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Posts from the ‘Maureen Dowd’ Category

A Most Excellent Hack-Off With Mark Halperin Getting Top Billing

Alex Pareene just nails down our favorite media hacks in all their mealy-mouthed two-faced glory

“Congratulations to the world’s laziest dispenser of conventional wisdom”

THE JAMES GUCKERT/ JEFF GANNON, FAKE REPORTER IN THE WHITE HOUSE QUESTION IS MOOT!

Peabody award-winning/not really

BY JOHN TULLY
THE LOS ANGELES SUN
FEB 23 2005

A weekend journalism-school reporter, using a fake name, was given access to the President of the United States at White House press briefings before he even worked for any news organization.

He claims that he has seen a confidential, so-called C.I.A. document which reveals the name of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife and shows her recommending him for the trip to Niger to investigate yellowcake uranium sales to the Iraqis.

It turns out that Secret Service has been waving James Guckert by the guardhouse for two and a half years and once inside, he became Jeff Gannon. He wrote for a fake website, Talon News, run by Republican strategist Bobby Eberle and the organization GOPUSA.

To understand how something like this could Not be a story, that this could happen to begin with, is to understand how The District of Columbia really runs. However, one can only watch and wait as the laws of physics begin to rear their ugly head. Try as they might and for whatever reason, The Mainstream Media (as good of a description as any) just can’t keep this monster down.

Howard Kurtz, the longtime and wise sage media critic with The Washington Post, trusted by little old Quaker ladies in Cleveland Park D.C. and lobbyists alike, just could not figure out what the big fuss was all about and immediately chalked it up to over-eager WWW types and their preoccupation with the salacious part of the story.
Oh that.

The Great Diversion and the reason why non-political junkies in America are apparently not talking about this story is that this fella’ publicly advertised his services as a male prostitute on numerous sites on the Internet and registered and launched numerous gay male pornographic websites.

Really.

CNN’s Aaron Brown, so brilliant in his earlier years on the old ABC overnight news program, pooh-poohed the scandal as a bit of “so what”. On Wolf Blitzer’s “Hard News” program, Mr. Guckert/Gannon was treated almost softly, as if not to upset.

The New York Times finally ran the story, deep in the back pages on Friday, Feb 11th, more than a week after website journalists began to fully reveal this fake journalist’s deceptions.The shockjock mentality came out instantly in the groupthink mainstream media with a curious mix of apathy and frat-boy jokes.

There was no outrage to be outraged over. Meanwhile, writers on web sites like The Daily Kos, David Brock’s Media Matters and John Aravosis’s America Blog, among others, had been doing their own journalism and found out that Mr. Guckert was not who or what he appeared to be. They started their dig after witnessing a press briefing by the President back in late January. A strange reporter asked a clearly partisan question / pronouncement that, among other things, stated that the Democrats were “divorced from reality”.

They got dirt all right.

Columnists Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd finally had to write cute pieces about the mess nearing the end of last week. Katie, Matt, and The Today Show eventually did a quick three- minute story in the first hour last Wednesday. Radio man Don Imus couldn’t get anyone to bite and wondered aloud about the titillating aspect of the thing.

This was now more than ten days since the story had broken, or hadn’t broken. No one was even discussing, outside of the Web, the nasty business of the C.I.A. memo that Mr.Guckert had claimed to have seen or knew about right there on Mr. Blitzer’s show.
Links to web sites where Mr. Guckert solicited clients for sex were widely available at the very same time Mr. Blitzer was tripping all over himself to give Mr. Guckert an Easypass.

Ultimate Washington insider Mary Matalin, Vice President Cheney’s sometimes consultant, told Imus that she just wished Ms. Dowd would just come in from the cold and get with the program.

Why did President Bush and Scott McClellan, the President’s spokesman, call on Mr. Guckert/Gannon so often in those two and a half years and how could other reporters not write about Talon News and GOPUSA ‘s illegitimacy? Veterans of the White House beat sometimes don’t see a question for years. Was he a plant?

