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Gannon Watch

Left-wing bloggers have gotten a bit carried away with their "victory" over Talon News reporter Jeff Gannon. More and more newspapers are picking up the story focusing on the blogger-hyped gay (or gay prostitution) angle. For example The New York Daily News:

Bush press pal quits over gay prostie link

BY HELEN KENNEDY
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White House and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution.

I don't know Jeff Gannon (real name Jim Guckert), so I don't know if he's involved in gay prostitution, but the registration of 3 domain names (none of which lead to actual content) is a pretty flimsy evidence that he's involved in gay prostitution. It's also a shitty defense against libel. The only "evidence" backing those claims are 3 domain names and a picture (in shorts) allegedly of Gucket. There is no record that the 3 domains have ever been used, so it's entirely possible their existence is proof of nothing more than a little garden variety domain speculation.

One wonders whether fascist-obsessed lefty blogger David Neiwert is going be equally critical of the bloggers in this case as he was of Wizbang for exposing Professor Hailey last year. Consistency would demand that he come down hard on his lefty brethren for libel and encourage Guckert to sue the bloggers into oblivion, as he did to us. We'll keep you posted.

On the libel watch: The aforementioned Daily New article, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Truthout.org,

If you find more sites making the gay prostitution claims leave a link..

Update: In Howard Kurtz's report on the scandal he interviews Moulitsas who admits to playing up the gay sex angle:

Markos Moulitsas, a San Francisco liberal who writes the popular Kos site, said of Gannon: "He has been extremely anti-gay in his writings. He's been a shill for the Christian right. So there's a certain level of hypocrisy there that I thought was fair game and needed to be called out."

Asked if digging into someone's personal and business activities was proper retaliation, Moulitsas said: "If that's what it took to really bring attention to him, it's one of those unfortunate facts of reality in the way we operate today. It's sex that really draws attention to these things."

Update 2: Dan Glilmor says, "The scandal is the administration's contempt for the public, and the lack of journalistic credibility this person demonstrated, not whatever he was doing on the side." but can't bring himself to mention what all the fuss is about. The fuss is that now that the media is on the story they're playing up the gay prostitution angle.

I'm not sure how the fact that the White House press office allowed a non mainstream journalist access to White House briefings is "contempt." One of the takeaways from Gannongate is that the White House has, with little fanfare, allowed journalists from outside the closed society of the White House press core access. As a promoter of open source journalism, Gillmor is missing the obvious opening for bloggers. If any Tom, Dick, or Harry can go get day passes (assuming they pass background checks) why aren't bloggers a regular feature at press briefings?

Update 3: See Fred's comment for more fun facts that dispel some of the more conspiratorial claims of the Kosites. Bill at INDCJournal looks at the serious allegations against Gannon, and finds many pretty flimsy, and Jeff Jarvis has a recap of the cable news coverage of Gannon.

Update 4: Brian Montopoli at CJR's Campaign Desk, does a good job of examining both sides of the story.


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Comments (43)

I don't think the issue any... (Below threshold)
JP:

I don't think the issue anyone has is the gay prostitution thing... but I DO think you know that and are dodging the real questions.

The real story is that Gannon is an obvious plant. Why was he denied a Congressional press pass but granted a White House pass? Why was he allowed to see internal CIA documents when he doesn't work for a legitimate news agency?

The gay themed website is hilarious though, especially for a "reporter" who writes articles like: "John Kerry Could be the First Gay President"

-JP

Please. You know what's ha... (Below threshold)
s9:

Please. You know what's happening here as well as everyone else does. Your pals in the liberal media have gotten their panties in a bunch over the beefcake jpg and the domain names, because that's the part of the story that piques their prurient interests.

Your so-called "lefty bloggers" have been straight up all along— this should be a story about, well... here's Atrios's words cut and pasted: a partisan operative with no background in journalism, whose work frequently involves passing off RNC press releases as his own stories, is allowed to be a part of White House press briefings day after day, operating under a pseudonym, providing a regular lifeline for Scott McClellan and making it difficult for other reporters to get answers to serious questions.

