me Dirk Diggler."
posted by ericb at 5:19 PM on February 9, 2005


that was good : >

so who did Gannon/Guckert sleep with? how did he get this gig? Rove?

patriotboy gets it too I can't see how Mr. Jeff Jim JD Gannon Guckert's detractors can live with themselves. These sites have nothing to do with homosexuality. If they did, Jeff Jim JD Gannon Guckert couldn't serve as Our Leader's point man in the war against seditious reason without being a self-hating, power-hungry, Roy-Cohn-channeling, little carny-barking quisling.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on February 9, 2005


Slow-pitch softball, eh?

You figure he's the pitcher or the catcher?

Hey - everyone else has said the grown-up stuff. Schadenfreude away! Whee! *cackles*
posted by Coda at 5:48 PM on February 9, 2005


catcher, definitely. ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on February 9, 2005


Gannon/Guckert posts on FreeRepublic.com... sorry if it was already linked.
posted by bk at 6:28 PM on February 9, 2005


NPR's web-only interview is very . . interesting. In a non-specific way. Here's a part about the pseudonym:

Folkenflik: . . I understand over the last five days why you might want your privacy . .. prior to that, why use a pseudonym?

Gannon: Well, there's ahm, many people in this business who do that. Ah, perhaps we're not all born with the ah, a name that's, that's commercial or ah, uh, y'know I mean everybody - people in Hollywood do it, ah, certainly on-air personalities do it, ah radio people do it, uh a lot of print people use their own name. But ah there are reasons to do such a thing besides being part of a CIA conspiracy or . . having something to hide. It, ah, could be a very innocent . . .

Folkenflik: Right, so I'm asking yours - so I'm asking yours.

Gannon: Well I mean it could be ah,

Folkenflik: Right I understand what it could be [laughs], I'm asking what it is.

Gannon: Well I'm not even, I'm not even going to acknowledge that it is a pseudonym. So. uh, but

Folkenflik: Well you're an International Man of Mystery, what can I tell ya.

Gannon: But these are reasons why people would do it and it's and it's nothing ah to hide any - y'know to hide anything, it's uh, it's uh - it probably is just a commercial consideration. Frankly.


I guess you have to hear it to get the subtle cues of voice, but there you go.
posted by petebest at 6:46 PM on February 9, 2005


But ah there are reasons to do such a thing besides being part of a CIA conspiracy or . . having something to hide. It, ah, could be a very innocent . . .

he either has a police record, or it's CIA i bet.
posted by amberglow at 6:48 PM on February 9, 2005


"Jack Blades" was taken.
posted by petebest at 6:52 PM on February 9, 2005


Hmmm ... I think there might be more going on here than meets the eye. Compare and contrast the photos - Right Said Fred and Jeff Jim JD Gannon Guckert (or whatever the fuck his name is). ;-)

Who's next? Milli-Vannili serving as anchors for the Pentagon's soon-to-launch news channel on Dish Network?
posted by ericb at 6:58 PM on February 9, 2005


*Milli-Vanilli*
posted by ericb at 7:00 PM on February 9, 2005


Pentagon Channel - "Fair and Balanced - No, Really!"
posted by ericb at 7:01 PM on February 9, 2005


Milli Vanilli (at least the one surviving member of the group) can lip synch the party line. Maybe Ashlee Simpson can be recruited by the Pentagon to act as co-anchor! The ultimate in "sock-puppetry"!
posted by ericb at 7:14 PM on February 9, 2005


i wouldn't even be surprised, at this point.
posted by amberglow at 8:00 PM on February 9, 2005


Jeff Gannon a.k.a.
James Dale Guckert a.k.a.
J.D. Guckert a.k.a.
The Conservative Guy a.k.a.
I. Christian a.k.a.
Jack Daniels a.k.a.
J. Daniels...


from the comments here at americablog

This guy is either a psycho, or really has many things to hide, from one master or another.
posted by amberglow at 8:19 PM on February 9, 2005


and people are speculating that now there's a fallguy for the Plame thing--he's obviously no use to them anymore.
posted by amberglow at 8:37 PM on February 9, 2005


Kurtz' piece.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:04 PM on February 9, 2005


how much does Kurtz get from the White House?
posted by amberglow at 9:16 PM on February 9, 2005


The Art of Whoring
posted by amberglow at 9:25 PM on February 9, 2005


Mistah Kurtz - he useless.
posted by trondant at 9:47 PM on February 9, 2005


One of the things the media seems to be missing (on purpose, maybe) is Gannon's wholesale copying of RNC/White House releases and sending them out as "columns". And for those of you who read the Kurtz piece, notice how he gets Glenn Reynolds to validate his slant - crazy left wing bloggers gettin' all sexual!