But just like the high school sophomores that they are, the Washington press corps have hemmed and hawed and giggled their way for weeks now through a real-live genuine scandal unfurling at the White House. Waving their collective finger, they dismissed the whole affair in full. It was simply The Bloggers and their liberal retribution for the Rather/CBS assassination and a lurid fascination with the X-rated angle thrown in for good measure.

Now the simply idiotic Bush-Tapes story, along with a long weekend and a brilliant fake-outrage campaign over a congressman’s comments about Karl Rove, is threatening to bury forever a story that the entire profession of journalism would like to pretend was never born to begin with.

Everyone seems to be looking around at each other and tsk-tsking the lack of outrage on each other’s part, as if to say “This is terrible. Someone do some real reporting.

“Someone did – as Mr. Bush would say, on the “Internets”.

Stay Tuned.

© 2005 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

How Modo Lost Her Mojo ~ Maureen Dowd and the Myth of the Parasite Bloggers

Glenn Greenwald in S A L O N

06_dowd_lgl

The myth of the parasitical bloggers

(updated below)

Maureen Dowd’s wholesale, uncredited copying of a paragraph written by Josh Marshall (an act Dowd has now admitted) — for what I yesterday called her “uncharacteristically cogent and substantive column”– highlights a point I’ve been meaning to make for awhile.  One of the favorite accusations that many journalists spout, especially now that they’re searching for reasons why newspapers and print magazines are dying, is that bloggers and other online writers are “parasites” on their work — that their organizations bear the cost of producing content and others (bloggers and companies such as Google) then unfairly exploit it for free.

The reality has always been far more mixed than that, and the relationship far more symbiotic than parasitical.  Especially now that online traffic is such an important part of the business model of newspapers and print magazines, traffic generated by links from online venues and bloggers is of great value to them.  That’s why they engage in substantial promotional activities to encourage bloggers to link to and write about what they produce.  Beyond that, it is also very common — as the Dowd/Marshall episode illustrates — for traditional media outlets and establishment journalists to use and even copy content produced online and then present it as their own, typically without credit.  Many, many reporters, television news producers and the like read online political commentary and blogs and routinely take things they find there.

Typically, the uncredited use of online commentary doesn’t rise to the level of blatant copying — plagiarism — that Maureen Dowd engaged in.  It’s often not even an ethical breach at all.  Instead, traditional media outlets simply take stories, ideas and research they find online and pass it off as their own.  In other words — to use their phraseology — they act parasitically on blogs by taking content and exploiting it for their benefit.

Since I read many blogs, I notice this happening quite frequently — ideas and stories that begin on blogs end up being featured by establishment media outlets with no credit.  Here’s just one recent and relatively benign example of how it often works:  at the end of March, I wrote a post that ended up being featured in many places concerning the unique political courage displayed by Jim Webb in taking on the issue of criminal justice reform and the destruction wreaked by our drug laws.  The following week, I was traveling and picked up a copy of The Economist in an aiport, which featured an article hailing Jim Webb’s political courage in taking on the issue of criminal justice reform and the destruction wreaked by our drug laws.

Several of the passages from the Economist article were quite familar to me, since they seemed extremely similar to what I had written — without attribution or credit:

Salon

America has easily surpassed Japan — and virtually every other country in the world — to become what Brown University Professor Glenn Loury recently described as a “a nation of jailers” whose “prison system has grown into a leviathan unmatched in human history.”

Economist

“A Leviathan unmatched in human history”, is how Glenn Loury, professor of social studies at Brown University, characterises America’s prison system.

Salon

Most notably, Webb is in the Senate not as an invulnerable, multi-term political institution from a safely blue state (he’s not Ted Kennedy), but is the opposite: he’s a first-term Senator from Virginia, one of the “toughest” “anti-crime” states in the country (it abolished parole in 1995 and is second only to Texas in the number of prisoners it executes), and Webb won election to the Senate by the narrowest of margins, thanks largely to George Allen’s macaca-driven implosion.

Economist

Mr Webb is far from being a lion of the Senate, roaring from the comfort of a safe seat. He is a first-term senator for Virginia who barely squeaked into Congress. The state he represents also has a long history of being tough on crime: Virginia abolished parole in 1994 and is second only to Texas in the number of people it executes.

