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Friday, May 27, 2005

Where's the outrage about the White House's actions?

The sorry tale of James Gannon

I just received the PBS DVD collection, the American President the other day. The series is well done and is historically very accurate. Former Time Magazine editor Hugh Sidey the series' narrator, pulls no punches, in fact calling President John Tyler, an " ineffective loner" and Chester A. Arthur, "one of the most corrupt men ever to hold high office in the nation.". From this perspective I began thinking about what I consider to be the most scandalous thing the Bush Administration has done thus far in his four and a half years in office.

The mainstream media is busy focusing on Iraq, Social Security and Judicial appointments, instead of what should have been the biggest story of the year. I am speaking of the saga of James Guckert aka James Gannon, who was set up in White House press briefings to ask leading question to Scott McClellan. Guckert was credentialed as the White House Correspondent for GOPUSA, and the Talon News Service, both online publications funded completely by right wing interests. (GOPUSA's name gives its political bent away). Even worse Guckert had access to the White House directly afforded few legitimate reporters. Guckert spent over two years as a White House reporter and in my view helped get the President re-elected.

The idea of setting what is essentially a phony news service and having a reporter write under alias is a throwback to early years of the American Republic when the Federalists led by Hamilton and Republicans led by Jefferson published what were essentially propaganda newspapers under pseudonyms. What distinguishes this outrage from the 1790s though is that Gannon himself is not a journalist nor a political operative of some sort but actually an obscure office manager who ironically is gay (how does that reconcile with the right wing social agenda of this President?) that was set up a stool for the White House's desire to redirect questioning from actual journalists and make press briefings, all of which are in this day and age televised on C-Span into television ads for the President's re-election.

Even though the fundamental integrity of the White House press corps has been attacked by this outrage, only the great Helen Thomas the epitome of true journalism and reporting, and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann have paid attention to this story. It seems the cable news networks and many daily newspapers are becoming agents of this administrationthemselvesmseleves. Much of this attitude from the mainstream media is owed to coconglomerates who own multiple media outlets as many liberals have rightly claimed. However, an even bigger reason for this problem is owed to the pure laziness of today's journalists. If there is a tough story to investigate which may in fact rock the boat, most reporters these days stay away. In today's on demand world, reporters seem to be interested in puff pieces and quick stories that require very little work. Shame on them. Where is the outrage from the media and journalists throughout the country on the sham that being a member of the White House press corps is becoming thanks to Guckert and this administration?


LK said...

It is because of the deteriration in real news coverage and the growth of fluff news such as the "runaway bride and others that I do not miss CNN one bit when I am out of the country. I used to feel so disconnected without it, but I am watching it less and,less at home as the constant punditry and vitriol on both sides of the aisle leave you with a distaste for such partisanship. It is a welcome change to watch BBC and its real news.

egcanes said...

For some inexplicable reason, the mainstream media has be 110% nutered by this administration. The lack of outrage over the Pat Tillman coverup illustrates this point, as does the Gannon situation.

Anonymous said...

I believe this story has been overblown as it is. The Clinton administration was known for its spin machine and dispicible tactics regarding the media as well. Why should conservative journalists be excluded from press briefings because the President is a conservative? The press briefings when Clinton was there was filled with left wingers who were lobbing him softballs.

Anonymous said...

Gannon is just like the writers for liberal rags like Salon and Slate. No difference at all. Moreover, he has not hid that he is gay: he even appeared in a cover story in the Advocate. His service was a rag of the right, just like so many rags of the left in this internet age of dummned down journalism. I don't see the big deal about this guy, because he is totally harmless.

Anonymous said...

It is a total travesty that the mainstream media has failed to cover this story with the zeal they chased down President Clinton and journalists like Sidney Blumenthal who eventually had to join the administration. Blumenthal, unlike Gannon actually wrote for a legitimate publication, but he was so vilified by his colleagues in the media he left the magazine and took an administration job.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.