....Try to imagine this scenario: John Kerry wins the presidency and appoints a press secretary who grants a White House press pass to a fake reporter with a fake name representing a fake news outlet. And what if this "Jeff Gannon," whose real name is James Guckert, gets called upon daily to lob softball questions at White House briefings? And what if it turns up that Gannon/Guckert has an eyebrow-raising connection to the investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame? And what if Gannon/Guckert was involved in setting up Web sites promoting homosexual prostitution? And what if racy nude photos of him start flooding the Internet? The only thing imaginary about this scenario was the part about Kerry being president. Had it been Kerry whose aide allowed Gannon/Guckert such access to the president, just think of the furor. Conservative Web jockeys, in tandem with talk-radio shouters, would have created a frenzy thrusting the sordid story onto front pages across the land. At the very least, President Kerry's press secretary would be out of a job. Bloggers on the left are no less bullies than those on the right. But it's possible that mainstream U.S. news organizations resent the liberal-bias tag so much that they're more susceptible to pressure from the right. Whatever the case, the "Jeff Gannon" story is legitimate: On Jan. 26, at a time of heightened national security, a phony reporter with a pseudonym and ties to the Republican Party got to sit just a few feet from the president at a nationally televised news conference and was called upon -- ahead of dozens of actual reporters -- to ask an inanely sympathetic question. How does something like this happen? Frustrated bloggers on the left would love to get the White House press corps -- leery, possibly lazy, but definitely not lefty -- to find out.I'm happy to see the conservatives welcoming gay prostitutes into their party. Now if only they'd be so welcoming to non-sex-worker homosexuals.
Craig weighs in today on the Gannon/Guckert nonsense, and echoes the sentiments of Andrew Sullivan. I disagree. While conservatives see the Gannon issue as nothing more than "dredging up the guy's past ... and ... not a reflection of his truthfulness in reporting", I think it has a lot to do with Gannon as an alleged "reporter". The Bush White House is extremely sensitive and tightly controls access to the president; whether by the press or public. During the campaign, Bush gave speeches only to pre-approved Republican voters. There were no hard questions asked of him. Even this month, Bush went on a tour, touting his Social Security "plan", and was surrounded by sycophants and supporters who asked such hard-hitting questions as "I'm proud to have you as a President" and "How can I help you?" The White House press corps is categorically NOT there to lob softballs at Bush or McClellan. The White House press corps is not there to cheerlead for the Administration. As a matter of fact, there should be no political bias in the White House press corps; every President and Administration should be closely scrutinized by the press corps. It is by no means easy to get White House access. Guckert's press pass application was rejected by the Congress; why was it approved for the White House? At the time Guckert first began receiving press passes, he was neither a journalist, nor did he work for a journalism outfit. He was freelancing for "GOPUSA", which is nothing more than a conservative activist website. GOPUSA later spun off "Talon News" to make the whole thing seem more...palatable. Talon News did little more than plagiarize and/or transcribe White House press releases. In order to get a press pass, the journalist and his past are scrutinized. Did Guckert undergo that same scrutiny? If so, why did the White House give a gay hooker credentials? (It's not "in his past", as Guckert claims - at least one of the hooker ads is still live). The inference one makes is that the Bush Administration wanted to reward GOPUSA/Talon News for being good Bush soldiers, so they gave Guckert credentials (not a big deal, right?), and since Guckert's questions were always, consistently Bush-friendly, they rewarded him at Bush's press conference by having Bush call on him. It. Was. Not. An. Accident. Nothing this administration does is an accident. Except for their complete bungling of post-war Iraq. Guckert wrote that Kerry would be "our first gay president." Sounds like Guckert was expounding on gay issues, to me. Finally, and most importantly, the outing of Guckert's gay hookerdom (I won't call it his "past" - in fact he's selling some of the salacious URLs as the "ones you've been reading about") has everything to do with conservative hypocrisy regarding gays. If you're conservative, it's alright to scorn gays, and to marginalize them, and to make jokes about them, and to pander to the Christian Taliban, and deny them rights that don't hurt the straight community. But when you're outed as being gay yourself, (much less a gay hooker), that renders the homophobia so expressly hypocritical and wrong, that there is no choice but to expose it. It's hypocrisy. Not prurience. It is fun, though, to watch the spectacle of Fox News and Ann Coulter defending a homosexual prostitute. But WorldNetDaily seems to get why JimJeff is a big story. From the Oregonian: