Friday, February 11, 2005


Gearing up for the Gannon fight

I wanted to highlight a few examples of some refreshing and strongly worded releases by some Democratic leaders in regards to the Gannon affair. This is becoming one of the biggest stories we are likely to see for a while, one which will be rife with partisanship, and, in that environment, it will be important that our side set the foundational story.

We'll start with New Jersey Representative, Frank Lautenberg, in a letter he sent to White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan. An excerpt:
As you may know, Mr. Guckert/Gannon was denied a Congressional press pass because he could not show that he wrote for a valid news organization. Given the fact that he was denied Congressional credentials, I seek your explanation of how Mr. Guckert/Gannon passed muster for White House press credentials.

I have led the effort in the Senate to investigate a number of instances of troubling propaganda efforts by the Administration. The Government Accountability Office has agreed to my requests to investigate various attempts at media manipulation: fake television news stories touting both the new Medicare law and the "No Child Left Behind" education program; a study rating individual journalists on their "favorability" to Republican education policies; and the payment to journalist Armstrong Williams.

Since the Armstrong Williams controversy became public, Administration payments to two other journalists, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus, have come to light. Given the backdrop of these scandals, coupled with Mr. Guckert/Gannon's role in recent White House press briefings and press conferences, it is understandable that the circumstances of Mr. Guckert/Gannon's credentialing have raised suspicion.
This is worded fairly strongly, but is respectful. There is an important point in this letter, however, in which Lautenberg immediately ties this to the Armstrong Williams situation. Lautenberg is helping to craft the story here: This isn't just a case of a pseudonymous reporter getting into the briefing room, but its connections to the larger issue of how the Republicans give, or don't give, us the information they want, or don't want, us to have.

But Lautenberg wasn't the first. Louise Slaughter of New York had this to say yesterday, marking her as the first Democrat to publicly comment on Gannon, in a letter to the President himself:
In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.

That is why I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?

Mr. President, your Administration has driven the so-called "values" debate in this country. But the most important value for those of us in public service should always be honesty and integrity, particularly when considering the manner in which we conduct our affairs of state.
Slaughter does the job of making sure the White House can't distance from this. According to Slaughter, this is on their doorstep, and she also uses her letter to tie it to Armstrong Williams.

Gannon is a huge story, and as we tie it to a troubling pattern in the West Wing, it will only get bigger. To do this, we'll need people like Slaughter and Lautenberg who are willing to step up and do the heavy lifting. If they lift hard enough, it will reach the party leadership, and once it gets there... well, at that point cable news will be interviewing G. Gordon Liddy and Vernon Jordon asking for insight about what Gannon must be feeling as a central figure in a Presidential scandal.

Was the Gannon story as big as the Jordan story?
Yea it's a huge story.... PUULLLEEEEAZE. Since when is a nom de plume against the law? Guess we better dig up Sam Clemmons aka Mark Twain and put him in irons. You better get ready because there will soon be more online media and less MSM at those press affairs then you might care to imagine. The worlds changing baby and the stranglehold the MSM has had on access to the news and newsmakers will never be the same
Dear traderrob,

You are, I'm afraid, a victim of solely reading the right side of the blogosphere.

Try checkign into the story. This is more than a nom de plume or a security problem.

But, if you don't believe it, it is no skin of my back. You'll believe it soon enough.
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