Salon

Moreover, the privatized Prison State is a booming and highly profitable industry, with an army of lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates who threaten its interests.

Economist

Mr Webb also has some powerful forces ranged against him. The prison-industrial complex (which includes private prisons as well as public ones) employs thousands of people and armies of lobbyists.

Salon

That is an issue most politicians are petrified to get anywhere near . . . .[T]here is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform. To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being “soft on crime” has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a politician can suffer.

Economist

Few mainstream politicians have had the courage to denounce any of this. People who embrace prison reform usually end up in the political graveyard. There is no organised lobby for prison reform.

I don’t consider that at all similar to what Dowd did, since there wasn’t wholesale copying.  In fact, since there wasn’t really full-on copying, I don’t think there’s any ethical issue involved in this example.  I don’t think the writer of that article did anything wrong at all.  And anyone who spends any time writing a blog, or anything else for that matters, should consider it a good thing when their work is used, with or without credit.  Nobody would engage in that activity in the absence of a belief that they have something worthwhile to say and a desire that it have some impact on political discussions.

I raise this only to illustrate how one-sided and even misleading is the complaint that bloggers are “parasites” on the work of “real journalists.”  Often, the parasitical feeding happens in the opposite direction, though while bloggers routinely credit (and link to) the source of the material on which they’re commenting, there is an unwritten code among many establishment journalists that while they credit each other’s work, they’re free to claim as their own whatever they find online without any need for credit or attribution (see here for a typical example of how many of these news organizations operate in this regard).

It’s difficult to quantify, but a large percentage of political reporters, editors, television news producers, and on-air pundits read political blogs or other online venues now.  Many do so precisely because blogs are a prime source for their story ideas.  Contrary to the myth perpetrated by establishment media outlets, there is substantial original reporting, original analysis and the like that takes place on blogs.  That’s precisely why so many journalists, editors and segment producers read them.  And while some are quite conscientious about identifying the online source of the material they use — The New York Times‘ Scott Shane recently credited Marcy Wheeler for a major, front-page story on torture and previously wrote an article hailing FireDogLake as having the best coverage of any news organization of the Lewis Libby trial — credit of that sort is still rare enough that it becomes noteworthy when it happens.

The tale of the put-upon news organizations and the pilfering, parasitical bloggers has always been more self-serving mythology than reality.  That’s not to say that there’s no truth to it, but the picture has always been much more complicated.  After all, a principal reason for the emergence of a political blogosphere is precisely because it performed functions that establishment media outlets fail to perform.  If all bloggers did was just replicate what traditional news organizations did and offered nothing original, nobody would read blogs.  And especially now, as bloggers and online writers engage in much more so-called “original reporting” and punditry, the parasitical behavior is often the reverse of how it is depicted.  The Maureen Dowd/Josh Marshall episode is a particularly vivid and dramatic example of that, but it is far from uncommon.

UPDATE: A blogger who writes on TPM’s open blog site, Boyd Reed, reacted to the Maureen Dowd story today by randomly entering some of his own posts in Google, and found that a reporter at Salem News, Dorsett Bennett, copied several paragraphs of Reed’s post on Michelle Bachmann verbatim for Bennett’s column on the same topic.  Reed writes about his discovery today here (h/t Liberal Artist).  Compare Reed’s February 20 TPM post with Bennett’s February 27 Salem News column.  The copying is extensive and shameless.  Parasitical indeed.

— Glenn Greenwald

Bob Somerby on Maddow, Dowd, Matthews and Mission Accomplished

THE DAILY HOWLER

LIKE DOWD ON RICE: Good God. The history of an age could be found in Greg Mitchell’s post last Friday. Or could it?

inaug3

On the sixth anniversary of “Mission Accomplished,” Mitchell recalled the way big pundits recorded Commander Bush’s splashdown on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The commander strutted about in his flight suit, producing some of the most god-awful “commentary” in the history of pseudo-journalism. We all recall the lunacy of Chris Matthews and Gordon Liddy, gaping at the commander’s manly assets on Hardball (text below). But thanks to Mitchell’s review, we could also recall what Maureen Dowd wrote, some four days earlier. Take the children—and the pets—to some distant chamber:

DOWD (5/4/03):The tail hook caught the last cable, jerking the fighter jet from 150 m.p.h. to zero in two seconds.

Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.

He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics.

Compared to Karl Rove’s ”revvin’ up your engine” myth-making cinematic style, Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies look like Lizzie McGuire.

This time Maverick didn’t just nail a few bogeys and do a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28 at a range of two meters. This time the Top Gun wasted a couple of nasty regimes, and promised this was just the beginning.

Yes, that sounds like crazy stuff. But uh-oh! Missing from Mitchell’s post was a bit of elementary fairness. In her column, Dowd was actually mocking Bush for his manly, cock-of-the-walk presentation (to read the whole column, click here). Her attack on Bush begins at the point in the column where Mitchell stops quoting. Soon, she has an alter ego saying this to Bush:

DOWD: You can fly, Maverick. But you, Cheney and Rummy are strutting around on a victory tour when you haven’t found Osama or Saddam or WMD; you haven’t figured out how you’re going to stop tribal warfare and religious fanaticism and dangerous skirmishes with our soldiers; you don’t yet know how to put Afghanistan and Iraq back together so that a lot of people over there don’t hate us. And why can’t you stop saying that getting rid of Saddam removed “an ally” of Al Qaeda and was payback for 9/11? You know we just needed to jump somebody in that part of the world.

In fairness, that was salient stuff. Dowd had her Bush figure respond this way, using the kind of Dems-are-fems lingo she herself practically invented: “Hey, Miss Iceman, why don’t you head to the Ladies Room? John Kerry and John Edwards are already there, fixin’ their hair all pretty-like. Howard Dean’s with ’em, trying on a dress, and Kucinich is hemming it for him.”

We’d have to say that Mitchell’s quotation of Dowd was a bit unfair. But then, bungled quotation—and tortured paraphrase—are key parts of the modern landscape. If you could wave a magic wand and remove Bad Paraphrase from Campaign 2000, for example, there’s no way Bush could have reached the White House. The history of our modern politics is a history of this technique.

We humans love tendentious paraphrase! We see this again in Dowd’s new column, a column in which she actually gets something semi-right about Condi Rice. Dowd uses a tortured semi-paraphrase first—but lurking inside her central passage, Dowd does say something that’s basically accurate.

Even Dowd sees the basic framework here! Why can’t our progressive TV hosts?

Dowd is discussing the questions Rice took from some Stanford students last week. Before we get to her central passage, let’s enjoy a good solid laugh as she sets the scene:

DOWD (5/3/09): Condi Rice, who plans to go back to being a professor of political science at Stanford, got grilled by a student at a reception at a dorm there on Monday.

I’ve often wondered why students haven’t been more vocal in questioning the architects of the Iraq war and ”legal” torture who landed plum spots at prestigious universities. Probably because it would have taken the draft, like the guillotine, to concentrate the mind. But finally, the young man at Stanford spoke up. Saying he had read that Ms. Rice authorized waterboarding, he asked her, ”Is waterboarding torture?”

Too funny! Dowd often wonders why college students don’t question these people more! That’s odd! We’ve often wondered the same darn thing about our multimillionaire journalists! (And their young, millionaire-track colleagues.) Appropriate guffaws to the side, Dowd continues with her tale. In our view, she essentially misparaphrases Rice in the passage we highlight. But she makes a sound point in the process:

DOWD (continuing directly): She replied: ”The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s—and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.”

This was precisely Condi’s problem. She simply relayed. She never stood up against Cheney and Rummy for either what was morally right or what was smart in terms of our national security.

The student pressed again about whether waterboarding was torture.

”By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: ”When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

She also stressed that, ”Unless you were there in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans.”

Reyna Garcia, a Stanford sophomore who videotaped the exchange, said of Condi’s aria, ”I wasn’t completely satisfied with her answers, to be honest,” adding that ”President Obama went ahead and called it torture and she did everything she could not to do that.”

