Feb. 17, 2005

Stooges

I like the Three Stooges as much as the next guy, but it seems that the White House has taken the concept and given it new life...

It appears that the White House planted a especially friendly voice in the Press Corps early last year. "Jeff Gannon's" job (real name James Guckert) was to ask particularly sympathetic questions during press briefings, probably to ensure that like-minded news services (cough... Fox... cough...) could be supplied with ample footage of the most favourable kind. There's also been some coverage in recent months of the payments made to ensure supportive articles from other "journalists", such as paying Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote "No Child Left Behind" and paying Maggie Gallagher $40,000 to promote conservative marriage policy.

Salon has this to say about it: "Why was a partisan hack, using an alias and with no journalism background, given repeated access to daily White House press briefings?"

Here's what I have to say about it: "Why is it that those who claim the moral high ground are so often found to be the most hypocritical and under-handed?"

Here in Canada we now have the Conservative Party trying to paint the governing Liberal Party as fascists in order to bolster a legally indefensible position on gay marriage. How can they "win" when they abandon the very morals they espouse in order to get there? I guess it's not about morality - it's just about obtaining power and the pleasure of using it.

Listening to: Everybody Wants to Rule The World by Tears for Fears from Songs From The Big Chair.

7 comments:

  1. You know, I've been stewing over this for at least three days now, reading about the recent events in a number of different places and blogs and yet, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Give me another day or two and I might have something half intelligent to say. Then again, maybe not. ;)

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  2. Oh and may I also just say, interesting choice of listening music you had going for this particular post, as well.

    *snicker*

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  3. Well, it only make sense: If you're not going to give substantive answers to questions posed by the "real" White House press corps, better plant somebody in there to ask the questions you DO want to answer.
    : )

    Personally, I find this more amusing than infuriating, just because I have to assume it was TOTALLY ineffectual. Paying those columnists, however, is another story ...

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  4. I would like to clarify my original comment on this, because I assumed everyone automatically understood this, but now I realize that may not be the case: THIS GUY WAS PLANTED BY THE WHITE HOUSE TO ASK SOFTBALL QUESTIONS. Period. There's no question about it. Every reporter who goes to the White House has to submit their name and Social Security number and pass a Secret Service background check. I went to a few briefings myself back in my reporter days, so I have first-hand experience with this. I can only imagine the process is even more thorough now, post-September 11. So, SOMEBODY knew exactly who he was. As I said, I find the whole thing laughable because I doubt anyone in the W.H. press corps was fooled by this tactic, but I still absolutely think there should be a Congressional investigation.

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  5. Good point! What amazes me is that they would be so unsubtle about it and that they would drop in someone who was so profoundly not credible.

    I don't think there should be an investigation though unless, perhaps, you thought that this constituted an abuse of power or a deliberate act of deception. Hey, wait a minute...

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  6. Not suprisingly, I still have nothing intelligent to say and that's probably because nothing suprises me anymore. At. All.

    I did read that the Talon site has been taken down and well it should be. Also according to Reuters, Mr. Guckert has been linked to prostitution and gay porn sites.

    I do find myself wondering exactly how long they believed their little plan would go unnoticed?
    Let's be clear--I'm not above people who are involved in these sorts of things; if adults want to spend their time with prostitutes, then who am I to judge--it's their life and their own lifestyle and not mine to worry about, however how dumb are ya if you're posing as a White House reporter and keeping company with prostitutes in a way that it could get splashed all over the media?

    This dude is just damn dumb.

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  7. Well, if we've learned anything from past abuses of power, it's that the people commiting them get the idea that they're above the law, and that nobody will ever catch on to what they're doing. If you think you're unstoppable, you're not going to even try to be subtle or worry about who your partners in crime are.

    And, they did get away with it for a while--over a year, right? Unbelievable.

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