Oh, and he put up a shirtless pic on AOL and registered domain names promoting gay military porn and prostitution. Hoo-fscking-ray. Why are you even pretending to be surprised that your friends in the liberal media want to forget everything in the story but the gay uniform-fetish porn angle?

Wankers.

Hi Kevin, This is OT... (Below threshold)
Mirramele:


Hi Kevin, This is OT but I found
A site offering primary sources on Ward Churchill
and thought you might be interested

http://www.pirateballerina.com/index.php

It has organized and indexed by topic:

1. all the pdf files from the American Indian Movement Documents on Churchill
2. the pdf fils of academic research demonstrating academic fraud found in his research
3. very old interviews with Churchill over his battle with AIM, his claim to Indian ancestry, his road to tenure and so forth.

It's set up for easy access

Most of it cannot be found through a google search but was accumulated by a combined research effort. Anyone wishing to use the documents for further research on Mr. Churchill may help themselves.

There's so many holes in th... (Below threshold)
Fred:

There's so many holes in the lefty defense that one hardly knows where to start. Why was he denied a Capitol Hill pass but granted a WH pass? Partly it's because Congressional rules require that the publication you work for have both paid advertising and paid circulation. The "he's a GOP plant" argument is nonsense, too. He had a daily pass, issued in his real name, which gave him the right to stand in line in the hopes that he'd get in, which he sometimes (but not always) did. If I were planting a shill, I think I'd want them to be there all the time. The softball questions kept "real" journalists from asking "real" questions? Was Kos upset about Helen Thomas during the Clinton years, then? Didn't think so.

Ok, so perhaps he is someho... (Below threshold)

Ok, so perhaps he is somehow tied to gay prostitution. If it's okay for a Congressman, why's it off limits for a blogger/journalist? And why the great concern to point out that it's GAY prostitution. Sounds homophobic to me.

I guess that if that guy co... (Below threshold)
ghh:

I guess that if that guy could get a press pass, they'll be no stopping Jon Stewart from showing up at the White House and asking Jon Stewart-like questions

If my name were Guckert, I'... (Below threshold)

If my name were Guckert, I'd change it to Gannon.

Maybe I'm being unfair to the gotcha glee club, but I think the secret unsaid insinuation is not only was Guckert a plant, he's "somebody's" boyfriend - and they want to find the somebody in hopes of embarrassing the White House some more.

Boy, you guys are every bit... (Below threshold)

Boy, you guys are every bit as dim as I suspected.

There's a big difference between the case of a journalist using a pseudonym (essentially unheard of, and certainly questionable ethically) and hiding under the pretense of a nearly nonexistent news outlet to obtain a coveted White House press credential, and a professor being hounded for his legitimate academic work.

Mebbe you can figure out what it is. After all, you guys bandied the word around a lot with the Hailey case.

Guckert/Gannon used his rea... (Below threshold)

Guckert/Gannon used his real name to get cleared for the press pass, FWIW.


David,Ward Churchill... (Below threshold)
susan:

David,
Ward Churchill is a demonstrably poor professor who has been caught making up facts in his scholarly work. He also denies inconvenient history (ie Holocost). His poorly drawn conclusions deserve the derision they are now receiving.
Not sure how that relates to the Gannon issue... because he is a questionable reporter deserving of derision? They are embarrassments to their professions.

Irony of Ironies, the folks... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Irony of Ironies, the folks at AmericaBlog have been making the gay prostitution claim.

A more restrained article a... (Below threshold)
Shivas Irons:

A more restrained article about Gannon. Looks like a lawyer took a peek.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/shared/news/world/stories/0210_GANNON10.html

I honestly can say that, ... (Below threshold)

I honestly can say that, frankly, I don't really care. This is, to borrow the oft-used term, the world's biggest tempest in the world's smallest teacup.

I mean, am I really supposed to horrified and in awe that partisans ask softball questions of people on "their side"? I mean, seriously, give us a break. It's nothing new and yet its suddenly this huuuuge to-do. I just can't help but roll my eyes.

