Thursday :: Feb 17, 2005

Maureen Dowd And Sidney Blumenthal Zero In On the Gannon/Guckert Story


by Steve

Maureen Dowd nails the Bush White House over the Gannon/Guckert fiasco in Thursday’s NYT:

It's hard to believe the White House could hit rock bottom on credibility again, but it has, in a bizarre maelstrom that plays like a dark comedy. How does it credential a man with a double life and a secret past?
"Jeff Gannon" was waved into the press room nearly every day for two years as the conservative correspondent for two political Web sites operated by a wealthy Texas Republican. Scott McClellan often called on the pseudoreporter for softball questions.
I'm still mystified by this story. I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the "Barberini Faun" is credentialed to cover a White House that won a second term by mining homophobia and preaching family values.
In an era when security concerns are paramount, what kind of Secret Service background check did James Guckert get so he could saunter into the West Wing every day under an assumed name while he was doing full-frontal advertising for stud services for $1,200 a weekend? He used a driver's license that said James Guckert to get into the White House, then, once inside, switched to his alter ego, asking questions as Jeff Gannon.
Does the Bush team love everything military so much that even a military-stud Web site is a recommendation?

And Sidney Blumenthal of the Guardian has his take on this as well:

His real name, it turned out, is James Dale Guckert. He has no journalistic background whatsoever. His application for a press credential to cover the Congress was rejected. But at the White House the press office arranged for him to be given a new pass every single day, a deliberate evasion of the regular credentialing that requires an FBI security check. It was soon revealed. "Gannon" owned and advertised his services as a gay escort on more than half a dozen websites with names like Militarystud.com, MaleCorps.com, WorkingBoys.net and MeetLocalMen.com, which featured dozens of photographs of "Gannon" in dramatic naked poses. One of the sites was still active this week.
Thus a phony journalist, planted by a Republican organisation, used by the White House press secretary to interrupt questions from the press corps, protected from FBI vetting by the press office, disseminating smears about its critics and opponents, some of them gay-baiting, was unmasked not only as a hireling and fraud but as a gay prostitute, with enormous potential for blackmail.
I don’t think this story is going away any time soon.
Steve :: 12:08 AM :: Comments (22) :: Digg It!