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February 25, 2005

Comments

Gannon is hopelessly self-absorbed. I've known a lot of self-promoters like him in the workplace, and they get old really fast. They also tend to go down in flames eventually.

Gannon is a makeover away from being the Tiny Tim of this generation.

"I have been advised by my attorneys not to comment on any of the details pending the outcome of any possible legal action I might pursue. "

Classic.
"Get back! I have a lawyer! I know how to use this thing!"

"In regard to the allegations about my personal life, I have been advised by my attorneys not to comment on any of the details pending the outcome of any possible legal action I might pursue. Therefore, I won't be discussing any of that stuff here.

Legal action he might pursue?"

Take the seeming weakness and turn it on its head. Take an opponent's strength and make it the point of attack.

If you have had the creepy experience you have felt this before, you have sensed the slithering reptilian presence of Rove, Karl on the ground below you. Below you waiting to drag you down within him into the ooze below primordial.

FTG as in Fuck Those Guys. Sorry for the profanity. If I had some kryptonite or some antifanity to fight these dragons of doom, I'd pull it out.

The hope of the criminal when caught is that his flaying struggle will force his release. You, dark winged one, must not relent when you hold the snake in your considerable and worthy talons. Fight on in The Fight That Must Be Won, for if this one is lost then all is lost.

Good job. Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back. Then get back to work.

Since I'm the person who quoted profanity last night, I might not be the best person to say this, but: the posting rules forbid profanity.

They can't fess up tho. How likely do you think it is that someone below the president can override security procedures?

It would be like having a licence to assasinate the president.

What I don't understand, is why hasn't whomever okayed access to Gannon, simply been dropped from the administration? This is what is grating. Clearly letting Gannon into the press room, as often as he was, someone knew what was going on. By "okaying" it, that person dropped the ball, and it should cost them their job. It's the fact that this hasn't happened, that keeps up the mystery. ("Well, this guy messed up, and made us look horrible. The guy who kept letting Gannon in to the room, and allowed Bush to call on him, has been let go.")

There is one good thing about this though - it (hopefully?) will make it harder and harder for right-wing bloggers, etc, to get up on their high horse about similar hyocrisy on the side of the left. (Unless of course, right-wing people continue in the fine tradition of It's OK If You Are a Republican).

Why hasn't there been any accountability for this, incredibly stupid vetting that occurred here?

It would be like having a licence to assasinate the president.

Gannon...Jeff Gannon. (007 theme music in the background with a slide show of webpage photos)

And we cut to see M speaking to our man, "Jeff, do it for the Queen!"

The possibilities are endless.

Got too excited, sorry about that.

Lo Siento mucho. No mas de las palabras malas. Madre de diablo.

De nada. HaKol B'seder. (Or however one normally spells it when writing in a Roman script.)

Mais oui. Bien sur.

Coffee, pajalusta

heuvos con cerebros

No quisiera mas del arbusto ahora mismo.

"...when you're exposed as an alleged whore...."

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that you can be alleged to be a whore, and you can be exposed as a whore, and you can be exposed as an alleged whore, but that each of those is a different thing than the others. Just noting.

Who in the Sam Jehosaphat are Gannon's 'family' that he keeps referring to? Does he have a wife and kids? I would doubt it given his very public proclivities, but I have been wrong before.

Help here.....

"I would doubt it given his very public proclivities"

Not meaning to offend, but I get confused as to the proper way to think about gay issues. I mean, can you be gay, and keep a wife and kids on the side as a tax shelter? AG Kline of Kansas needs to crack down on this tax avoidance by demanding proof of regular connubial relations from all married couples in the state.

The Washington Times used to be agressive with these types of stories.

SEX AND THE CAPITAL

JC: What I don't understand, is why hasn't whomever okayed access to Gannon, simply been dropped from the administration? This is what is grating

Because whoever did, is too senior to be dropped from the administration. That's the conclusion I'm drawing. As with whoever-it-was who gave Valerie Plame's identity as a covert agent to the press, it's clearly someone whom Bush can't afford to simply get rid of.

What I don't understand, is why hasn't whomever okayed access to Gannon, simply been dropped from the administration?

Accountability? In this administration? You do remember the part where George Tenet and Paul Bremer both received Presidential Medals of Freedom, right? And the part where Donald Rumsfeld is still SoD?

(note I didn't mean Gannon would have a licence to kill. The person with the authority to overide secret service procedure would., funny though)

Where are all the conservatives hiding?

I always liked Liza Minnelli.

rhc: Does he have a wife and kids? I would doubt it given his very public proclivities, but I have been wrong before.

Well, his chosen market as a prostitute should not be assumed to be identical to his personal proclivities. He may be completely heterosexual, for all I know: all I know is his advertising.

Hiding? Who's hiding?

Edward, not sure what you mean by "GOP plant". Who do you think planted him? Not being snarky, just haven't been keeping up with this story.

Slarti: If he's not a GOP plant, it's even worse. It means that someone got repeat and continual access to the White House and the President for, what three years, under a false identity. This included being given documents relating to the Plame case. In the current pseucurity-conscious climate, surely that indicates incompetence rather than simple corruption.

In fact, it's rather hard to come out of this without these guys looking like someone really dropped the ball here. If he wasn't a plant, security at the White House is ridiculous. If he was a plant, why pick a gay prostitute? This is one of those issues that makes the people involved look bad however you spin it.

Or, at least, it would if it got 10% of the coverage that Monica got.

It means that someone got repeat and continual access to the White House and the President for, what three years, under a false identity.

Are you saying that his security clearance was granted without knowledge of his given name? I'd want to see some evidence that this is true.

included being given documents relating to the Plame case.

Again, I'm going to want to see evidence. I know he said he saw a memo, but the memo he said he saw and the real memo came from very different places. In any case, if he's a GOP plant he's not to be believed, now is he?

Que lastima! Que verguenza!

Slartibartfast.

