Ideally, it should be conspicuous enough to prompt a memorable response, or at least to make a point in itself. And it had to call attention to Jeff Gannon. In a fit of patriotic fervor shortly after September 11, , he moved to Washington, D. All these talking heads on television during the presidential campaign were no better or more knowledgeable than he.
The rolled eyeballs and gasps and groans—he took them all as compliments. On that January morning, Gannon learned he was to get a bonus: Gannon walked Winston, his year-old Jack Russell terrier, then jumped into a cab and barreled over to the White House. Only once thus far had he gotten to ask Bush a question and then only by shouting it out in the Rose Garden. Some reporters went years without such a chance. The president testily conceded the arrangement with Williams had been a mistake, then uttered some boilerplate about the indispensability of an independent press, then urged reporters to view his policies objectively.
Then he pointed to the beefy man with the shaved head in the fourth row. Gannon thanked him, then jumped into his question. In fact, he even ad-libbed a bit, interpolating a line Rush Limbaugh had used on his radio program the previous day, attributing to the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, of Nevada, something that Reid had never actually said. Gesturing casually, Gannon seemed as if he were chatting up an old friend, someone with whom he was cozy enough even to share enemies.
And all before a national audience. For a couple of hours, Gannon was thrilled, particularly after the supremely narcissistic Limbaugh praised the question on the air.
In and of itself, that made it a grand day for the Jeff Gannon brand. But the tide soon turned.
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Indeed, with that single question, something on the American left seemed to snap. And the vitriol soon engulfed Jeff Gannon. Initially, Gannon was charged only with being a hack—a fake reporter with a fake name and nonexistent credentials who had gotten into the White House under false pretenses and who slavishly reprinted Bush-administration press re- leases in his articles. Gannon was inundated with hateful, often homophobic e-mail.
His mother and brother, he says, were threatened. On the air, in print, even in Doonesbury, he became a punching bag and punch line. The right-wing network that had given Gannon an online radio program pulled the plug. So too did entities such as the Drudge Report and the Christian Right that would have pounced on the scandal in a different administration.ufn-web.com/wp-includes/1/pirater-un-tel-par-sms.php
Male escort James Guckert had gay sex in the White House?
And through his past behavior, public statements, petty deceptions, and all-around sense of mystery, Gannon all but goaded them on. Why would a grown man suddenly change his name? How, in middle age, had he suddenly become a reporter, and with White House access to boot? And why is he so vague as to how he got that access?
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Gannon, who is philosophically opposed to bankruptcy, says he is continuing to pay off his debts. How could someone so self-assured, so confident, so articulate have so little to show for his life unless he was really doing something else or was someone else? I have such a short attention span. I just like to move on, move on, move on. The deeper the bloggers dug, though, the shallower Gannon seemed to become; the more they tried to build him up, the more he seemed to shrink.
He gained access to the White House under the name Guckert, not Gannon, scotching any ideas of deception. For all his purported inside ties, he broke almost no stories. Gannon did not obtain a secret memo in the case of Valerie Plame, the C. He did not have advance word of the American bombing of Iraq. He scarcely knew Ari Fleischer and, apart from sending Scott McClellan a card when he got married, had little personal contact with him. True, by publishing a series of scorching articles with a scoop or two, he played a perplexing and arguably important role in the defeat last year of Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, of South Dakota.
But, from the standpoint of Washington, D. The New York Times Magazine did a question-and-answer with him. Gannon talks of writing a tell-all book, and suggests he has good gossip on important Washington, D. He was subsequently scratched, which is too bad, because he had his material at the ready: Security personnel at the club checked audience members on their way in, less for guns and knives than for lemon meringue pies. The charge that he is a fake is what stings Gannon most.
He has noted, proudly, that he has written more than articles for Talon News, and insists he was no more political than the left-wingers in the media mainstream. Nor did any revelations about his past or the reaction to his incendiary question change anything. Never, he maintains, has he written anything anti-gay himself, though his gay critics say his animus is more subtle than that—a matter of his choice of words and the disproportionate weight he gives to right-wing anti-gay voices.
Male Location: PlutonianEmpire , Apr 29, Congressman from Massachusetts. His "distinguished record" consists mostly of fixing his loverboy's parking tickets and dealing in the sex trades.
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Frank Lautenberg, D-N. Given the fact that he was denied Congressional credentials, I seek your explanation of how Mr.
On Monday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer noted, "This issue is important from an ethical as well as from a national security standpoint. It is hard to understand why a man with little real journalism experience was given a White House press corps credential. The gay escort angle may also force Guckert's conservative defenders to rethink their position. Writing last week for Men's News Daily, a conservative site often aligned with Talon, columnist Sher Zieve insisted, "My, most reliable, source advises that The site domain names were registered, by Jeff, for a client or clients.
The same source advises that these sites were never brought on-line, for said clients. Writing for the right-wing media advocacy group, Accuracy in Media, Cliff Kincaid dismissed the controversy as "laughable," insisting Guckert's only "crimes" were "that he was too pro-Republican, attended White House briefings, and asked questions unfair to Democrats. Whether news that Guckert was able to go from posting his gay male escort services online to being ushered into the White House under a phony name on behalf of a fake news organization -- and was never asked to pass an FBI background check -- constitutes a real "story" among the Republican Party faithful, or the mainstream press corps, remains to be seen.
Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush. Buy Now, Pay Later. Already a Subscriber? Log In Here. Please sign in with Facebook or Google below: If you have an older Salon account, please enter your username and password below: Log Out. Trending Articles.