Rinse, irony, repeat.

(and yeah, Media Matters got the ball rolling on this deal)
posted by owillis at 10:27 PM on February 9, 2005


The New York Daily News quotes the americablogger.

Wonder if Fox will ever get to the story. Not holding my breath.
posted by calwatch at 11:24 PM on February 9, 2005


I really thought better of Howard Kurtz. But CunningLinguist's and amberglow's links shows how disappointing Kurtz is.

Is Kurtz just "circling the wagons", criticizing the outing of even a bogus reporter, in order to discourage people form going after any reporter?

If so, Kurtz is missing the point: it's not that Gannon may be gay, or even that he owned gay-themed domain names, it's that Gannon was a plant, a shill, not a real journalist at all.

By not commenting on that aspect, Kurtz is doing more harm to his "profession" than a myriad of bloggers could do.
posted by orthogonality at 11:31 PM on February 9, 2005


Kurtz is not missing the point. He's evading it.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:47 PM on February 9, 2005


I wondered whether our local paper -- The News Journal -- would pick up on the guy's Wilmington, Delaware, connection. They have, with a story by their Washington Bureau: White House reporter quits under scrutiny. The sub-head is "Ex-Wilmington resident with alleged pro-Bush leanings resigns as bureau chief for Net news outlet." They appear to side-step the gay issue, but this article makes it look more like pressure tactics by the left... Oh well. It is a gannett paper.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:34 AM on February 10, 2005


Boston Globe, CNN, Salon (free day pass reuired), Washington Post (free reg. required).
posted by ericb at 6:49 AM on February 10, 2005


"Markos Moulitsas, a San Francisco liberal who writes the popular Kos site, said of Gannon: 'He has been extremely anti-gay in his writings. He's been a shill for the Christian right. So there's a certain level of hypocrisy there that I thought was fair game and needed to be called out.' " [Washington Post]
posted by ericb at 6:50 AM on February 10, 2005


"The situation 'begs further investigation,' says James Pinkerton, a media critic for Fox News who has worked for two Republican White Houses. 'In the six years I worked for Reagan and Bush I, I remember the White House being strict about who got in. It's inconceivable to me that the White House, especially after 9/11, gives credentials to people without doing a background check.'

...Mark Smith, vice president of the White House Correspondents Association, says it's up to White House officials to decide whom they want to wave in each day. 'They don't consult us.' If they had, Smith says, he would have been 'very uncomfortable' granting Gannon the same access as professional journalists. And the association never would have backed a reporter using an alias. Says Pinkerton: 'If [Gannon] was walking around the White House with a pass that had a different name on it than his real name, that's pretty remarkable.' Smith, who covers the White House for Associated Press radio, says he 'could have sworn' that he saw credentials around Gannon's neck with the name 'Jeff Gannon' on them." [Salon]
posted by ericb at 7:01 AM on February 10, 2005


Wonder if Fox will ever get to the story. Not holding my breath.

Didn't stop them from reporting about that whole Dan Rather thing. Hmm...

I'm sure their stooge will be quickly ex-communicated. "I'm just a patsy!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2005


Kurtz is not missing the point. He's evading it.

I second this emotion. Silence, or beat around the bush with the gay thing.
Those are the two options for rebuttal.

heh.
posted by petebest at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2005


Much is being made of the 'resignation' of Jeff Gannon, a faux-journalist suspected of being a conservative shill in the White House press briefing room and now also believed to have some ties to lifestyles that don't jibe with the party lines.

But what about Talon News? According to whois records, talonnews.com is owned by Endeavor Media Group in Houston TX -- a company with a PO Box and a fake phone number listing. When checking on endeavormediagroup.com in whois, the same info comes up -- but endeavormediagroup.com is a Forbidden domain. Also, googling "endeavor media group" gets you nothing. It's like this company doesn't exist.