Go here, http://americablog.blogspot.com/ and get up to date.

wow, even

errr...

wow, even WhirrledNutsDialy is running a "WTF?" piece about JimJeff.

and yet i still don't hear the foaming and moaning moralizers decrying the horrible stench of moral decay that permeates the Bush White House.

i mean, come on guys, if SpongeBob is a threat to the hearts and souls of America's precious children...

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that you can be alleged to be a whore, and you can be exposed as a whore, and you can be exposed as an alleged whore, but that each of those is a different thing than the others. Just noting.

Yeah, I struggled with that myself. I think the best way to phrase it might be, "alleged to be a whore," but that doesn't seem to credit the evidence enough. Unless someone else created websites with Gannon's pictures in them (and I guess that's possible but it raises the questions of why he posed for those pictures and who had access to them), it would seem he was solicitating.

What slays me about Reynolds' emphasis on the mean old left's delight in the irony here is the fact that he can't seem to appreciate the irony here. I mean, come on! If it were the other way around he'd be covering it 24/7 and hooting and hollering about morality and family values and what have you. Most on the left are simply bemused.

Of course when Gannon comes out swinging with nonsense like "So feared by the Left it had to take me down" he deserves to be mocked.

postit, unless you've got specific links that address my questions, that's a non-answer.

By the way, none of this ought to be construed as defense of Gannon/Guckert. Not my job, not interested, and if in fact he was part of some VRWC attempt to lob softballs at the President...let the chips fall where they may. Just, I'm not seeing any of these daffy claims being substantiated by much other than possible-therefore-true.

Just, I'm not seeing any of these daffy claims being substantiated by much other than possible-therefore-true.

The Ameriblog guy has built a rather convincing case, Slarti. From the fact the Gannon was able to gain access even before his "news agency" was in operation to the fact that he was repeatedly seen by journalists with much more experience to be privvy to information he most likely had to be handed by someone rather high up, he's got "plant" written all over him. Yes, it might still all be explained away, but if it walks like a duck...

Which 'daffy claims', Slarti?

The CIA memo? But it was Gannon himself who boasted about seeing the CIA memo. Now, he could certainly be lying. But he's the source of that 'daffy' claim, not us.

The lack of vetting? I'm not sure how this qualifies as a 'daffy' claim. Unless you're saying Gannon was properly vetted, by FBI and/or Secret Service? In which case: wow. Gannon was a potential blackmail target, and the SS/FBA allowed him to be within shouting/shooting range of the President? How do you explain that one?

Really, Slarti: what are the daffy claims?

I'm not seeing any of these daffy claims being substantiated by much other than possible-therefore-true.

I'm assuming that the "daffy claims" are the following

-The Secret Service did not know who Gannon was before letting him in
-He saw the secret documentation relating to Plame.

Given the things that have turned up about Guckert/Gannon's background, it is probably safe to say that even if the Secret Service had known who he was, he was not given a full background check, as I think the possibility of blackmailing him through revelation of his homosexual activities would have immediately made him suspect. The argument that the Secret Service did not know who he was is not that they let someone wander in off the street to ask questions, it is that his attendance was obviously okayed by someone higher up without the requisite checks. To turn that into a daffy claim that the SS didn't know this guy from Adam is a bit much. What people are saying is that the SS did not exercise due diligence, which is can throw into relief the current prosecution of Abu Ali.

Did he see the secret documents relating to Plame? I think it is still a felony to reveal that someone is an undercover CIA agent regardless how that information is passed. The timing makes it relatively clear (I think) that Guckert/Gannon had sources that gave him this information. Remember that one of the defenses of Novak and others was that this information was 'common knowledge'. The fact that a gay prostitute got that information as well sorta blows that defense out of the water.

If there are any other 'daffy claims', I hope you can let us know what exactly the content of those claims are so we can find some information.

Slartibatfast - "possible-therefore-true."

read Probable-therefore-true.

Just about anything is 'possible' but the evidence amassed to date coupled with Gannon/Guckerts non-denial denials and WH silence speaks volumes. At the very least, if Gannon/Guckert is indeed a self decribed 'loose cannon' he has exposed a huge security problem in the WH press office. If, as is more likely, he was a WH plant or at a minimum he was enabled by someone in the WH press office then this is huge scandal coming on the heels as it does of proven WH attempts at propaganda using journalists aka Armstrong Williams et al.

You really out to start at

http://americablog.blogspot.com/

because they have led the original investigation of this story. You are not going to get anything but obfuscation and distraction from the usual RW sources.

And finally a story to gladden everyones hearts.

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/index.php?p=129

"Remember that one of the defenses of Novak and others was that this information was 'common knowledge'. The fact that a gay prostitute got that information as well sorta blows that defense out of the water."

If even fake journalists knew about it, maybe everybody did...

You are not going to get anything but obfuscation and distraction from the usual RW sources.

True, but one needs to watch the speed of light spinning that is taking place. Here's Powerline (via a 2/24 DCMedia girl post, if you really want to go to Powerline, go via there)

There is, I guess, a story here. But it has nothing to do with Jeff Gannon, a poor guy who thought he could put his past behind him and pursue a career as a reporter. No, the story has to do with the depth to which the Democratic Party and the American left have fallen. Desperate to change the subject in the wake of the Eason Jordan debacle, they seized on poor Mr. Gannon, made silly, baseless accusations against him, denounced him for being a homosexual, and, in the ultimate indignity, tracked down and published nude photographs of him. All to distract attention from Jordan, and to punish Mr. Gannon for the “sin” of being a Republican. Rarely have I seen such deeply contemptible conduct.

You can't make this stuff up.

Slarti (and everyone else),

In terms of the allegation of the Plame document, I agree that this is in all probability a non-story. It's been pointed out by David Corn that Gannon's mention of the Plame document is almost exactly the same phrasing as the Wall Street Journal's phrasing a week earlier.

