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Posts from the ‘The New York Times’ Category

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

Online Poker, Fantasy Football, TMZ or a Reasonable Discussion of What Exactly Happened on 9/11?

I was alluding to the fact that people can spend hours investigating a succotash recipe or watch hours of mindless television or play video poker until the cows come home, eat and then go back

out but immediately scoff and mock a discussion of the worst attack on the U.S. in it’s history.

It’s disturbing.

Liberal architects investigating the World Trade Center Towers?

Please.

Karl Rove’s Media Birds Chirp About Obama’s ‘Arrogance’

Glenn Greenwald

Displaying the startling prescience and unconventional insights that have long been the hallmark of his magazine, The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait wrote on June 30:

The best aspect of a McCain presidency is that, while it would probably follow the policies of George W. Bush, it would put an end to the politics of Karl Rove . . . . In Bush’s Washington, critics are enemies to be dismissed rather than engaged. A McCain presidency would promise to dismantle the whole Rovian method that has torn open such a deep wound in the national psyche.

From The New York Times Editorial Page, yesterday:

On July 3, news reports said Senator John McCain, worried that he might lose the election before it truly started, opened his doors to disciples of Karl Rove from the 2004 campaign and the Bush White House. Less than a month later, the results are on full display. The candidate who started out talking about high-minded, civil debate has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove’s low-minded and uncivil playbook.

From The New York Times today:

After spending much of the summer searching for an effective line of attack against Senator Barack Obama, Senator John McCain is beginning a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency. . . .
Mr. McCain’s campaign is now under the leadership of members of President Bush’s re-election campaign, including Steve Schmidt, the czar of the Bush war room that relentlessly painted his opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as effete, elite, and equivocal through a daily blitz of sound bites and Web videos that were carefully coordinated with Mr. Bush’s television advertisements.

The run of attacks against Mr. Obama over the last couple of weeks have been strikingly reminiscent of that drive, including the Bush team’s tactics of seeking to make campaigns referendums on its opponents — not a choice between two candidates — and attacking the opponent’s perceived strengths head-on.

There’s obviously nothing surprising about the McCain campaign’s reliance on the standard, personality-based attacks that the GOP uses every election year. It’s long been obvious to everyone outside of The TNR Circle that McCain’s only prospect for winning would be to move the election away from debates over issues (where his positions are widely rejected by the public) and instead demonize Barack Obama as an effete, elitist, effeminate, far Leftist, terrorist-loving radical, and it was equally obvious that McCain — “drooling for power like a fruit bat with rabies,” as Matt Taibbi put it in November, 2006 — would eagerly employ those Rovian tactics. That may be a surprise to long-time Beltway McCain worshipers such as Chait and The Washington Post’s David Ignatitus (who today longed for McCain’s “healing gift,” “this fiercely independent man,” and “not the heroism but the humility”), but not to anyone else.
What is far more notable than McCain’s now almost-complete reliance on Rovian demonization themes is how obediently the establishment media has been spouting and disseminating them. Five weeks ago, on June 23, Karl Rove appeared at a breakfast with Republican insiders at the Capitol Hill Club, mocked Obama
cooly arrogant.” Ever since, that Obama is “arrogant” — and the related sin: “presumptuous” — has become standard, mandated media script. as “the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by,” and labeled him “

It’s now literally difficult to find a discussion of Obama in the establishment press that isn’t based on this personality-based theme — with media stars either expressing the opinion themselves or repeating it as a McCain talking point. Last night, CNN’s Campbell Brown, hosting Anderson Cooper’s show, framed the show this way:

But is Obama vulnerable? Is he arrogant? . . . David, the McCain campaign, Republicans, they are consistently playing up this notion that Obama is presumptuous, arrogant. Can they stick him with this label?

Here’s the front page of Politico today:


This is exactly what happens every single election cycle. The Right spews some petty, personality-based attack, and the chirping media birds then mindlessly repeat it until it’s lodged into our discourse as accepted fact. That’s the media strategy on which the Right is relying to win the election this year again — dictating the songs sung by the vapid, chirping press birds — even as they petulantly and incessantly complain that the same media stars who serve this strategy are stacked against them. Yesterday’s, National Review’s Rich Lowry posted what he called “musings from a shrewd friend” about a Dana Milbank column in yesterday’s Washington Post that repeated every last “Obama-is-arrogant” cliché (”there are signs that the Obama campaign’s arrogance has begun to anger reporters”). Lowry’s “shrewd” friend:

[Obama’s] showing hubris and contempt for the rest of us in how he considers America fundamentally broken and he’s the solution. Messianism is usually a quality you don’t want in a president. This was always the soft underbelly of his candidacy. They’ve gotten too caught up in their own story. What always does in a celebrity? Overexposure. The question now is whether Dana Milbank is the bird leaving the wire and every other bird in the press follows him or not. If this narrative sets in, Obama might have to move up his VP announcement to change the story.

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