In fairness, no—Rice really didn’t “almost quot[e] Nixon’s logic.” (Please note the slick use of “almost.”) She really didn’t say what Nixon is said to have said: If the president orders it, that makes it legal. But by the time Dowd typed her column, everyone else had enjoyed some good fun with this rather tendentious claim. So Dowd went ahead and typed it too—hiding behind her “almost.”

No, Candidate Gore didn’t say that he invented the Internet (the most consequential mis-paraphrase in American history). Candidate McCain didn’t say he wanted a hundred-year war (the press corps dropped that one quickly). And no: Condi Rice didn’t really say that if the president orders X, that means that X is legal. But in the midst of her fumbling fun, Dowd raised a very good point in this passage, which we quote again:

DOWD: This was precisely Condi’s problem. She simply relayed. She never stood up against Cheney and Rummy for either what was morally right or what was smart in terms of our national security.

Rice may not have made the decisions, Dowd said. But she didn’t push back either.

Dowd raises an excellent point in that passage, though her history may be imperfect. In this morning’s Times, Mark Mazzetti offers a history of the torture/enhanced techniques regime (just click here). Among other things, he attempts to report what Rice actually did about this regime at various junctures. His reporting could be wrong, of course. But in Mazzetti’s account, Rice offered “strong support” for the torture/enhanced techniques program at least until May 2004, when a critical internal report began to raise essential questions. He describes her pushing back against Cheney on several points during Bush’s second term, even winning at least one fight. (At other times, she accepts Cheney’s wins.) You can read Mazzetti’s full report for yourself. But his account of Rice’s conduct isn’t quite as one-sided as Dowd’s.

That said, Dowd raised an excellent point: By normal standards, serious questions should be asked about the role officials like Rice played in Bush’s regime. What role did she play in the move to war? What role did she play in the creation of the torture regime? Even Dowd understands that this is a basic, essential framework. That’s why we remind you again of the work which occurred when Rice’s number-one man, Philip Zelikow, appeared on our most liberal TV show.

Appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show, Zelikow was allowed to skate. No questions were asked about any of this—and the same policy obtained two nights later, when Colin Powell’s top aide appeared (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/27/09). But then, when Powell himself appeared on this show, he wasn’t asked the world’s most obvious question. Was water-boarding discussed in your presence? The question was screaming out to be asked. But your new imaginary best friend completely forgot to ask it.

Citizens need to lobby their journalists! More specifically, progressives need to tell people like Maddow that they expect her to ask these questions. That they expect her to challenge these public figures. That they want her to stop kissing up to every big star who drifts by.

Progressives need to lobby that way. Unless this nightly “journalism” is really just a social event, a way to define our glorious clan. A way to feel good for an hour each night. A way to feel good—and superior.

Even Dowd can see the shape of this problem! Why on earth does our new best friend keep giving big Bush aides a pass?

Yes, they actually said it: We think Mitchell’s quote is unfair to Dowd. But here’s what Liddy and Matthews said—and yes, the boys really meant it! In his opening question, Matthews refers to Democratic criticisms of Bush’s glorious splashdown:

MATTHEWS (5/8/03): Gordon, my buddy, thanks for joining us. I’m now giving you a shooting gallery of opportunity here.

LIDDY: Yes, you are.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I—in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man.

And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know—and I’ve worn those because I parachute—and it makes the best of his manly characteristic.

You go run those—run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count—they’re all liars. Check that out!

Please note: Four years later, Liddy went straight to the smutty sexual trashing dished to Gore and Naomi Wolf—a sexual trashing which was thoroughly accepted by the “career liberal” world in real time. And make no mistake—Matthews took Liddy’s side on this program, ridiculing the silly folk who had been criticizing Bush’s splashdown. In fairness, that would have included Dowd, in her earlier column. Matthews thought they were all nuts:

MATTHEWS: And I’ve got to say why do the Democrats, as you say, want to keep advertising this guy’s greatest moment?

