Hey, while I'm inaugurating this new feature, why not go back to the granddaddy of this blog, the first post I ever wrote (on another blog). Jeff Gannon (aka James Guckert) was a male hooker (shades of the rentboy story that is so hot this week) who had regular visits to the press room at the White House. How could this story have percolated below the surface, and never really have broken through? Can you imagine if a hooker with a nebulous past--male or female--had a regular presence in the Obama White House? Really? And this is another one from the vaults that never had any kind of satisfactory resolution.
Photos from AmericaBlogGannongate
ORIGINAL POST (June 4, 2007)
ORIGINAL POST (June 4, 2007)
If you keep up with the so-called "liberal blogs," then you've probably heard a bit about the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert story. If you only follow the MSM, you've only heard skewed stories focusing on the wrong aspects of the story--if you've heard anything about it at all.
On various programs on MSNBC and CNN, the story has focused on the "blogger" aspect of the story. It depicts the story as something of a liberal witch hunt on a poor, unsuspecting gay journalist. A gay, conservative journalist. Reality is much different.
Jeff Gannon, AKA James Guckert, was a "White House Correspondent" for an organization called Talon News. He obtained daily press passes to White House press conferences for around two years. He got daily passes because he was unable to get the usual hard passes. Why? Maybe because the organization he worked for wasn't legitimate. Maybe because it wasn't even in existence before he got his first pass. No, the real organization he worked for was GOPUSA, an unabashedly partisan web site. Talon News was created later, apparently to provide him with a less obviously partisan "publication."
Gannon/Guckert was called upon by both the White House Press Secretary and President Bush many times during his visits. He was able to ask nakedly partisan questions, seemingly when questions from other reporters started treading into murky waters. He seems to have been the "go to guy" when they needed to get on firmer ground. These questions have been termed "softball" by many, but I think they'd be more accurately termed "T-ball questions." They were loaded statements, more than questions, set up for either the Press Secretary or President to easily knock them out of the park.
It has come to light, largely due to Americablog and DailyKos that Mr. Gannon/Guckert was also (concurrently, or in the immediate past) a male prostitute. He offered his services on many web sites (some which he owned) at $200 per hour or $1200 for a weekend. He apparently had no journalistic credentials (save for a two hour course), and no resume of note to allow him to claim with any credibility that he was a journalist.
When all of this came to light, there were three notable reactions from the right. The first is a deafening silence. Websites like the Drudge Report, Newsmax and Free Republic have barely commented on the story at all. This seems odd given the outrage over every little tidbit that suits conservatives. When it has been addressed, the "Freepers" responded with big "yawns," and declared it wasn't even a story. Others, like Ann Coulter, tried to refocus the story, claiming that "liberal bloggers" were out to get a gay guy. Rather than responding to the other aspects of the story, Coulter and others are trying to paint liberals as hypocritical for attacking Gannon for being gay. Aren't liberals supposed to like gay people?
NEWSFLASH: It has not been ascertained if Jeff/James is gay. But it is rather obvious that he's a hooker! With no journalistic credentials! In the White House! DAILY for YEARS!
Now, either the White House had no idea of his background--which indicates a huge security breach. OR, the White House DID know of his background--which indicates that somebody, somewhere in the White House was helping this guy. Why? Were they being blackmailed? I think it is a legitimate story. I think that if this happened during the Clinton administration (or a hypothetical Gore or Kerry administration), the mainstream press would be having a field day. So would the conservative blogs. It would make the "soiled blue dress" look like a non-event. What do you think?