The contingent of reporters that cover the President are presumed to be professionals that have earned their access through years of journalistic acheivement. Right. And if ever a wonderful Wiz there was The Wizard of Oz is one because…..oh nevermind.
The White House press corpse was recently infiltrated by a right-wing mole whose resume boasted of a weekend seminar at the conservative Leadership Institute. His name appeared to be Jeff Gannon but was later discovered to be James “JD” Guckert.
Gannon (as I’ll call him for convenience), has been attending White House briefings for about a year, asking questions that were loaded to the max. For example:
“…You’ve said you’re going to reach out to [Senate Democrats]. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”
“Is this another piece of evidence showing the direct terror ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda?”
“Doesn’t Joe Wilson owe the President and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?”
“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 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?”
So who is Jeff Gannon? This reporter was called upon frequently by the President’s press secretary, Scott McClellan, and even by the President himself at his January 20, news conference. They called on him by name and must have known that he could be counted on to lob a softball. He represented Talon News, a conservative website that is run by Bobby Eberle. Eberle is also a Republican operative in Texas and the CEO of GOPUSA. As Talon’s correspondant, Gannon was denied capital hill press credentials when Talon could not prove that it had advertisers or paid circulation. But Gannon did manage to get accredited at the White House.
Gannon is not an unknown quantity in this administration. His name appeared on a list of people the FBI wants to question in regard to the Valerie Plame affair (Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Her status as a CIA operative was unlawfully disclosed in news reports by Robert Novak and others, alledgedly to punish Wilson for statements he made that were critical of the administration). The FBI’s interest in Gannon was connected to his possession of a classified CIA memo that addressed Wilson’s assignment to Niger. How did he get that memo and why was he allowed to use it to malign Wilson with impunity?
This story gets more bizarre from here. Gannon is also the owner of a number of provacative web site domains: Hotmilitary-stud.com, Militaryescorts.com andMilitaryescortsm4m.com. This recent revelation seems to have prompted the retirement of Gannon and his jeffgannon.com. Talon News has deleted all its stories by Gannon, as well as his bio. The uncreating of Jeff Gannon is in progress.
Its interesting that none of what we know about any of this was uncovered by the corporate media. The investigations and reporting on this was done almost entirely by enterprising and intrepid bloggers like those at DailyKos.com and MediaMatters.org.
From an administration that has already been exposed for having paid reporters to hawk its propaganda (Armstrong Williams, et al), for distributing videos to TV stations without disclosing the source or that the reporters in them were actually actors, what can we conclude from all of this? Is Jeff Gannon a creation of the White House designed to put pro-Bush sound bites into the media? Was he operating covertly to punish White House enemies? New York representative Louise Slaughter is calling for an investigation. If we are ever to get answers to these questions, let’s hope we get one.