Here is the link

But that is different than how Gannon was allowed access. It is inconceivable, to me at least, that someone didn't drop the ball in vetting.

"You can't make this stuff up."

Apparently they can! It would seem nothing can be allowed to puncture the bubble of their alternate reality.

As conservative columnist Bruce Bartlett wrote: "If Gannon was using an alias, White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover".

JC - "It's been pointed out by David Corn that Gannon's mention of the Plame document is almost exactly the same phrasing as the Wall Street Journal's phrasing a week earlier."

But JC, Gannon/Guckert has explicitly NOT used the argument (that he got the info regarding the now proven 'fake' memo from the WSJ) in any of his recent self serving 'interviews' which logically is what you would expect him or his handlers to do.

So why isn't he relying on that defence? most probably because he didn't read about it in the WSJ and neither did he tell that to the FBI when interviewed about it. Most likely he was told the information by the same individual/group responsible for the fake memo and distributing it amongst the press.

Either he gave the FBI a name or declined to reveal sources but apparently he isn't able to rely on the "I saw it in the WSJ" article because he didn't and thats not what he told the FBI which would leave him open to perjury if he did.

"and if in fact he was part of some VRWC attempt to lob softballs at the President...let the chips fall where they may"

"Lob softballs" is confirmed. I'll leave the "VRWC" part to others.

I did a google to see if I could find a list of Gannon's questions. Here's what I came up with in addition to the "out of touch with reality" remark:

"Last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that shows that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't put him up for the mission to Niger. The British inquiry into their own prewar intelligence yesterday concluded that the President's 16 words were "well-founded." Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the President and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?"

"Q: Thank you. The imam [Yassin M. Aref] that was arrested in [Albany] New York last week was discovered because his name appeared in a Rolodex in a terrorist training camp in Iraq before the war. The book was found after, by U.S. troops, but he was in Iraq before the war. Is this another piece of evidence showing the direct terror ties between Iraq and al Qaeda?"

"Let me follow up with a second question. How damaging was the revelation of the deepest mole that we've ever had in al Qaeda? The publication of that man's name by The New York Times -- how damaging is that to our war on terror?"

"Why hasn't the administration made more of the U.N. inspectors' report that says Saddam Hussein was dismantling his missile and WMD [weapons of mass destruction] sites before and during the war? And doesn't that, combined with the now-proven al Qaeda link between Iraq -- between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization -- unequivocally make the case for going to war in Iraq?"

"I'd like to comment on the angry mob that surrounded [senior Bush adviser] Karl Rove's house on Sunday. They chanted and pounded on the windows until the D.C. police and Secret Service were called in. The protest was organized by the National People's Action Coalition, whose members receive taxpayer funds, as well as financial support from groups including Theresa [sic] Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation."

"Since there have been so many questions about what the President was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard? Did he make speeches alongside [actress and anti-Vietnam War activist] Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam? Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam? And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting? What was he doing after he was honorably discharged?"

"Q I want to go back to "Rathergate" for a minute. Four people have been fired. There's a 224-page report and an eight-page statement --
MR. McCLELLAN: I see you have it there in your hand.

Q -- that's been released. Not a single word of apology to the President for this episode. Is the White House disappointed in that? Or is that --"

"Q Thank you. While the Democrats are challenging the Ohio results on Capitol Hill, Democrats in Washington state have disqualified any number of military votes in order to win that gubernatorial election there. Considering that American soldiers are in Iraq fighting to give those people there the right to vote, the right to free and fair elections, don't you think we owe it to them to make sure their votes are counted back home?"

"Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that he wanted the President to submit a list of potential Supreme Court nominees to be considered when a vacancy occurs. This seems to suggest the Democrats feel they have a mandate to continue obstruction of judges, since they only lost four Senate seats instead of the nine that would constitute a filibuster-proof minority -- majority, I'm sorry. Is the President likely to pre-approve Court nominees with the minority Democrats in the Senate?"

"I wanted to follow up on Connie's question about the Fallujah incident.[note from Katherine: I assume he's referring to the shooting in the mosque that Kevin Sites filmed] She mentioned Al Jazeera and their editorial policy, but I'd like to point out that MSNBC has been running that footage four times an hour for the last two days. Now, is the administration or the Pentagon reconsidering embedding reporters with American troops?
MR. McCLELLAN: Considering what?

Q Reconsidering the policy of embedding --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know of any -- no, I don't know of any change. That's a Department of Defense decision.

Q How can American troops be expected to make life-and-death decisions when they have to worry about the camera that's at their back, portraying them to the world and the American public as somehow committing some kind of wrongdoing there?"

"Q Thank you. With all the reaching out that's going on around here, the President said Thursday in his press conference that he was reaching out to the press corps. What did he mean by that, and why would he feel the need to reach out to a group of supposedly non-partisan people?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that was a tongue-in-cheek comment that the President made at the beginning of the press conference, and he was showing his outreach efforts by holding that press conference the day after the election was decided.

Q Has he decided to let bygones be bygones --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, you heard from the President -- you heard from the President in the news conference. The media certainly has an important role to play in keeping the American people informed about the decisions that we make here in Washington, D.C.

Q And despite the role that they tried to play, the President won anyhow. Is there some kind of rapprochement that's going on here?"
"Q Just one more time for me. (Laughter.) Even today they're standing by the documents that nearly every expert has determined are probably fake. Since it's brought the network's credibility and objectivity into question, is the White House considering pulling out of the debate that CBS is to moderate?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of the debates -- and I wouldn't connect the two here -- those are ongoing discussions between the two campaigns, and I don't have any update from here at this point."