Oh, and the gay thing? Who cares. If its something he does on the side, its just something he does on the side. The speculation and posturing on that basis really shows how desperately some people are going to grasp at straws to prove a "point".

I received this today from ... (Below threshold)

I received this today from Democrats.com in my email account at home. Seems over-the-top to me.

--

Sign the petition and spread the word!
http://democrats.com/gannon

To: George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales, Congress, and the Media

We demand the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the "journalist" using the pseudonym "Jeff Gannon" (James Dale Guckert) who attended daily press briefings at the White House and was regularly called upon by Scott McClellan.

Obviously "Jeff Gannon" is not a bona fide journalist and should never have been given White House press credentials.

In 2003, top White House officials gave "Jeff Gannon" exclusive access to an internal CIA memo that named Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA agent.

It is obvious that there was a conspiracy between "Gannon," McClellan, and other top White House officials to run "smear" campaigns against White House "enemies" and to interfere with tough questions by real White House reporters. This is unacceptable in a Democracy.

In addition, "Jeff Gannon" may have dabbled in male prostitution rings (through registration of sites like Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com, and Militaryescortsm4m.com) which raises the possibility he was bringing male prostitutes into the White House or other institutions of our government.

These issues go infinitely beyond the charges involving Monica Lewinsky and therefore demand immediate investigation and prosecution.

Sign the petition and spread the word!
http://democrats.com/gannon

Why is it that the same peo... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Why is it that the same people that continually claim that homosexuals would make perfect parents and married couples and are denied their rights by prejudice against their wonderful lifestyles are offended by one possibly being a conservative and feel the need to point it out that he may be gay? Could we turn this around and say that based on the outrage exhibited by the side that claims to be ardent supporters of gay rights that gay reporters should never be allowed into the White House again? Or is this just another fine example of liberal hypocrisy? Not that there's anything wrong that....as long as a liberal does it.

Niewart:Boy, yo... (Below threshold)
Shivas Irons:

Niewart:

Boy, you guys are every bit as dim as I suspected.

There's a big difference between the case of a journalist using a pseudonym (essentially unheard of, and certainly questionable ethically) and hiding under the pretense of a nearly nonexistent news outlet to obtain a coveted White House press credential, and a professor being hounded for his legitimate academic work.

I wonder if the fellow who called you a nitwit knows that:

The National Press Club claims over 4,000 members; there are over 1,800 reporters accredited to cover the Senate and the House, and 1,600 credentialed White House reporters

The credentials may be important; but it seems like there are a heck of a lot more of them had than reporters who show up at "pressers".

And how funny is it when you hear the MSM talk about whether a journalist is "legitimate" or not. After growing up on LA Times and SF Chronicle while viewing the "nets" I am so thrilled with the blogs.

Beware the Pajamhadeen. TvG San Clemente, CA

I am uncertain what the big... (Below threshold)
John Anderson:

I am uncertain what the big deal here is. The guy is/was one of a number of people with "day pass" credentials (NOT press credentials, but passes for anyone connected with a "periodic publication" - including startups with plans but no track record) who are with "publications" I doubt any of us ever heard of. He was called on at press conferences because it is nice to know at least one person in the room just wants a lock of hair, not the whole scalp.

So: he got the pass for being with a "publication," he was more sympathetic to Pres. Bush than the MSM, and he may be gay. As the song asks, "Is that all there is?"

John Anderson writes... (Below threshold)
s9:

John Anderson writes: The guy is/was one of a number of people with "day pass" credentials (NOT press credentials [...]

Apparently, the rumor is going around the White House press corps that Guckert was seen sporting a "hard pass" at one point. Senator Lautenberg wants Scott McClellan to explain.

In the meantime, it might be wise not to hang too much on the idea that Guckert was only there on day passes. And besides, even if Guckert never had a hard pass, you have to admit that the false identity and the obvious lack of any financial independence of TalonNews.Com should have thrown red flags all over the place— and they would have, if this had been Russell Mobhiker or somebody like that.

Pretty hard to explain all that away without resorting to an "It's Okay If You're A Republican" defense.

