Article Archives (02-10-2005)
The Republican Plant in the White House Press Corp
On the morning of January 26th, I was called by my friends at the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis to perform a civic duty--specifically jury duty. Never-mind that I am the proprietor of a single employee business and, when I leave the premises, it's on autopilot, the State called and I appeared (confession: they did make it clear I would be arrested if I failed to show). As it so happened, I was one of the first attorneys in the State of Missouri privileged to serve jury duty in that the state had very recently changed its laws making attorneys eligible to serve. Thank the maker. So there I found myself in the jury assembly room with my fellow citizens, sucking down caffeine, waiting for my dog-tag (er jury person) number to be called, and watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur on television (for the uninformed, Barney is a popular childrens show). I guess the good folks at the sheriff's office figured the mental level of the jury pool made Barney the right choice for our viewing pleasure.
So I am compliantly watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur when, "bam", the image of Barney instantly transforms into George W. Bush, our president. I'm not making this up, it really happened! At first, I thought W was a special guest on Barney (we all know how much he likes talking to children after seeing Fahrenheit 9-11) but, no, this was a spur-of-the-moment presidential press conference. 31 Marines had been killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq the night before which, I suppose, prompted W to go on national television and talk about his grand plan for privatizing social security (which was the thrust of his prepared remarks). In the beginning of the Q&A, W was taking a beating from the Washington press corp as they bore in with penetrating questions on every subject but social security. OK, I'll admit it, I was enjoying this part. Then George calls on some squirrely reporter I'd never seen before who asks the following:
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? Link. FN1
Have you ever heard a more biased question in your life? The words "plant, plant" were coming out of my mouth as I stared at the television (getting strange looks from my fellow prospective jurors in the process).
We know that various government agencies within the Bush Administration had paid reporters to promote their agenda, but has the propaganda now reached into the Washington press corps? Karl Rove's chutzpa knows no limits! The answer is "yes", the Bushies did plant one of their own as a reporter in the Washington press corp.
This story is freaky even by Bush / Rove standards. First, the plant's name was listed as "Jeff Gannon", Washington Bureau Chief for Talon News. Talon News, as it turns out, is a Republican front organization run out of Texas (surprise) by conservative operative Bobby Eberle (who was a Texas delegate to the Republican National Convention). Link. It's bad enough that the White House gave press credentials to a shame news organization but it gets worse. The name "Jeff Gannon", used by the Washington Bureau Chief of Talon News, turn out to be an alias. The guy's real name is James D. Guckert. How exactly does a guy get White House press credentials and personal interviews with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan using an alias? Now for the really weird part.
Gannon's original refusal to deny he used a fake name sparked investigations by a number of blogs, which probed his true identity. In addition, those sites posted allegations that Web sites such as hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, were registered to the same owner as Gannon's personal Web site.
If you'd like to see Mr. Guckert posing in his boxers, here you go (scroll to middle of page). I have no idea what these web sites are all about but some press outlets and blogs are reporting that they are connected to male prostitution.
"The bloggers," Kurtz writes today, "also have linked to a since-withdrawn America Online photo of a man who appears to be Gannon, posing in his underwear, with a screen name bearing the initials 'JDG.'" Alternet.org.
"The issue here is whether someone with connections to male prostitution was given unfettered access to the White House and copies of internal CIA documents. For a family values administration, that's pretty creepy," said John Aravosis, one of the bloggers chasing the story. New York Daily News.
Guckert a/k/a Gannon has resigned from Talon News. The ability of the Bush Administration to bend the nation's news to its will is truly amazing. Apparently Sen. Frank Lautenberg is making some inquires on the matter but, with Republicans controling all investigating committees of Congress, don't hold your breath hoping a governmental body will really try to get to the bottom of this episode. In any event, the next Gannon is probably already in the weeds ready to be activated by his White House controllers. Can a Rove "Manchurian Candidate" be far behind?
- Followup story from Editor & Publisher.
- Followup story from the Washington Post--"[A] Web designer in California said yesterday that he had designed a gay escort site for Gannon and had posted naked pictures of Gannon at the client's request." Guckert a/k/a Gannon is a professed born-again Christian (as I understand it) who claims homosexuality is a sin. Hum, makes more sense now why Guckert was using an alias--didn't want that "pre-born again" life following him into the White House (which it has with a vengeance).
- Development: Jeff Gannon comes out of the closet. 5-5-2006.
- I have a new article involving Jeff Gannon: Was Jeff Gannon A Victim of
The Republican Pedophile Ring? (6-20-2007).
Footnote 1: Interestingly, there is a tie to Rush Limbaugh here. It seems old Rush claimed credit for the man's question to President Bush, specifically that Sen. Harry Reid had been talking about the nation's workers in soup lines. Got to give Rush credit, when he injects himself into the lime light, modesty knows no bounds. He admits that the alleged words of Sen. Reid (the Democratic leader in the Senate) were a fabrication but then, in the same breath, is proud that he was quoted in a presidential press conference (i.e., he's proud to claim that a brain-dead reporter repeated his misquote during a nationally televised presidential news conference). Link.