Thursday, February 17, 2005

Jeff Gannon, Male Prostitute

Joe Conason, writing in the New York Observer, offers a cogent examination of the James Guckert/Jeff Gannon, Male Prostitute scandal and why it is more than just the prurient gossip that right-wing media might want to portray it as being ...

"The intrinsic media interest of the Guckert/Gannon story should be obvious to anyone who has followed his tale, which touches on hot topics from the homosexual underground and the investigation into the outing of C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame to the political power of the Internet.

"Until very recently, Mr. Guckert served as the White House correspondent for Talon News, a Web site owned and operated by a group of Texas Republican activists who also run a highly partisan site called Mr. Guckert resigned from his Talon job after liberal bloggers exposed his ties to Web sites promoting homosexual prostitution. On Valentine's Day, posted new evidence indicating that Mr. Guckert not only constructed those gay-play-for-pay sites, but worked as a male escort himself -- and continued to do so until he got his first White House press pass in 2003."

Guckert/Gannon, in fact, might be the first prostitute since Brit Hume to routinely participate in White House press briefings. As Conason points out, Guckert/Gannon enjoyed extraordinary (ahem) access. The Prez called on him during a rare, nationally televised news conference. And Guckert/Gannon has even figured in the Valerie Plame undercover-outing scandal. In late 2003, the gigolo-turned-journalist referenced a C.I.A. document that presumably proved that Plame had pushed for her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, to embark on a fact-finding mission in Niger regarding rumored Iraqi uranium purchases.

Conason writes:

"What Mr. Guckert seems to have been is not a journalist but a Republican dirty trickster. He was schooled at the Leadership Institute -- an outfit run by veteran right-wing operative and Republican National Committee member Morton Blackwell. (It was Mr. Blackwell who distributed those cute 'purple heart' Band-aids mocking Mr. Kerry's war wounds at the Republican convention last summer.) His former employers at Talon News include leading Republican fund-raisers and former officials of the Texas Republican Party who have been active in partisan affairs for the past two decades.

"How did this character obtain a coveted place in the White House? What did the White House press staff know about him? How does his story fit within the larger scandal of payola punditry, with federal funds subsidizing Republican propagandists in the press corps? Did someone in the Bush administration give him a classified document?"

"Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart -- or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this 'journalist' had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal."


At 3:12 PM, Blogger Ceres said...

Who did Gannon pimp himself out to to get the information on Valerie Plame?


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