"Q On Tuesday, the American Enterprise Institute held a media event where a video of Saddam's atrocities was shown. The tape showed fingers being cut off, tongues being cut out, and beheadings. None of the networks showed the tape. And few media outlets even mentioned it. Did anyone in this administration ask that these images not be showed to the American people?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, Jeff. But it is important to remind people of the atrocities that Saddam Hussein's regime committed. Saddam Hussein was a brutal oppressive dictator who carried out atrocities over a period of years against his own people and against his neighbors. And it's important that the public --

Q Well, how do you explain a virtual media blackout on these horrendous acts, when every single day there are pictures about what American soldiers have done in Iraq when these things are far worse? How is there any explanation for that? Is there somebody in the administration that doesn't want the American people to see that?"

"JEFF GANNON, TALON NEWS: Despite warnings that the release of the Abu Ghraib pictures might put Americans in danger, CBS went ahead and did it anyway. The feeding frenzy over these photos has been briefly interrupted by the video of Nick Berg being brutally beheaded. But they won't show that on the air.
Do you find any inconsistency with regard to the media treatment for releasing these photographs they knew would inflame the Arab street, but not airing something that they also know would inflame the American street, or at least the center and the right part of it?"

"Q Thank you. First of all, I hope the grand jury didn't force you to turn over the wedding card I sent to you and your wife. (Laughter.) Do you see any hypocrisy in the controversy about the President's mention of 9/11 in his ads, when Democratic icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign issued this button, that says, "Remember Pearl Harbor"? I have a visual aid for folks watching at home." (!!!)

"Q Scott, when you talk about the unemployment -- or the jobs being created, is that based on the payroll survey, or the household survey? Because there's -- because of the tax cuts, there's been a tremendous increase in the number of entrepreneurs that have started their own businesses, and those numbers aren't reflected in the payroll survey."

There's also this, from an event at the National Press Club:

"MR. : Thank you, Dr. Corsi. We have a question here from Jeff Gannon, White House correspondent for Talon News.
Q: Thank you. Have you looked into whether John Kerry or his close associates might profit from normalizing relations with Iran? I say this because I know when he pressed for normalization of relations with Vietnam, his close family members did profit as a result of that."

midway my googling I found out that daily kos has an archive of Gannon's question.

Gannon is not a biased reporter. Seymour Hersh is a biased reporter. I'm to some extent a biased reporter. Gannon's a propagandist. The right-of-center media is one big exercise in blurring the lines between truth and propaganda. And now, with the GOP controlling the whole federal government with the partial exception of the courts, it's pro-government propaganda. Some of which the administration actually finances or does special favors for (as, apparently, in Gannon's case), some of which it doesn't.

And the rest of the paid media will not point out its inaccuracy. So it works like a charm. See this post by Slacktivist:

"Aristotle was not Belgian, the principle of Buddhism is not 'every man for himself,' and the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up."

– Jamie Lee Curtis in "A Fish Called Wanda," by John Cleese

Via Cursor, I read the latest Harris poll on "Iraq, 9/11, al-Qaida and Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Polls like this one serve as a kind of report card for those of us in the news biz.* How well we are doing our job can be gauged with both positive and negative measures of what the public knows.

By positive measures, I mean attempts to learn how well we have conveyed certain basic facts....But even more damning than such positive measures are the negative ones, i.e., the many things the public "knows" that are not true. That's what this Harris poll reflects. If a handful of students fails a final exam, that probably indicates a failure on the part of those students. If the entire class fails the final, that probably reflects a failure on behalf of their teacher. This Harris poll, in other words, is more damning of those of us in the news biz than it is of the hoi polloi that Leno so enjoys holding up to ridicule.

Everyone in the news biz needs to account for results like the following, and to admit that they indicate a massive failure on our part:

More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who believe the following claims not made by the president and which virtually no experts believe to be true:

-- 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).

-- 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37 percent in November).

-- 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38 percent in November).

Another interesting finding is that only 46 percent believe that Saddam Hussein was prevented from developing weapons of mass destruction by the U.N. weapons inspectors, a fact which most reports now support.

If you were, say, the head sports editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer and poll results indicated that, say, 47 percent of your readers erroneously believed the Eagles won the Super Bowl, then you should probably consider tendering your resignation.

Dan Froomkin's take is that what's most appalling is how often McLellan calls on Gannon.

I have to say I don't quite get this story. So maybe there's a sex scandal involved, someone in the Bush Administration who had an affair with Gannon and let him in.
Yeah, shocking, someone pass the smelling salts, but until or unless this is proven, it's a little hard to get too excited about it. And suppose it is proven. It has almost nothing to do with why I dislike the Bush Administration so much. I half-expect sordid sex scandals to pop up in almost every administration. Now if we can show that person A had an affair with Gannon and that something illegal was done and that people in the Bush Administration knew it and covered it up, then you're going somewhere. I still don't like it--it's getting Al Capone with tax evasion. If Americans turn against the Bush Administration, I'm hoping it's for the right reasons--the torture scandal, for one.

As for the softball questions, isn't that what Fox News is for? So what if an actual whore is used instead? We're back to sex making this a scandal. For that matter, the NYT hasn't exactly been Seymour Hersh-like in its willingness to play the alleged traditional watchdog role of the press. At least with Gannon and Fox you know you don't have to take them seriously.

Are you saying that his security clearance was granted without knowledge of his given name? I'd want to see some evidence that this is true.

What we're saying is that Guckert either a) fooled those doing his background check for two years, or b) had a patron with influence in the WH.

Evidence for it being either one scenario or the other is incontrovertible. Married journalists who use their maiden names professionally are /required/ by the WH to use their married names. Guckert's legal name is a matter of record, as is his use of his assumed name in the WH for two years.

The name issue aside, there is the prostitution angle. Personally, I think it's irrelevant to his career as a journalist. Where it becomes relevant is when he must submit to a background check. Even a cursory investigation would turn up his ownership of domains on which were posted nude pictures advertising his services as an escort. Even assuming he was not deemed a security risk, why would the WH grant access to someone when there exists strong evidence that they are engaged in an ongoing criminal activity? (Yes, I realize there's a snarky straight line to that, but I'm being serious)

I realize you're trying to be reasonably fair and skeptical here, but this at minimum signifies profound incompetence in WH security, and more likely indicates that Guckert had a patron with influence inside the WH.

