FOX News Watch Discusses Gannon - Sort Of
Reported by Ellen - February 28, 2005 -
Saturday's (2/26/05) FOX News Watch featured a segment on "Gannongate," as they called it. First, the good news: I was pleased to see the subject covered at all on FOX News which, like most of the rest of the mainstream media, has largely ignored it. Now, the bad news: The discussion was given superficial, "back-office" treatment in a weekend news story that still managed to miss a lot of the important reasons why it's important.
For one thing, they didn't go into the false identity aspect of Gannon/Guckert. Instead, the panel seemed to think that the real point of the story was whether or not Gannon/Guckert was too partisan to be called a journalist.
Host Eric Burns started the discussion by describing Gannon as "A right-wing political operative who dreamed of being a gay escort (Comment: Correction - Gannon/Guckert didn't just dream about being a male escort he was - maybe still is one).... Jane (Hall, of American University), what is this story about... I mean, he WAS a journalist."
That opened the door for Jim Pinkerton, of Newsday, to compare Gannon/Guckert with other partisan reporters allowed into the White House press corps such as Russell Mokhiber, who works for Ralph Nader's Corporate Crime Reporter. I believe this is a false analogy because Gannon wasn't just partisan, he was a fake in all respects. He was a phony journalist, with a phony name, working for a phony news service that seems to have been created for the sole purpose of giving Gannon a less obviously partisan employer than "GOPUSA." See, for example, Media Matters on Gannon's background and "training."
There was a brief mention that Gannon could only have gotten his credentials with at least tacit approval from high-ups (Karl Rove was implicated though not directly) but overall the panel seemed to think Gannon was on a par with bloggers - a member of the new media - and should not be barred from the press corps just because he didn't come from a traditional media background. Comment: Hmm, I wonder how many left-wing bloggers will receive White House press passes once the WH wakes up to the new media paradigm.
Also not mentioned is the obvious hypocrisy of granting such extraordinary access to the White House and the president to someone with such a slimy background, one so obviously at odds with all those morals the Bush White House likes to tout. Did the White House not know of his background or did they just not care so long as Gannon was there to pump up their side of every story? The panel seemed as oblivious to this aspect of the Gannon story as the White House was to Gannon, himself.
Finally, there was also no mention of Guckert's possible role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Can you imagine if a gay prostitute posing as a journalist had played a possible role in the outing of a CIA agent during the Clinton presidency? I think it's safe to say there would have been an entirely different discussion on FOX News.