Gannongate Update

So where’s the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert story at these days? [Note: The pseudonym Gannon will be used for the rest of the article]

Even as the blogs investigating this story have continued to play the gay sex/escort/prostitution angle for all it’s worth, focusing on the the ancillary allegations shows how marginal the story actually is.

Allegation – Jeff Gannon received a special permanent White House press “hard pass.”

Fact – The bloggers who made that allegation have now retracted it. It appears that Gannon received day passes under his real name just as he has previously indicated.

Allegation – The White House should not have credentialed Gannon because he was a conservative shill not a real reporter.

Fact – Ari Fleischer, in an interview with Editor &Publisher, notes, “It is a slippery slope for any press secretary in any administration to pick and choose who gets a credential based on ideology, so long as they are a legitimate reporter.” A debate on the merits of Gannon’s journalistic credentials is beyond the scope of this post, but he certainly wrote and published stories at an online news organization, regardless of ones opinion of the relative quality of Talon News.

Allegation – The White House should have know about Gannon’s sexual history and barred him from the White House.

Fact – Ari Fleischer, in an interview with Editor &Publisher, notes, “The last thing our nation needs is for anyone in the White House to concern themselves with the private lives of reporters. What right does the White House have to decide who gets to be a reporter based on private lives?”

Allegation – Gannon had full access to the White House and was running around unchecked in the White House for years.

Fact – To make it scarier the blogs perpetrating this angle of the story need to mention the sexual angle, but on its face it’s a ridiculous claim. Regardless of how you try to spin it a day pass to the White House press briefings is not an all access pass. I don’t know it for sure, but they probably hustle you right out of there when the events of the day are over.

Allegation – Gannon got a press pass while others were rejected.

Fact – Gannon was denied the only passes that matter in this story – the Capital Hill pass issued by the Standing Committee of Correspondents and the White House hard pass, which allows ongoing access to the White House press briefings. The White House hard pass requires a pass first be issued by the Standing Committee of Correspondents. Gannon was left to apply for the only other type of pass available, the daily pass. The daily pass, like its name implies, is good for one day only and by all indications does not have the same restrictions as to who may receive a pass as the the others do. While goofy Maureen Dowd complains that her pass was rejected, she most certainly was writing about a hard pass or a Standing Committee pass, which Gannon too was denied. If Dowd really wanted to cover the White House she could have stood in line for day passes too…

Allegation – Gannon attended a press briefing before Talon News was founded.

Fact – This appears to be true. Gannon appears to have attended a press briefing under the auspices of GOPUSA. From Ari Fleisher’s interview it’s not hard to imagine that Talon News was created to insulate the press coverage that GOPUSA decided it wanted to do from it’s organization. This likely occurred in response to questions from Fleisher about whether GOPUSA was a party organization.

Allegation – Gannon received the Valeria Plame memo and was subpoenaed by the special prosecutor in the Plame case.

Fact – Highly unlikely. Tom McGuire and The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin debunk that myth pretty convincingly.

Allegation – Gannon asked softball questions.

Fact – True. This is the essence of the Gannongate story. Gannon was “outed” (not sexually) by mainstream media types with the help of David Brock’s Media Matters For America. The reporters got their wish when Gannon quit. The bloggers continuing to pursue the story only “succeed” is they can claim a scalp besides Gannon’s, which is why they continue to search for new angles to implicated ANYONE else…

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