Donald Johnson: As for the softball questions, isn't that what Fox News is for? So what if an actual whore is used instead?

Does Fox News ask questions like:

In your denunciations of the Abu Ghraib photos, you've used words like 'sickening,' 'disgusting' and 'reprehensible.' Will you have any adjectives left to adequately describe the pictures from Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers? And will Americans ever see those images?

Because that, like the quotes Katherine posted above, is a textbook example of shilling. He might as well have stepped up and testified that Dr. McClellan's Miracle Snake Oil Elixir healed his gout.

These aren't just softball questions. Gannon is walking the ball to home plate and giving the Bush administration a piggy-back ride around the bases. I have a pretty low opinion of Fox, but this sort of thing makes them almost look respectable.

And the prostitution part is just poetic.

What is a reporter's job?

Is it a reporter's job to make the Administration look good?

Is it a reporter's job to defend the Administration?

If the answers to the above questions are "yes," then what's the difference between a reporter and a WH Press Secretary? Why even bother having reporters in the WH, when all we'd need are handouts from the WH press office?

This story is not about Jeff Gannon or bloggers or sex or the rights of reporters privacy. The crux of this story is the public's basic 'right to know', in the light of repeated attempts at coercion/co-option of the 4th estate by this WH and various RW propagandists.

At what point do we/the media say enough is enough?

The country needs an independent media if we are to function as a democracy.

I was going to talk about the politics of personal destruction or how the MSM is comprised primary of liberals. But given the general venom spewed so far
this is the proper medicine.

Liberals keep rolling out a scrolling series of attacks on Gannon for their Two Minutes Hate, but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.

[Via Real Clear Politics]


Here is some more tom foolery

Passing thought too bad Gannon isn't Muslim then we would have a hat trick.

"Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay."

Kinda thought tax delinquency was a crime. Anyway, the story isn't about "Gannon" per se - nothing against him, the man has to put food on his family after all - but about the WH's desperation to get a hired voice into the press corps.

Timmy's rant is proof enough for me that we are onto something here.

Timmy's rant hardly, but if you believe you are on to someone, please carry on.

I welcome a full review of WH press corp and those in the press corp who aren't journalist. In fact why not start with Helen and go from there.

but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.

Good God. Is this for real?

Or did someone make it up to make right-wingers look bad?

I have to ask Timmy, your hattrick comment, gay, Muslim and???? what is the third?

Republican?

Anyway, "trifecta" would be more topical.

Timmy, I'm surprised. Since you call this "proper medicine", am I to take it that you endorse the view that any criticism of a gay person is, ipso facto, homophobic? Because you surely must realize that in addition to sidestepping the very valid criticisms of Gannon, Coulter offered no evidence in support of the homophobia charge whatsoever.

(And this is assuming Gannon even is gay, which hasn't been established AFAIK.)

I had no idea who first said Timmy's quote, but when I clicked on the link? Oh dear.

Is it possible that some mean person who really doesn't like right-wingers made up Ann Coulter in order to make the right look bad? Poisonous venom is one thing, but her spew about the "liberal" reaction to Gannon is, well, just plain ill-informed.

(Oh, and her website seems to be doing something odd to my browser.)

Timmy, just a word of advice: if you're trying to guilt trip liberals for our supposed hatemongering it is better NOT to quote someone who publicly says we are all traitors and advocates the murder of journalists.

Likewise, if you're trying to guilt trip liberals for our supposed homophobia it is better NOT to quote someone who accused Bill Clinton of "attempting to turn the U.S. armed forces into a homosexual focus group" and said that the boy scouts' exclusion of gay scoutmasters was justified because "perhaps gay scout leaders just really liked camping. But it was also possible that gay men who wanted to lead troops of adolescent boys into the woods were up to no good."

if you're trying to guilt trip liberals

I love this Gannon gig but Katherine when you all start acting like Coulter. Well she is the perfect tonic for what apparently ails ya all.

Edward, that would be "conservative", politically speaking that is. :)

Is Timmy's mass accusation that we are all "acting like Ann Coulter" sufficiently insulting for him to be banned at last?

To be honest, I find it too off-the-wall funny - it's kind of like someone snarling "You're all acting like SpongeBob SquarePants!" out of the blue, with no foreshadowing or lead-in or explanation why... it might be meant to be insulting, but the only sane response is a snicker.

OTOH, there is no doubt that Ann Coulter is a hateful person who writes ill-informed screeds full of bigotry and lies, and comparing Katherine or Edward or indeed (I think) any of the commenters on this thread to her, is indeed insulting.

Perhaps we could just continue to discuss Gannon? Timmy's attempt to compare Katherine and Edward to Ann Coulter seems to be a bit of a threadjack.

Now that Tacitus is back, can we ...

Btw, lots of good stuff here on the Bush administration's ongoing quest to delegitimize the very act of journalism.

Now that Tacitus is back, can we ...

Speaking of which, word has it Tacitus might be on the NBC Nightly News a few minutes from now in a segment on blogging.

"..Tacitus might be on the NBC Nightly News a few minutes from now in a segment on blogging.

Tacticus, Assrocket, can't we get someone on the box with a mainstream perspective?

If you had put it to a vote I would have voted to spare Timmy for his entertainment value over allowing the hatefull Redstate in the backdoor.

Anyway, the story isn't about "Gannon" per se - nothing against him, the man has to put food on his family after all - but about the WH's desperation to get a hired voice into the press corps.

Aha!

I just worked out why they pushed him back into the spotlight.

My faith in their ability to manipulate the media has been restored. Well done, Karl.

Anyway, the story isn't about "Gannon" per se - nothing against him, the man has to put food on his family after all - but about the WH's desperation to get a hired voice into the press corps.

No, it's about delegitimizing the press corps.

postit, "hatefull" isn't vaguely civil.