LIDDY: Look, he’s, he’s coming across as a—well, as women would call in on my show saying, what a stud, you know, and then guy—they’re seeing him out there with his flight suit, and he’s—and they know he’s an F-105 fighter jock. I mean it’s just great.

MATTHEWS: Let’s let him talk for himself. Here’s President Bush expressing his confidence that he did the right thing…

The boys were full of admiration for Bush’s manly splashdown. Of course, Matthews had always swum in this sea. Searching today on “Hardball and Bush and manly,” we hit this earlier bit of misery, from Campaign 2000. At this time, Hardball was soliciting and airing comments from insightful viewers:

MATTHEWS (4/27/00): Our second caller says that Al Gore and George W. Bush are both attractive candidates, but in very different ways.

CALLER: I really can’t believe that Chris Matthews thinks that Al Gore is the more attractive of the two presidential candidates. Al Gore is attractive in a sort of limp-wrist sort of way. However, George Bush is attractive in a manly sort of way.

MATTHEWS: Well, Susan, as I said last night, I’ve been polling women, by the way, on this subject, because I don’t know what—have any idea what the right answer is, which of these two bucks women find most appealing or least appealing. I’ll remember to include, however, your comments in my current tally. And if you want to play Hardball yourself, just call us at 202-824-6799, or e-mail us at hardball@msnbc.com.

Each candidate was attractive—Gore in a limp-wrist sort of way, Bush in a manly manner.

Of all the comments he had received, Matthews chose to read just two on the air. This was one of the comments he chose. Five months before, in November 1999, he had played an aggressive, leading role in the sexual trashing of Wolf and Gore.

Career liberals cowered and stared at all this. They still don’t discuss it, to this very day. Olbermann licks Matthews’ keister on air. Bush ended up you-know-where.

What He Just Said: The Brilliant Bob Somerby on the Madness of Maureen Dowd

March 30, 2009 9:46 est.

BS was the second guy I ever read on the tubes…-JT

Feel free to focus for five…you little freaks…

300px-fozzie_season_1

STILL DUMBING US DOWN! A former sports guy—and a former Rhodes Scholar—continue to dumb liberals down: // link // print // previous // next //

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

Since we asked: On Friday, we asked a question (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/27/09): Now that the Washington Post had semi-corrected its bungled report about the weakling Obama Admin, would Rachel Maddow follow suit? Last Tuesday night, Maddow’s report had been even more wrong than the Post’s efforts had been.

Did Maddow correct? We’d have to say no. She did devote a lengthy segment to the topic in question—a segment we thought was quite remarkable for the ways it seemed to pretend that Maddow was brilliantly right all along. To see Friday’s segment, just click here (it runs more than seven minutes). We’ll discuss this topic later this week.

By the way, do you want to see Maddow’s original segment? It seems to have disappeared.

The emperor’s favorite columnist: Sadly for you and your whole family, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” may be Hans Christian Andersen’s most contemporary fable. Quite frequently, people simply can’t see lunacy, even as it stands before them—if the lunacy in question involves a famous authority figure.

We thought of Andersen when we read Maureen Dowd’s Sunday column. Dowd is the most famous columnist at our most influential newspaper—and she’s been visibly crazy for years. Read more

John Tully | Tullycast Memo

The James Guckert/Jeff Gannon, Fake Reporter In The White House Question Is Moot!

BY JOHN TULLY
THE LOS ANGELES SUN
FEB 23 2005

A weekend journalism-school reporter, using a fake name, was given access to the President of the United States at White House press briefings before he even worked for any news organization.

 

He claims that he has seen a confidential, so-called C.I.A. document which reveals the name of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife and shows her recommending him for the trip to Niger to investigate yellowcake uranium sales to the Iraqis.

 

It turns out that Secret Service has been waving James Guckert by the guardhouse for two and a half years and once inside, he became Jeff Gannon. He wrote for a fake website, Talon News, run by Republican strategist Bobby Eberle and the organization GOPUSA.

 

To understand how something like this could Not be a story, that this could happen to begin with, is to understand how The District of Columbia really runs. However, one can only watch and wait as the laws of physics begin to rear their ugly head. Try as they might and for whatever reason, The Mainstream Media (as good of a description as any) just can’t keep this monster down.