Helen Thomas... (Below threshold)
Shivas Irons:

Helen Thomas

GANNON!!!!! <br /... (Below threshold)
RayMidge:

GANNON!!!!!


GANNON!!!!!


THE BASTARDS GOT JEFF?!?!!!?


HEY EVERYONE THEY GOT GANNON!!!!

Okay, keep calm. Well need water and generators. Bring batteries too...they're good. Don't bring anything from the fridge, it'll just go bad within the first week. We'll have to set up some sort of new system... Things are going to be different at fight, at least our scientists tell us it's safe to..... (Voice trails off as heads out toward the cellar for supplies. Rusting noises heard there.)

Susan:Neiwart is ref... (Below threshold)
julie:

Susan:
Neiwart is referring to an entirely different demonstrably poor professor who was caught making up facts in his scholarly work. :-)

As I watched Aaron Brown gl... (Below threshold)
HoustonNole:

As I watched Aaron Brown gloating about this last night on CNN (was that Moultisas on with him?), I thought of Easongate and said to my wife, "Their house is burning down around them, and they don't even know it."

What about those site names... (Below threshold)

What about those site names make them "gay prostitution?" THey sound like escort services for women to me. (yes, I know, pprobably paid) but what makes them gay? Since there was no content they are just going on the names, right? Someone explain that to me.

rightwingsparkle: the spell... (Below threshold)
-S-:

rightwingsparkle: the spelling of a few of those site domains is gay male nomenclature...as in, for example, "m4m" means "men for men" and, actually, the stupid "MSM" thing that many people have taken to use to represent (inaccurately) "mainstream media" (which should be MM, not MSM), anyway, "MSM" means to many on the internet, in classifieds and such, "Men who have sex with other men," as in, again, "MSM" ("Male+Sex+Male").

I learned that by asking recently, after reading it often in a few people's blogs and comments and such, after reading many people start using "MSM" to inaccurately refer to "mainstream media" -- people really should just write, "MM" or something to be clear.

BUT, about those few (I thi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

BUT, about those few (I think there are three or something) domains that Gannon is supposed to have registered, they weren't put into site use, just registered domain names, and, they could have been registered by someone else for other purposes, or even by Gannon for other purposes.

Sometimes you register alternate domain spellings of a domain to avoid someone else parodying a website or domain. If you buy up questionable alternative domain names, it prevents maligners from obtaining them.

Hmmmm.I think it's... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I think it's fair to say that this is going to blow up in a lot of people's faces. Much of the stuff I've read is really libeleous. You think there's a gnashing of teeth, wait until this guy hires a lawyer.

But frankly what amazes me more than anything else is just how completely uninformed so many liberals are. Do they just read Kos or Atrios and nothing else? Seriously. Doesn't the fact that many people write under different names, *cough* KOS *cough*, make this a complete non-starter? Doesn't the fact that this guy had his press pass in his own real name pretty much debunk the whole "scandal"?

Personally I'm going to sit back and just wait. When this guy hammers down the lawsuits, we're going to see some blogs go out of business.

Oh btw. Anyone know where I can contribute to the "Guckert Bitch-Slaps Daily Kos with a lawsuit Fund"? I've got $100 to contribute. Hell the entertainment value alone is worth the price.

I guess that's why I couldn... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I guess that's why I couldn't get a domain named BERD or BURD to sell the art forgeries I've been working so hard on.

Thanks for the explanation ... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the explanation -S-!!

ed,Heh, don't let ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

ed,

Heh, don't let Arne Langsetmo (see Sledgehammer/Gannon/libel) read your post. Your eyes may very well roll out of their sockets, get typist's cramp, and suffer a splitting headache.

- If [this] was designed to... (Below threshold)

- If [this] was designed to take the enjoyment out of watching the DNC elect its next disaster as chair it isn't working..... BWAHAHAHAHAHA

- and S.... I take great umbrage at being called stupid for using the acronym "MSM"...but in deference to your sensitivities from now on I'll use "ULWLLMM"....(UltraLeftWingLyingLiberalMainstreamMedia).... better?.....


