Friday, February 25, 2005

Quick Thoughts on James Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon)

  • Gannon/Guckert (hereinafter "G/G") has reopened his website, ready to fight those nasties on the Left. He provides links to several articles on him, some of which aren't taking his side at all (I guess any publicity is good publicity). To be sure, he certainly (and understandably) includes several friendly links that imply, if not outright state, that the G/G brouhaha is nothing upon which rational people should waste their attention.

  • My favorite quote is where G/G unintentionally explains his reason for restarting the website: "This episode is so rich with irony that it will take me many columns and a book to deal with it all." There you have it, folks -- this is just the beginning of his press junket for his upcoming book. Will GOPUSA form a publishing house?

  • I don't care that G/G is gay (or "gay for pay") -- really. As a matter of fact, the ones who seem to focusing on this the most are the Right pundits (like the ever-more irrational Ann Coulter, whose name it pains me to type), and bloggers, claiming that all anyone cares about is his sexual orientation.

  • Having said that, I think that far too many on the Left are being hypocritical about "hypocrisy." While I do believe that the initial information and photos concerning the purported availability of G/G for sexual services arose in an attempt to find out who G/G actually was (just like the folks found out that Talon News was a mere division of GOPUSA, not an "independent news organization" as G/G claims), I find it odd that many of the same people who believed that Clinton's affair with a White House intern was unimportant find G/G's background to be significant. Then again, I find it equally odd the same folks (e.g., Ann Coulter) who could not stop talking about whether Clinton was engaging in consensual sex with others (e.g., Gennifer Flowers) think that prying into G/G's not-so-distant past is shameful. As has been said here before, you're all nuts.

  • Unlike some bloggers on the Right, I think it does matter that G/G got continual access to the White House press room on a day pass. At least one other web publication has stated that it did not enjoy the access provided G/G. This sort of behavior (as well as the fact that Talon News wasn't formed and didn't start publishing until after G/G had already started attending White House press briefings) adds to the notion that the Bush Administration is actively engaging in propaganda (as opposed to the run-of-the-mill P.R. crap that we all expect from every politician). Frank Rich said it well:
Before Mr. Guckert and Armstrong Williams, the talking head paid $240,000 by the Department of Education, there were Karen Ryan and Alberto Garcia. Let us not forget these pioneers - the Woodward and Bernstein of fake news. They starred in bogus reports ("In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting," went the script) pretending to "sort through the details" of the administration's Medicare prescription-drug plan in 2004. Such "reports," some of which found their way into news packages distributed to local stations by CNN, appeared in more than 50 news broadcasts around the country and have now been deemed illegal "covert propaganda" by the Government Accountability Office.
  • Thus, this is not just anger over some guy throwing McClellan softballs -- that has happened for years (though G/G made it an art form). The problem is that this is indicative of the contempt the Bush Administration has shown for the American people's right (FYI - I know that it is not a constitutional right) to accurate information from/about their leader.

  • Frank Rich again, highlighting why at least some degree of inquiry is warranted (message to Sen. Durbin [my senator] -- don't forget about all the other crap Bush is doing, okay??):

Mr. McClellan told Editor & Publisher magazine that he didn't know until recently that Mr. Guckert was using an alias, Bruce Bartlett, a White House veteran of the Reagan-Bush I era, wrote on the nonpartisan journalism Web site Romenesko, that "if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover."


To Lefties: stop talking about how G/G may have been a gay hooker, rather than focusing on the real issue. It detracts from actual points you have, and makes you look like hypocrites.

To Righties: stop talking about how maligned G/G is for being exposed as possibly being a gay hooker, rather than focusing on the real issue. This thing really does matter, as much as you think it does not.

To G/G: I felt sorry for you for a while, and still do (to a degree). However, the indignant and defensive positions you take temper my sympathy. FYI: you won't become a Rightie media darling -- they are minimizing this situation becuase it is embarrassing, not because they like you.