 

Howard Kurtz, the longtime and wise sage media critic with The Washington Post, trusted by little old Quaker ladies in Cleveland Park D.C. and lobbyists alike, just could not figure out what the big fuss was all about and immediately chalked it up to over-eager WWW types and their preoccupation with the salacious part of the story.
Oh that.

 

The Great Diversion and the reason why non-political junkies in America are apparently not talking about this story is that this fella’ publicly advertised his services as a male prostitute on numerous sites on the Internet and registered and launched numerous gay male pornographic websites.

 

Really.

 

CNN’s Aaron Brown, so brilliant in his earlier years on the old ABC overnight news program, pooh-poohed the scandal as a bit of “so what”. On Wolf Blitzer’s “Hard News” program, Mr. Guckert/Gannon was treated almost softly, as if not to upset.

 

The New York Times finally ran the story, deep in the back pages on Friday, Feb 11th, more than a week after website journalists began to fully reveal this fake journalist’s deceptions.The shockjock mentality came out instantly in the groupthink mainstream media with a curious mix of apathy and frat-boy jokes.

 

There was no outrage to be outraged over. Meanwhile, writers on web sites like The Daily Kos, David Brock’s Media Matters and John Aravosis’s America Blog, among others, had been doing their own journalism and found out that Mr. Guckert was not who or what he appeared to be. They started their dig after witnessing a press briefing by the President back in late January. A strange reporter asked a clearly partisan question / pronouncement that, among other things, stated that the Democrats were “divorced from reality”.

 

They got dirt all right.

 

Columnists Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd finally had to write cute pieces about the mess nearing the end of last week. Katie, Matt, and The Today Show eventually did a quick three- minute story in the first hour last Wednesday. Radio man Don Imus couldn’t get anyone to bite and wondered aloud about the titillating aspect of the thing.

 

This was now more than ten days since the story had broken, or hadn’t broken. No one was even discussing, outside of the Web, the nasty business of the C.I.A. memo that Mr.Guckert had claimed to have seen or knew about right there on Mr. Blitzer’s show.
Links to web sites where Mr. Guckert solicited clients for sex were widely available at the very same time Mr. Blitzer was tripping all over himself to give Mr. Guckert an Easypass.

 

Ultimate Washington insider Mary Matalin, Vice President Cheney’s sometimes consultant, told Imus that she just wished Ms. Dowd would just come in from the cold and get with the program.

 

Why did President Bush and Scott McClellan, the President’s spokesman, call on Mr. Guckert/Gannon so often in those two and a half years and how could other reporters not write about Talon News and GOPUSA’s illegitimacy? Veterans of the White House beat sometimes don’t see a question for years. Was he a plant?

 

But just like the high school sophomores that they are, the Washington Press Corps have hemmed and hawed and giggled their way for weeks now through a real-live genuine scandal unfurling at the White House. Waving their collective finger, they dismissed the whole affair in full. It was simply The Bloggers and their liberal retribution for the Rather/CBS assassination and a lurid fascination with the X-rated angle thrown in for good measure.

 

Now the simply idiotic Bush-Tapes story, along with a long weekend and a brilliant fake-outrage campaign over a congressman’s comments about Karl Rove, is threatening to bury forever a story that the entire profession of journalism would like to pretend was never born to begin with.

 

Everyone seems to be looking around at each other and tsk-tsking the lack of outrage on each other’s part, as if to say “This is terrible -someone do some real reporting”.

 

“Someone did – as Mr. Bush would say, on the “Internets”.

 

Stay Tuned.

 

© 2005 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

ALSO IN:

DISSIDENT VOICE

SMIRKING CHIMP

NEIL ROGERS SHOW

PULSE TWIN CITIES

BARTCOP

“Howard Kurtz, the longtime and wise sage media critic for The Washington Post, trusted by little old Quaker ladies in Cleveland Park D.C. and lobbyists alike, just could not figure out what the big fuss was all about and immediately chalked it up to over-eager WWW types and their preoccupation with the salacious part of the story”

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