Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

‘Outing’ ignored by liberal media
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Citizens, it’s finally happened. An alleged former male prostitute has
been unmasked among the White House press corps. If this comes as a
surprise, don’t blame liberal media bias. For once, there’s a
Washington sex scandal our fastidious "mainstream" press mostly wishes to avoid.
Why? Good question. By day, "Jeff Gannon" posed as White House
correspondent for a fictitious news organization called Talon News, an
Internet site that is a subsidiary of GOPUSA. com. That’s a Texas-based
Web site bankrolled by one Bobby Eberle, an activist now depicted as
virtually unknown in Texas GOP circles, even though he was a Bush
delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention. "Gannon" was
granted day passes to White House press briefings and news conferences,
where he routinely lobbed softball questions to press secretary Scott
McClellan. MSNBC’s acerbic news anchor, Keith Olbermann, almost alone
among TV journalists in giving the story the coverage it deserves, has
aired hilarious pastiches of "Gannon’s" servile questioning of
Mc-Clellan on his "Countdown" program.

What does the affair tell us about White House security amid the "war
on terror"? That’s hard to say. So far nobody’s explained how a man with
no journalistic credentials and a phony name passed muster with the Secret
Service. One reasonable presumption might be that a high-ranking White
House official must have vouched for him, but given the Washington
press’ reluctance and GOP control of Congress, we may never know.

McClellan pleads no contest.

" In this day and age, "he said," when you have a changing media, it’s
not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is a
journalist. "

Um, Scottie, how about somebody who has ever worked as a reporter for a
newspaper, magazine, TV or radio station? Most people would start
there. "Google" James D. Guckert, "our hero’s real name, and you won’t find a
long list of professional accomplishments. None, actually.

Among left-of-center bloggers," Gannon" already was notorious for
simply adding his byline to GOP press releases and posting them as news
stories online. He’d also posted articles claiming that a former intern had
given interviews to TV networks revealing her love affair with Sen.
John Kerry—something that never happened. Even nastier, and ironically,
given his secret identity, he’d attacked the Democratic presidential nominee
as potentially America’s "first gay president."

But it was the slow-pitch meatball that "Gannon" lobbed to President
Bush during his recent news conference that really set critics off.
Bush had just apologized for the Education Department’s Pravda-style
$240,000 payment to pundit Armstrong Williams for praising White House policies.
Perhaps fearing that a real reporter would ask a follow-up query about
pundits paid to tout administration "pro-family" initiatives, or about
government-sponsored infomercials narrated by an actress playing TV
reporter "Karen Ryan" that got broadcast as news stories on many
stations, McClellan called on "Gannon." "Gannon" delivered. Falsely
attributing to Democratic Sens. Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton
statements about "soup lines" and an economy "on the verge of collapse"
that he’d apparently borrowed from Rush Limbaugh, he asked Bush, "[H]ow
are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves
from reality?"

Bush’s answer wasn’t memorable. But a few days later, gay activist John
Aravosis of Americablog. org revealed "Gannon’s" secret identity.
Whining that his privacy had been violated, Gannon/Guckert quickly
resigned. Later, in an interview with media critic Howard Kurtz of The
Washington Post, Gannon/Guckert "did not dispute evidence that he has
advertised himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort, but would not
specifically address such questions," Kurtz reported.

As if to demonstrate that people on the cultural left often don’t think
any better than their putative opponents on the right, online
publications like Salon. com ran letters from gay readers denouncing
his forced outing as "homophobic." Excuse me, but when you pose for
explicit photos and advertise your services on the Internet, it’s not private,
it’s public. More typical was Kurtz’s complaint that "I didn’t go into
journalism, frankly, to be looking at Web sites like hotmilitarystud.
com." Well, frankly, I never expected to read anything like the Starr
Report. Try to imagine the uproar if the Bill Clinton White House had
pulled something similar. Every committee in Congress would run
televised hearings 24/7. On "Hardball," GOP attack blondes would be
speaking in tongues. Tim Russert might simply explode. The bitterest
irony, of course, is that Bush, the most theatrically "manly" president
since Ronald Reagan—he often dresses as if auditioning for the Village
People—might never have been elected but for his 2004 campaign’s
calculated appeal to homophobia.

Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author
and recipient of the National Magazine Award.


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