McDuff, do tell.

praktike, do you mean that they expected him to be outed to drag the general tone down?

No, it's about delegitimizing the press corps.

Firing squad in the form of a circle, those self inflicted wounds must be very painful.

Slarti: There's a decent-enough summary of Gannon's shenanigans at Salon. [Lacking subscription, a day pass is most ironically required.] Ameriblog's still got the best breaking coverage if you're into following this closely.

"hatefull" isn't vaguely civil.

Neither is Redstate, and the posting rules (generally) address how we treat other ObWi commentors, not our descriptions of the general tone at other sites on the net. I have no problem whatsoever accurately describing the tone at Redstate, Powerline, or LGF--in respectively increasing degrees of nastiness--as hateful. Drop in on any of the threads about torture, f'rex, and you'll see a few lone voices of priciple and reason drowned out by a sea of inhumanity with whom I'm ashamed to share a common nationality. Calling this sort of thing "hateful" is being charitable.

Now, if that's how postit was characterizing Tacitus himself (as opposed to the community whence he comes), then I'm right there with you.

I used the word 'hatefull' to describe redstate as has been accurately divined, thankfully no one can read my mind and divine what I think of tacitus.

And if anyone had been paying attention you would have noticed Jes calling coulterbitch a 'hatefull person' not 4 posts up from mine.

Yes, but as far as I know, Ann Coulter does not comment here. Long may this state of affairs endure.

(And the copy editor in me says: it's 'hateful'.)

(Down, copy editor!)

Sorry to have misread you, postit, carry on.

Hilzoy, you are right on the spelling.

Regarding the other point I'm not so sure. Are you saying that if Charles Johnson posted here we would not be able to call LGF hateful? Perhaps we need input from the rules committee?

A gentleman and a scholar - rilkefan.

praktike, do you mean that they expected him to be outed to drag the general tone down?

No, I mean that "Talon News" was allowed to participate because the GOP wants to destroy the press. See the Jay Rosen piece I linked to above, which will explain all.

If George W. Bush himself came here to comment, I would do my utmost to restrict my criticisms of him purely to those I could support with evidence while avoiding ad hominem attacks.

Which, I suppose, is easy enough to say given the rich and fertile fields of evidence that exist to support my low opinions of Mr. Bush.

Note that while I'm perhaps more likely than others to read something as metonymy, it's probably best to be as clear as possible when using strong terms.

The general idea is that we get to express ourselves in any way we want (consistent with the other posting rules) about public figures, but not about fellow commenters. We do, of course, get to say all sorts of things about fellow commenters' arguments (though usually it's taken to be good form to supply evidence and so forth); just not about them. (Sort of the argument version of 'hate the sin, love the sinner'.) I think the 'don't slam commenters' part takes precedence over the 'it's OK to slam public figures' part, since not being rude to someone's virtual face (to my mind) takes precedence over -- well, whatever. But since so few public figures have seen fit to grace us with their presence, the ObWi Collective Mind has not made itself up on this point.

Calling LGF hateful would be fine, since LGF is not a person. (I hope. Now I'll have nightmares.)

Speaking of Gannon, Pharyngula has a whole post on the evolution of the penis. It's interesting. (Seriously.) In it I learned that most (male) birds have no penis, which was news to me, and I thought, really?, and googled, and found the following news story, which you should only click on if you are not going to be disturbed by the idea of a duck that weighs half a pound and yet is, well, um, let's just say that its version of the organ in question is over twice as long as Jeff Gannon says his is. And corkscrew-shaped. With a brush on the end.

"Our best guess is that the birds use [the long penis] as a kind of lasso," McCracken said. "The males have to chase the females, and even during copulation the females are trying to escape."

You have been warned.

Error: the duck weighs a pound. But still.

And about which rule takes precedence: I meant, but did not say: in case of a conflict caused by a public figure commenting here.

Once again, The Poor Man manages to couch priceless wisdom in a package nearly impossible to read whilst taking a sip of anything whatsoever.

"Our best guess is that the birds use [the long penis] as a kind of lasso," McCracken said. "The males have to chase the females, and even during copulation the females are trying to escape."

There is a joke in here somewhere, a joke about Navy cadets or frat boys that is begging to be birthed, phoenix-like, from the ashes of my good sense and taste. But for the moment, I think I'll simply leave the source quote to speak for itself.

The CIA memo? But it was Gannon himself who boasted about seeing the CIA memo.

Why are you willing to take Guckert's word on this? Has anyone else actually seen this CIA memo? I've heard various bloggers state that this wasn't, in fact, a CIA memo that mentioned Plame, and anyone who'd actually seen it couldn't have possibly mistaken it for one.

What we're saying is that Guckert either a) fooled those doing his background check for two years, or b) had a patron with influence in the WH.

Evidence for it being either one scenario or the other is incontrovertible. Married journalists who use their maiden names professionally are /required/ by the WH to use their married names. Guckert's legal name is a matter of record, as is his use of his assumed name in the WH for two years.

Cite? Required to use their married names, where? As far as I can tell, the claim is that Guckert obtained a clearance under a false name. My question was, do you claim that those clearing him didn't know what his given name was? So far, I haven't gotten an answer on this either way. I could change my name tomorrow to Caesar Augustus and still get a Top Secret clearance, that I can guarantee you. Or I could just start calling myself Caesar Augustus, and still get the same clearance. If the claim is that he got a press pass (which, let's be clear, is different from a clearance) under an assumed name, I'm not going to dispute that.

So, to clear things up, above: the daffy claims bit referred to the Gannon-outed-Plame fist-pumping I'm seeing around blogdom. The clearance thing I think is slightly daffy but might turn less daffy once the language is straightened out. Oh, and the fact that David Corn has pretty much dismissed the Plame angle actually makes me feel that it's slightly more probable that Guckert was involved.

"Because whoever did, is too senior to be dropped from the administration."