And it didn't -- until Monday.

posted by amberglow at 9:25 AM on February 10, 2005


But, troubling questions remain unanswered. What has become of any membership list to his gay military sex sites? Were those sites created only to out servicemembers under "don't ask, don't tell"? Were any names turned over to the Pentagon?

Additionally, was there more to Guckert's relationship to the White House and the GOP than McClellan has acknowledged? In light of three journalists being exposed for being paid off by the Administration to tout the Bush "family" initiative, (story) in columns that featured scathing attacks on gays and same-sex couples, it remains to be seen if Guckert was also being paid with tax dollars.
--from 365gay
posted by amberglow at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2005


A good round-up of the story so far - Scandal in the Press Corps [Washington Post | requires free registration].
posted by ericb at 10:08 AM on February 10, 2005


Federal Propaganda Prohibition Act of 2005 (HTML version of pdf) and Its press release
posted by petebest at 10:20 AM on February 10, 2005


Oh come on, he was just being a good little GOP foot soldier, why are people so angry with him?

Its not like he advanced views that weren't in alignment with ShrubCo and that's all that matters, isn't it?

I'm glad this guy's been outed, he's a hater and a shill.
posted by fenriq at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2005


all the lefty gnashing of teeth and hand-wringing aside, the upshot of this is nothing... the one tool is gone, and another will take his place. End of story. No laws were broken, were they? No offices broken into. No arms sold for hostages. Just some heavy-handed buffoonery of the White House Staff to allow this to be so easily unraveled.
posted by crunchland at 11:37 AM on February 10, 2005


The Plame thing means that at least one law was broken, and an agent was outed. And i'm assuming there are laws about security in the White House that were broken too.

And who was paying him?
posted by amberglow at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2005


"United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today requested from White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan all the documents relating to the press credentials of James. D. Guckert, a.k.a. "Jeff Gannon"; the "journalist" now famous for being the White House correspondent for his softball questioning of President Bush and various Administration spokespeople....Senator Lautenberg has been the Senate leader in exposing the Bush administration's propaganda efforts." [Press Release]
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on February 10, 2005


Partial transcript from today's White House press briefing. White House spokesman Scott McClellan takes the media's questions on the Guckert/Gannon affair.
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2005


And apparently Rove's man date himself is going to be on Late Edition today.
posted by amberglow at 1:25 PM on February 10, 2005


In a letter to Poynter Online Bruce Bartlett gets to the important part: "Having worked in the White House, I can assure everyone that not only would it be impossible to get a White House pass using an alias, it is impossible even to get past the gate for an appointment using an alias. Thorough FBI background checks are required for the former and a picture ID is necessary for the latter. Therefore, if Gannon was using an alias, White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover."
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2005


guess who was in tax trouble in the past? (and still owes it?)
posted by amberglow at 2:06 PM on February 10, 2005


weird--he keeps looking off to the side.
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on February 10, 2005


he'll be on Fox within a week, as a reporter, i bet.
posted by amberglow at 3:24 PM on February 10, 2005


a video of the Americablog guy, John, on CNN/Aaron Brown with a Salon guy
posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on February 10, 2005


"Gannon" complained to NPR about liberals harassing him and stalking him.

What I want to know is: how in the hell are people stalking him? I mean, no one knew his real name until Wednesday!
posted by Vidiot at 1:25 AM on February 11, 2005


In response to Toecutter's suggestion, I e-mailed the Texas Sec of State, and received this response:
We have no listing for Endeavor Media Group as a business corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership or assumed name.
posted by adamrice at 7:48 AM on February 11, 2005


he said that on CNN too, Vidiot--he's lying.
posted by amberglow at 9:57 AM on February 11, 2005


from Editor and Publisher today, damning both the press corps and wh security: Bruce Bartlett, a syndicated columnist and former White House staffer in the Reagan administration's Office of Policy Development, took the concern a step further, claiming the use of fake names could open the door to terrorists. "Some terrorist could invent some publication and put through their name and get in," he said. "It raises the question of whether it is appropriate for the White House Press Office to clear people who are operating under aliases."

posted by amberglow at 11:07 AM on February 11, 2005


Discredited reporter owes back taxes (News Journal). As a Delaware taxpayer, now I find I hope this guys gets a book deal. We don't really need the money, but we want it.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:08 AM on February 12, 2005


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