Sorry, BigBangHunter, it wa... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Sorry, BigBangHunter, it wasn't personal...I should relate my experience here so's to provide a tad more insight:

I was reading "MSM" written in so many comments on the internet and didn't understand what that was in representation of or referral to, so I Google'd it and also asked someone whose website I read using it what it was intended to represent.

Only the person I asked wasn't a conservative but a very, very arch-liberal internet chatter, it turned out, who was "lively" (to put it mildly) in many, um, overtly social practices. SHE was using "MSM" in reference to a friend of hers in a sexual capacity (referring to him as someone who was intimate with other men) as were also people on SLATE's comments section, where I first started seeing the acronym.

Anyway, so then I was perplexed after reading that explanation about the acronym, that context, was perplexed when I saw the acronym so often in comments by conservatives...I mean, it was confusing so I THEN asked on my own website a conservative contributor whattheheck they meant by referring to "MSM" and that guy explained that it represented "Mainstream Media," although he recognized that it should be, actually, "MM" because "Mainstream" was one word, not two (and, thus, the acronym of "MSM" for "Mainstream Media" is misleading, particularly given that the "MSM" thing is used by many as to a sexual reference elsewhere).

Anyway, that's the story. I don't know where or why the "MSM" got started among conservatives to indicate "Mainstream Media" but it sure seems to me to be a strange conflaguration of definitions.

I don't think you are stupid, nor anyone who uses the acronym, however inaccurately. It's just one of those things, but it might be a good time for everyone to stop using the wrong acronym ("MSM" for "Mainstream Media") and start using the correct acronym for that term, "MM" or similiar.

After that explanation of M... (Below threshold)
michael dennis:

After that explanation of MSM it seems even more acurate to describe mainstream media as MSM.

RE: pseudonyms
I think if I was exposing myself to the lefts attack dogs like "gannon" did, I would have chosen a pseudonym as well.

If he got his day passes in... (Below threshold)
nwgal:

If he got his day passes in his real name, then how come there are transcripts from several gaggles that have Scott McClellan calling on him using his assumed name? Wouldn't that be an unusual accommodation for someone who has been painted as casually attending the gaggles? Also, I've read or heard several accounts by several journalists who have decades of experience with mainstream news organizations who were not able to obtain press passes. So, the assumptions that are being made here about how easy it is to obtain a day pass doesn't seem to square with the reports from real journalists who have actually tried.

Oh yeah, and about that gay... (Below threshold)
nwgal:

Oh yeah, and about that gay thing. Can any of you actually point to a liberal website that criticizes Gannon for possibly being gay? In exchange, I'd be happy to point you to several liberal websites that criticize Gannon for the hypocrisy involved in writing commentaries extremely critical of gays while being associated with domain names that advertise gay escort services. I know it's easier to win an argument when you distort the other side's argument; but I thought that it might be useful for you to know what the other side is actually saying.

Hmmmm.I... (Below threshold)

Hmmmm.

I think it's fair to say that this is going to blow up in a lot of people's faces. Much of the stuff I've read is really libeleous. You think there's a gnashing of teeth, wait until this guy hires a lawyer.

But frankly what amazes me more than anything else is just how completely uninformed so many liberals are. Do they just read Kos or Atrios and nothing else? Seriously. Doesn't the fact that many people write under different names, *cough* KOS *cough*, make this a complete non-starter? Doesn't the fact that this guy had his press pass in his own real name pretty much debunk the whole "scandal"?

Personally I'm going to sit back and just wait. When this guy hammers down the lawsuits, we're going to see some blogs go out of business.

Oh btw. Anyone know where I can contribute to the "Guckert Bitch-Slaps Daily Kos with a lawsuit Fund"? I've got $100 to contribute. Hell the entertainment value alone is worth the price.
Posted by: ed at February 11, 2005 02:33 PM

Excellent political forecasting there, Ed.

Prostitute in white house<b... (Below threshold)
economics 101:

Prostitute in white house
Prostitute has gay military web sites
Prostitute has press credentials
Prostitute askes "tough" questions
Prostitute verbally rams gays any chance he gets
Prostitute may have outed CIA agent

Trying to make it real s-i-m-p-l-e for you guys.

