Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Ben Wikler

[Media Matters ( )is watching this--check back with them as it unfolds.]

Remember Jeff Gannon? He’s the guy who somehow landed a White House press credential in order to provide content for At White House press conferences, he would ask questions like:

Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there’s no crisis there. How are you going to work—you’ve said you are going to reach out to these people—how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality? which Rush Limbaugh responded, on January 26,

Uh, Harry Reid never said “soup lines.” That’s my term for the simple way to characterize the Democrats’ view of America or vision of America. They look out there and they see 1930s soup lines all over the place, but Dusty Harry never actually said that yesterday, but the reporter attributed it to him รข€“ And I’m not angry about this at all, folks! I’m flattered and honored and proud to have a point made by this program represented in the press conference today and asked by a reporter.

So, Rush made up the “soup lines” thing, and Gannon picked it up.

(Rush, typically, looped back on himself and started attacking the mainstream press for noting that Gannon’s quotes weren’t real. From February 4:

The Boston Globe and others in the mainstream press--upset that Jeff Gannon is on-site and present at White House press conferences where he dared to ask questions accurately quoting Senate Democrat leaders. That is considered an attack by the left when you accurately quote Democrats. That’s an attack.


Anyway, Gannon has imploded. Here’s the story, from

Gannon Quits After Blogger Inquiry

The Talon News correspondent at the center of a scandal over his White House press credentials quit last night amid a growing online investigation into his history, including allegations of involvement with several websites appearing to support gay pornography and promote male prostitution.

A Right Show of Gratitude
Jeff Gannon (a pseudonym) announced last night via his personal website that he had found it "no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life."

It's this "private life" that may have precipitated Gannon's departure. In the last week, Investigative bloggers at World O'Crap, Daily Kos and Eschaton have dug up evidence that implicates Gannon as the owner of web domains,, and, which are registered under the same owner as Gannon's home page Two of the three web addresses are no longer active. The third,, requires registration before viewing the content. It now appears that the person registered as the individual owner of these domains, James "JD" Guckert, is in fact Gannon, according to investigative bloggers at Eschaton and elsewhere.

One hour prior to his resignation, MediaCitizen sent an interview request to the now former correspondent. As part of the request, I outlined a series of questions regarding Gannon's background in journalism, his relationship to members of the White House staff, to Talon News' parent company GOPUSA, as well as to the Wilmington company, Bedrock Corporation, which is the registered owner of the websites in question. Gannon resigned within an hour of receiving these questions. This was MediaCitizen's second request for an interview as a follow up to an earlier report.

Gannon's decision to leave Talon News may be related to the news site's frequent homophobic stance on issues pertaining to gay rights, marriage and adoption. A recently discovered photo, allegedly depicting the former correspondent, suggests a potential conflict between his lifestyle and the beliefs shared by his colleagues at the conservative news site. For their part, Talon News removed Gannon's bio from their website at the beginning of this controversy, nearly two weeks ago. Here's the cached bio. While blog investigators at Daily Kos claim that the image in question depicts Gannon, this has yet to be confirmed.

We needn't take the issue of Gannon's lifestyle any further. This is not a story about sexual orientation but about the viability of our Fourth Estate in the face of increasing efforts to disguise propaganda as straight news. By acting as a White House shill -- lobbing softball questions to Press Secretary McLellan and President Bush and posting, wholesale, administration press releases as "news" -- Gannon rightly came under harsh scrutiny. You can view Gannon in action via this link on CSPAN.

His decision to leave Talon News was his own, but it was aided along by a well mobilized blogosphere, intent on shedding more light on this man's duplicitous role as a White House "correspondent."