The GOP And Media's Double Standard On The Jeff Gannon Fiasco
I’ve been relatively silent on the Jeff Gannon/Guckert story and what it says about the White House, primarily because there are others who are following this story more closely and with greater knowledge and time than I have to stay current with it. Also, our editor Marie here at the Left Coaster and at other sites where she contributes is working this story and may be posting on it in the coming days. But I want to bring your attention to several posts of late and add some of my own comments.
First, Jeff Gannon was an accepted and mainstream member of the right wing media machine. He was a good acquaintence and source for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He appears to have been given a regular press pass by the White House communications office after he failed to pass a background check for a similar press credential for Capitol Hill. And it appears that he was used to go after Ambassador Joe Wilson and destroy the career of his wife Valerie Plame.
Oh, and he is a male prostitute, who lied to the Post and CNN. Yet the moment the left-wing blogosphere confirmed that Gannon was a male prostitute, the right wing media, aided by their friends like Howie Kurtz and Wolf Blitzer, as well as the cable chatfests turned this story into a liberal witch hunt against gays.
The security questions and the revelations about Gannon’s real life are not separable facts. There is a legitimate series of questions that the White House is accountable for on how a male prostitute posing as a right wing reporter managed to gain access to Scott McClellan and George W. Bush daily, on Air Force One, and apparently down in Crawford, when he was not cleared to have ongoing access to members of Congress. So yes, the security issue is relevant for accountability here, no matter how much the White House is stonewalling now. Why was Gannon given special access?
It is also a legitimate story why the mainstream allegedly liberal media is burying this story as soon as the revelations about Gannon’s second career surfaced. As Joe Conason and Digby point out (here and here), this same media and the same GOP that had no problems going on hyper-drive for months when they had Bill Clinton in their sights. John Aravosis points out the hypocrisy far better than I ever could.
So, yes, for a moral values administration that has pandered to red state voters' fear of gays, and claims a moral and patriotic superiority over their opponents, it is quite right for Democrats to make the Administration answer these questions and be held accountable. But this effort should focus not only on the security questions and the Plame matter, but also on the contradictions inherent in allowing a fake reporter and gay prostitute to have access to the White House and this moral values president while doing hatchetwork for Karl Rove, wherein he questioned the character of John Kerry.
And the Democrats should have the guts to ask the media over and over again why they are giving this White House a pass that they never gave the last one.