I'm skipping ahead, and commenting before reading all the comments (which I likely will if I comment on this thread again, but otherwise no promises), so I assume others have mentioned the reported contact the man had with Karl Rove, as well as his reportedly being invited to invitation-only White House parties, which was apparently not a given for "day-pass" reporters (I've not confirmed any of this, please note).

Slarti said: "Are you saying that his security clearance was granted without knowledge of his given name? I'd want to see some evidence that this is true."

I assume someone has already explained the difference between a "real" press pass to the WH, which does involve a months-long security check, and a day-pass, which as much reported, no matter that it's a "day pass" granted every day for years, apparently involves an extremely cursory, at best, security glance; that the man was granted access to the WH on this basis is presumably unlikely to be a coincidence.

Whoops, completely forgot the bit I was primarily intending to comment on. Edward said: "What slays me about Reynolds' emphasis on the mean old left's delight in the irony here is the fact that he can't seem to appreciate the irony here. I mean, come on! If it were the other way around he'd be covering it 24/7 and hooting and hollering about morality and family values and what have you. Most on the left are simply bemused."

I have a great many problems with an endless number of things Glenn has said in the past year and a half, getting on more, and with a lot of approaches and attitudes in recent times, but as somone who was reading him back in 2001, and who was like most liberal bloggers in the year following in finding him largely a sensible centrist-libertarian type, I have to say that this characterization of him is beyond wrong: it's silly. It's clearly ignorant. We can both agree on quite a lot of criticisms and disagreements with an endless number of Glenn's comments and characterizations -- his characterizations of Democrats in general, among the most obvious -- but whatever Glenn Reynolds' faults, being a supporter of "family values" and "morality," has absolutely never been one of them. This is utter nonsense, and, frankly, you owe him a public apologiy here for saying it.

Reynolds has never -- in my limited view, at least, been anything other than a dogged critic of the Christian Right, and the "family values" type, and has spoken up endlessly in support of porn, gay rights, sexual libertinism in general, and similar standard-libertarian-type topics.

Tosh, but you've engaged in an appalling and unfounded stereotype here, Edward, entirely assuming, with no foundation whatever, that because his opinions on X, Y, and Z are thus (Irag, Bush, Democrats, say), that his opinion on A and B must be those of, I dunno, one of the Powerline guys, or Orrin Judd, or somesuch.

(This is not dissimilar to the way some lefty bloggers have taken to claiming that Jeff Jarvis is a conservative Republican, pretty much only because he supported the Iraq war and defends related causes, despite having written at considerable length about his voting for John Kerry.)

Magorn in a diary on daily kos hit the nail on the head for me:

Score one for the MSM a great editorial in the Detroit Free Press (whose domain name, ironically enough, is Freep.com.) http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/eguckert23e_20050223.htm
asks a question that might really have some traction.
_________________
How is it that an administration that screened thousands of people for attendance at Bush campaign rallies repeatedly let a fake reporter into the sanctorum of the White House pressroom under a false name? Who was running that background check?


How could a president who declares that national security is his prime concern be so ill served for nearly two years by his own security detail?

What is the public to make of the fact that legitimate protesters are kept far away from President George W. Bush while an illegitimate "journalist" who's really working for a Republican propaganda mill is repeatedly allowed into the White House pressroom and regularly called upon by the president and the president's press secretary to ask questions?
_________________

Diaries :: Magorn's diary ::

To me, Rove's creation of an impenetrable bubble around the president, to shield him from ever having to listen to dissenting opinion or a different point of view is the real scandal of the past three years. This editorial shows great insight in tying the two threads together. Gannon was really nothing more than an extension of all those "ordinary citizens" Rove used to round up at "Ask President Bush" events. You may recall those fine upstanding citizens asked such penetrating questions as "Thank you for your Leadership" "Why are we safer today than ever before?" and "Does your opponent REALLY eat babies and worship the dark lord?" (okay I might have made the last one up-maybe).

Apparently, Bush Co. decided their boy also needed that kind of help in the press room. Since they couldn't get away with handing out all the press passes to local committee chairmen, they did the next best thing and brought in "Chip Rightwingenstien" to shill for them. Its a reflection of how tight and recursive the bubble has gotten, that Rove et al really believed this would work. The con men are starting to fall for their own patter.

The reason all this matters is because the The presidency is such an awesome responsibility that no president has been unchanged by its weight. Look at the differences in Bill Clinton between his first and second term, Or George HW Bush or even Ronald Regan (pre Alzheimer's). They all grew into the job, became more thoughtful, and gained gravitas. The pressure of being the president helped them to become "presidential", their politics became more practical, less dogmatic, and more in tune with the possibilities and limitations of their position. They learned from both successes and failures to be more humble and deliberate about their decision making. Most of them were physically, emotionally, and mentally drained when they left office.

But not Our Boy W. He sails along from Potemkin Village to Potemkin Village and never sees the reality hiding behind the cardboard façade. Thus he never has to question himself or his policies even when they are disastrous failures. Reports of his personal habits in the White House indicate he more concerned with his intensive daily workouts (hmm is the recovering addict seeking a replacement high with endorphins?) and maintaining his 9 pm bedtime, than he is abut the increasingly dangerous state of world affairs. He `s so constantly told everything is right, good and perfect, that he's nearly impervious to opposing points of view.

As a Washington Post Story of a few week ago reported; Even when Colin Powell's tried to burst the bubble in one of his last meetings with the president he failed.

"According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr. Bush recently asked Mr. Powell for his view on the progress of the war. 'We're losing,' Mr. Powell was quoted as saying. Mr. Freeman said Mr. Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave."

