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The Phony Newsman or, A Defense of the Family Name

Reported by Marie Therese - February 10, 2005

Newshounds Editorial

According to Daily Kos ('Jeff Gannon' and L'Affaire Plame: Summary of CIA Leak), a man named James Guckert has been masquerading as a reporter named "Jeff Gannon" and, using this pseudonym, obtained press credentials as a reporter for the Talon News Service, which is apparently a GOP shill. As such, he became a regular participant in White House press conferences. However, my beef with Mr. Guckert is not entirely political - it's personal. You see, I was born with the surname Gannon. I have two brothers, two elderly aunts and a whole lot of relatives - most of whom are Republicans - who are not going to be happy seeing images of a half-naked man in a provocative pose with name "Gannon" splashed across the screen.

Why did Mr, Guckert pick the name "Gannon." a choice which promises now to drag my family's surname through the mud?

As for real Gannons, we all know about Raiders QB Rich Gannon. Old-line New York Catholics might still remember Rev. Robert I. Gannon, S.J., President of Fordham University from 1936-1949. Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, highly ranked in the annual U.S News and World Report college issue, was founded by Bishop John Mark Gannon in the 1940's. Then there are the thousands of hard-working, honorable Gannons across the United States who deserve better than to have their name co-opted by a liar!

There are also celluloid Gannons. Harry Morgan's "Officer Bill Gannon" in the old "Dragnet " TV series (and the hilarious Ackroyd-Hanks movie) and Clark Gable's irascible reporter "Jim Gannon" opposite Doris Day in "Teacher's Pet." As far as I'm concerned, these Gannons - real or not - have more integrity than James Guckert, a "fake" Gannon and, if Daily Kos' research is correct, a shady, seedy and possible criminal individual.

What you may not know is that there is another Gannon out there, closely related to the Bush administration - Gannon International. For months - because of the surname connection - I've been trying to find out which "Gannon" started this company, but to no avail. For the life of me I can't find a single reference in the company history or on the internet to a founding father (or mother) named "Gannon." (If any of our readers know of one, please send me a gmail. I'd love to know.)

Gannon International was, however, involved with the Smear Boat Vets for Lies and Distortion. Joe Conason of Salon.com has reported that William Franke, Lewis Waterman and Stephen Hayes of Gannon International were instrumental in the funding of the SBVT campaign against Kerry. For more on this go to Who's Really Behind SBV - A Group That Calls Itself "Non-Partisan"?.

As for Guckert/Gannon, here's a sample of what he did for the White House. This press conference took place on February 2, 2004 and was reprinted on Free Republic's website:

FREE REPUBLIC: This was the exchange at today's White House press briefing, much of which focused on George W. Bush's service records with the National Guard.

JEFF GANNON (Talon News): "Since there have been so many questions about what the President was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard?"

"Did he make speeches alongside Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam?"

"Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam?"

"And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting?"

"What was he doing after he was honorably discharged?"

MR. McCLELLAN: "We've already commented on some of his views relating back to that period the other day. And, obviously, this was a time period also when he was going to get his MBA at Harvard. But the President was certainly proud to serve in the National Guard. "

TERRY MORAN (ABC NEWS): "And would the White House consider those actions by Senator Kerry, that Jeff mentions fair game in the political season? "

MR. McCLELLAN: "Terry, I think -- I know that that's a way to try to draw us into a Democratic primary that is ongoing." [End excerpt.]

Mr. Guckert, who now says he's a "born again Christian" may have had a secret (gay?) life as well. I wonder how my aunts - both devout Catholics, one a retired nun - will react when smut with a Gannon tagline hits the media fan. When I last visited them, they proudly told me that one of my cousins (whom I''ve never met) works for the War College. I wonder how he's going to feel when he sees this sleaze.

An hour ago, our local CBS affiliate broadcast a story about Guckert/Gannon. So I turned to FOX to see how they were handling it. So far, nothing!

I have this image of a cavernous room, straight out of the 1960s, with TVs and computers humming away while the FOX News bigwigs frantically confer via videophone with Karl Rove, desperately trying to figure out how to put the best spin on what promises to be a real walk through the cow-pies for the Bush administration.

Whatever they do, it better not besmirch my family name any more than Mr. Guckert already has.

That might just get my Irish up.


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