More to come, but in the mean time there is a bright shiney object over here - look over here - not there - over here

WE MUST start a special inv... (Below threshold)
john turner:

WE MUST start a special investigation and find out how the Secrete Service allowed Jeff Gannon to gain access to the press core.
This is a time of war and such failure endangers the life and credibility of our president and our nation morality. This is unacceptable let alone unbelievable. What is wrong with this country? Is this really the kind of people, and the level of their morality, controlling this Nation? Are you all this way? How much more hypercritic and disgraceful can you get: Or can we get?

I just have to say that aft... (Below threshold)
Jones:

I just have to say that after hearing of this "controversy" from a friend, I have to say I'm sickened by our Republican leaders in Washington. I voted to protect the sanctity of our American way of life and family values while all along a gay man was supposedly invited to the white house to report for the people. Obviously this man does not speak for me or anyone I know, and as such, I find it a reprehensible move on our government's part. Perhaps a comment by Dubya or his staff about this would be acceptable (apology?). Thank you. I love you site!

no different than the swift... (Below threshold)
morg:

no different than the swift liars and endless rants about memogate

As a God fearing Christian ... (Below threshold)
carlie:

As a God fearing Christian I will not support this Jeff Gannon/JD Guckert mess. This is outrageous and I for one want a clear and honest answer for our Republican leaders. This man says he taught in our schools and likes to wrestle? With who? Where has he taught and who there did he wrestle with? Litle boys or girls? I'm really dissapointed in this WH. Especially after the "smut" of the previous administration. I'm waiting to hear the other side of this.

I've seen the sites where t... (Below threshold)
C.Mann:

I've seen the sites where this great GOP supporter has posted [still!] numerous explicit, naked photos along with listing his charges of $1200/weekend or $200/hour for his services.

He's a prostitute. Period. And he is a prostitute not only for himself but for Talon and the GOP.

Had this happened during a Democratic administration's leadership there would already be a Kenneth Starr type hard at work.

I hope all the zealous right-wingers are as shocked as the rest of the nation.

There is no way a thinking, ethical person can condone what has happened with this man and his access to the powers that be.

Regards from fly-over country

Payback's a bitch! I seem t... (Below threshold)
Kirk Smith:

Payback's a bitch! I seem to find some level of pleasure in this little scandal. As a conservative (libertarian), long purged from the Republican "tent"; it finally seems bush and pals are finally getting a taste of their own medicine.

"Liars don't fear the truth as long as there's plenty more liars to cover up for them".

Well, it's been almost a ye... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Well, it's been almost a year since this story broke. The White House and its news machine of Fox, Newsmax, "conservative" newspapers and talk radio observed the "90-day rule" of circling the wagons and not acknowledging the story for 90 days. It did go away, but it took awhile.

It turned out Gannon/Guckert WAS most certainly involved in gay prostitution as evidenced by Americablog. Daily Kos detailed most of Guckert's life except for the one year period from late 2001-2002 where he went from being office manager at an auto body shop in West Chester, PA to vanishing for a year before turning up in the White House Press Corps under the name "Jeff Gannon". Most of the mainstream media gave the President a pass on the story and the last national mention of it was the Vanity Fair article in May of 2005. A Democratic call for an investigation was not even allowed to come to a vote by the GOP leadership.

But in its own way this story became a rallying cry for those who don't like the President. Talon News has never started up again, and Gannon/Guckert himself can only post on his blog where the main source of comments are people ridiculing him. This issue is still THE trump card to pull out when arguing with a Bush Supporter on or offline and if you want your IP address to get a permanent ban from a right wing website bring up the White House gay hooker.

Most importantly, this was the first stumbling block in what turned out to be a bad year for President Bush at a time when Bush seemed unstoppable. It almost singehandedly showed the left (or at least anti-Bush folks) had some power with blogs. And now the "i" word, impeachment, is being bandied about, something unthinkable a year ago.




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