Without truth slipping under that bubble there can be no reflection, and without reflection, Mr. Bush's personal "accountability Moment" might never come

hilzoy, it's not just some odd duck:

The Swan and Leda

The god swoops down upon her from behind.
It was that or waddle to the attack.
The bright wings batter her down on her back.
He does what she's not done with her own kind:
Swans have, unlike most birds, external genitals.
He spreads, with webbed reptilian feet, her thighs,
Upon her senseless lips his senseless beak,
His neck snaked round her neck. His eyes
Are elsewhere - they forsee perhaps the roles
The girls who soon will hatch will play:
Adultery justifying murder and war crimes
By barbarians considered heroes to this day -
Having more imagination than those of our times,
And an above-average publicist in their pay.

Reynolds has never -- in my limited view, at least, been anything other than a dogged critic of the Christian Right, and the "family values" type, and has spoken up endlessly in support of porn, gay rights, sexual libertinism in general, and similar standard-libertarian-type topics.

Gary
Doesn't "dogged" imply a regular series of postings rather than simply suggesting that gun ownership represents diversity? Any other 2005 postings concerning gay rights only seem to occur when he feels like he is being dragged into a fight.
I've never been a constant reader of Reynolds, but it appears to me that these liberal values are simply window dressing. I'm not saying he has to believe exactly what I believe, but when the "liberal" values don't seem to excite the same kind of passion that the "conservative" arguments do, it suggests a position of rhetorical convenience rather than of true conviction.

"Doesn't 'dogged' imply a regular series of postings rather than simply suggesting that gun ownership represents diversity?"

Quite. I recall dozens and dozens, typically at least a few per week. Since his archives are there, I could go and start picking off examples, but I'm not inclined to do so when it's simple truth.

"Any other 2005 postings...."

Without requoting myself, was something about the time frames I specified unclear?

There have been claims that Reynolds's positions have shifted greatly with the political winds. Edward may for all I know be correct - of course, arguing counterfactuals is inherently risky.

in my limited view, at least, been anything other than a dogged critic of the Christian Right (emph mine)

It's the 'anything other' that I disagree with, which implies timelessness, and, given that you feel an apology is owed, what Glenn is at this point in time rather than what GR was in the blogosphere's infancy is the question, I would think.

Any number of people have shifted positions (the old "9-11 changed everything" meme) but the best have been honest as to why they have shifted and how they have shifted. But since both of us are arguing from an reflected image of Reynolds rather than from his actual oeuvre, I think that we will have to find someone willing to work through Instapundit's output and report. Any volunteers?

"I don't wanna be anything other than what I've been tryin' to be lately."

On Gannon:

it just occurred to me that there's an entirely different approach liberal weblogs could take to this. Rather (or in addition to) demanding press coverage that we know won't be very good, or an investigation we know we won't get, why don't liberal bloggers start sending in applications for White House press room day passes? There are three possible outcomes:
1) the applications are denied, proving our point.
2) a few of the applications are granted, but McLellan doesn't call on the blogger, again proving our point.
3) (least likely by far) the applications are granted and we get the chance to ask real questions. (We would have to prepare substantive, hard questions very carefully) How cool would that be?

Much as I would love the chance to ask some specific questions about extraordinary rendition, I cannot do this, as it would jeopardize my job offer for next year & I'm nowhere near D.C. But there must be no shortage of liberal bloggers who live within a short trip of D.C. who have done better journalism than Guckert, could use their real names, and who are...let's just see better equipped to pass a background check. So how do you apply for a day pass? Someone besides me must have thought of this, right?

Yes, someone has. The highlights are that Scott McLellan is on record as stating to Howie Kurtz:

Gannon got a day pass to the White House, available to any journalist, commentator or blogger who writes for an audience. "I don't think it's the role of the press secretary to get into the business of being a media critic or picking and choosing who gets credentials," McClellan says.

And the instructions for applying for a day pass:

"The information returned from the large metropolitan daily's Washington bureau confirmed what I suspected all along: Anyone seeking a White House press pass must write, on official letterhead, to Jeff's friend Scottie.

Here's the address:

Scott McClellan
Assistant to the President/Press Secretary
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Room #WH/1/WW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Now, it seems to me that one could use a much simpler address and that a letter sent to Mr. McClellan at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would probably get there. It is, after all, a fairly well known place. And this is the administration that says it wants to simplify things and get government off our backs.

However, since this is also the administration that is dropping government on our heads, probably best to use the long form.

In your letter, on your official letterhead, include name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and news affiliation."

I wonder how official the official letterhead has to be? Probably including our mascot would be a very bad idea.

Much as I would love the chance to ask some specific questions about extraordinary rendition, I cannot do this, as it would jeopardize my job offer for next year

Couldn't you just use a false name? How about Kitty Obwoui? Speak with a french accent and say you are just in town for the day. ;^)

'We're losing,' Mr. Powell was quoted as saying.

But with stories like this Mr. Powell might be wrong in his overall geopolitical analysis. Again it is still early in the game though.

Katherine, I couldn't agree with you more (must have read Corn's piece on the overall situation) but then again if you look at the makeup of the WH Press Corp the activists are already there, take Helen Thomas for example, who isn't a shy ducky at all.

This is utter nonsense, and, frankly, you owe him a public apologiy here for saying it.

Gary,

I'll agree it's possibly nonsense, but a public apology? For my opinion? It was conjecture, yes, but it wasn't ad hominem. You read him differently. Fine, say so, but stop short of insulting me for offering my reading. We're risking becoming a blogosphere of spinster nannies around here.

I find Reynolds consistenly mocking of the left and soft on the right. It's my opinion that Glenn would be much harder on Gannon were he of the left. The "morals" or "family values" bit might not be his approach to the critique, but I'm confident it would be a harsher critque. Furthermore, for you to insist he deserves an apology for such conjecture (as if anyone who defends morality or family values has been libeled), now that's "silly."

As much as you're entitled to defend Reynolds as ferverently as you do, I'm entitled to conclude he's not being totally objective in his assessment of the left's response to Gannon. Yes, perhaps he wouldn't play the morality card, but for you to focus on that like it's defamation of character is very bizarre to me.

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