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Brit Hume covers (up?) "Jeff Gannon" scandal

Reported by Chrish - February 11, 2005

The verrrry interesting scandal surrounding "Jeff Gannon"/James Guckert was featured on Brit Hume's "flagship news show" Special Report last night, 2/10. However, it was relegated to the "all-star" panel discussion in the final ten minutes of the hour, with pundits Jeff Birnbaum, Bill Sammon, and Charles Krauthammer fielding rehearsed questions from Brit.

Brit at first characterizes the scandal surrounding the phony journalist operating under an alias in the White House briefing room, fielding softball and/or leading (and we can assume rehearsed) questions at Scott McClellan, as a "controversey" and a "dust up". He says with mock indignation that Senator Louise Slaughter of NY has called for a criminal investigation.

Comment: I despise these faux "interviews" with panelists where the anchor asks questions as though he has never heard of the details. It's disengenous and obvious it's staged.

Following are some spin tactics used in the segment:
BH: who is Jeff Gannon, what is Talon News Service, and what is this all about?
BS: His real name is James Guckert, but he changed his name to have sort of a nom de plume, I guess
BH: An honorable tradition, what about Mark Twain?
BS: There you go.

(See, everybody does it, even American icons. But I have never heard of a practicing journalist using an alias.)

BS: ..he works for an openly conservative on-line news service, owned by a Texas Republican named Bobby Eberle
BH: Is Eberle a politician, or just a, a, a,
BS: I think he's just a, a, a, Republican activist and money man. "Jeff" asked openly conservative-leaning questions. What it comes down to is this "rankled" the White House press corps because most of them are liberal and ask questions from a liberal perspective. Jeff sort of got away with it until he asked that question
BH: because Harry Reid had never talked about soup lines
BS: That's part of it, but it was clumsily worded and over the top...and the bloggers, the liberal bloggers and liberal politicians and the press and Democrats went after him."

(Does this sound familiar?? WHO's paranoid and sees conspiracies everywhere?? If what Sammons says is true, it says more about conservatives and Republicans who did not energetically try to get to the bottom of this scandal.)

BS: And they found two things on him that forced him to resign. First, that he wasn't using his real name, and second, that he had registered names of websites that appeared to be sexually explicit.
BH: Did the websites actually exist?
BS: He worked for a software company before DC, and had registered them for a client... The websites were never launched, there was no content put on them...
BH: So he wasn't a pornographer?

(Brit dispels this angle for Fox viewers who are likely to be more outraged about any link to sex than they are about the real issues, propaganda and deception.)

BS: Apparently not, but the ferocity of the attacks on him, from Democrats.com,

Brit abruptly cuts off Bill and turns to Jeff, asking "what about this business of his credentials?" Jeff talks of the standards, procedures, evolving nature of journalism (creation of blogs for all our right-wing fans), and how the technology is outpacing the protocols. What they are spinning here is the illusion that his on-lineness , if you will, and the small market he reached , was an issue – how did such a minor "journalist" get a pass?

BH: This guy didn't get a full pass, right? He just got a daily pass?
JB: Right.

(Doesn't matter – he got A pass numerous times! That's actually perhaps even more damning, that it was not a one-time error but a pattern of deception.)

What is scrupulously NOT mentioned is how in post-9/11 ANYone can get past the Secret Service without screening. (They can't.) Even if "Jeff Gannon" was a 'nom de plume' he would not have valid identification with that name on it. Obviously the White House knew he was operating under a phony name and condoned and was complicit in it.

Brit turns to Charles with What about it, Charles?
CK: There are two issues here: do you have in the White House briefing room opinionators or only reporters, and second, do you only have the mainstream media or do you also have people who write only on-line? It's simple. Of course you're going to include opinion journalists, first of all because the assumption that mainstream journalists are entirely objective is silly
BH: like Helen Thomas, she just does a column now

(Don't invoke the great Helen Thomas as an example of why pundits should be given a berth. She is the gold standard for hard-hitting journalism.)

CK: As for the on-line stuff, this "Jeff Gannon" has been attacked by people who only write on-line themselves, which is itself ironic. If the WH briefing room fills up with bloggers who write for ten readers, then it's a triage issue. Otherwise, allow the guy.

BH: OK, that's it for the panel. We'll have more on this, perhaps.

Comment: or perhaps not, right Brit? A la Fox, the issue has been given air time, distorted, diminished, and dismissed.

There is plenty of evidence of serious propagandizing by this administration, and Fox is up to their necks in it. The issues raised by this faker are not about on-line vs. paper, or a conservative questioner "to balance out' the liberals Fox sees everywhere. The Secret Service and the president's communications team had to be involved in this, and apparently Fox is leaving it up to the liberal media and bloggers to further expose the details.

Contact NY Congresswoman Louise Slaughter to support her demand for an investigation.

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