KC MEDIA, METRO AFFAIRS, UMKC, AND A DASH OF SALT.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Who the Fuck is "Jeff Gannon"?

Holy State Driven Propaganda Batman! The list of “Bush Media Whores” seems to be growing by the day.

You thought the Bush and his NeoCon pals had it easy with Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the like all serving as daily cheerleaders. Appears that it wasn't enough, and now Republican operatives planted in the White House press corps are being outed just as Armstrong Williams and other "commentators" were found to be on the take.

Talon News, which fronts as the news division of “GOPUSA” (a Republican activism web site), has announced that their Washington, DC reporter and White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon has resigned as February 8, 2005.

Robert Eberle, the wealthy Republican financier of both web sites, said he is searching for Gannon’s replacement. The identity of Gannon was a mystery to the traditional media outlets until his peculiar appearances and slanted questions at White House press conferences began to catch the attention of left-thinking Internet web bloggers.

Gannon’s identity and role in the Bush administration’s courting of journalists and talking heads (authentic or otherwise) began to unravel as January came to a close. David Brock’s “Media Matters for America” documented numerous instances in the past year when Gannon was filling his reports with words lifted directly from RNC “fact sheets” (equivalent to Ari Fleischer or Scott McClellan’s “talking points”).

Brock even called on the White House to revoke Gannon’s access to press conferences, because he was acting on behalf of a GOPUSA, a Republican PR machine, rather than an organization attempting objective journalism. His urgings culminated in Guckert's "resignation" from Talon News.

What is known is that Gannon was cleared on a day-by-day basis by White House Press Secretary McClellan, or someone close to him. He was frequently called on to toss softball questions at McClellan or the President during times of intensive scrutiny from other members of the press corps. On January 26th, he was called during President Bush’s latest press conference. His question was later found to be lifted directly from one of Rush Limbaugh’s recent shows.

The loaded, anti-Democratic Party question, caught not only the attention of the other reporters present, but quickly sent viewers scrambling to their computer to find out who Jeff Gannon and Talon News (the name comes as a sort of right-wing response to the left-leaning Salon.com) exactly were.

Turns out that not only was Talon News not a real news organization; the “reporter” proclaiming to be Jeff Gannon was in fact James Guckert. Gannon, or Guckert, resigned immediately. Talon News erased all of his work from their web site. As did other sites that had published his material. His own site, was shut down (he leaves only a message begging for forgiveness and sympathy).

Apparently, anyone can get a White House press pass. At least, that’s what the White House would have us believe. McClellan said it was not his job to determine what constitutes a reporter. The Secret Service do regular checks on all reporters given temporary or permanent passes into the White House. Somehow (unbeknownst to McClellan and others inside the White House), a man using a phony name was given access to George Bush’s home just about every day for the past two years. Maybe it’s time for us all to call up the White House and inquire about the availability of these easy to come by press passes.

With CNN’s Wolf Blitzer today, Guckert said: “(Jeff Gannon is my) professional name. I used it because Jeff Gannon is easier to pronounce (than James Guckert) and easier to remember.”

I’ve heard of other people using “professional names.”

They’re called ACTORS.

Last Summer, Guckert's request for a permanent press pass to the White House was denied by the group that issues them to reporters. The White House itself is still mum about how he was then able to receive passes on a daily basis from someone in the White House Press Office.

Talon was not granted a congressional press credential, therefore Gannon was accessing the White House without a "hard pass," the permanent press credential that allows other White House reporters regular access. The daily press credentials that Gannon was receiving are easier to get, but must be obtained each day.

According to his bio on Talon's Web site (which has now been removed), he graduated from the prestigious “Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism” -- a two-day, $50 seminar run by Morton Blackwell. Who is Morton Blackwell – the co-founder of Rev. Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. J

Guckert’s history with RNC causes, as well as his work that’s now being erased magically in front of us, was all documented by bloggers like “World O’Crap.”

Word is already floating around that Dems will gang up and demand that Guckert and similar issues surrounding Armstrong Williams and other commentators bankrolled by the Fed. be investigated (And most recently...it appears that the Pentagon was bankrolling writers to develop military-friendly content).

Guckert’s role in the Bush Saga also involves the outing of a CIA agent. Remember that? Gannon received a classified CIA memo that named Valerie Plame as an operative within the agency. Her being outed as an undercover agent came via Jon Stewart’s favorite columnist/pundit, Bob Novak, in retaliation for her husband speaking out against the administration.

All in all, the Guckert/Gannon tale is a strange one. Well, at least it doesn't involve any gay porn web sites. Wait, ....oh crap. Not exactly Ron Jeremy, but a nice try.

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