February 23, 2005
In response to the public disgrace and ruin of New York Times editor Howell Raines, CBS anchor Dan Rather and CNN news director Eason Jordan, liberals are directing their fury at the blogs. Once derided as people sitting around their living rooms in pajamas, now obscure writers for unknown Web sites are coming under more intensive background checks than CIA agents.
The heretofore-unknown Jeff Gannon of the heretofore-unknown "Talon News" service was caught red-handed asking friendly questions at a White House press briefing. Now the media is hot on the trail of a gay escort service that Gannon may have run some years ago. Are we supposed to like gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people on a moment-to-moment basis?
Liberals keep rolling out a scrolling series of attacks on Gannon for their Two Minutes Hate, but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.
First, liberals claimed Gannon was a White House plant who received a press pass so that he could ask softball questions — a perk reserved for New York Times reporters during the Clinton years. Their proof was that while "real" journalists (like Jayson Blair) were being denied press passes, Gannon had one, even though he writes for a Web site that no one has ever heard of — but still big enough to be a target of liberal hatred! (By the way, if writing for a news organization with no viewers is grounds for being denied a press pass, why do MSNBC reporters have them?)
On the op-ed page of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd openly lied about the press pass, saying: "I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the 'Barberini Faun' is credentialed?"
Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president. Still, it would be suspicious if Dowd were denied a press pass while someone from "Talon News" got one, even if he is a better reporter.
But Dowd was talking about two different passes without telling her readers (a process now known in journalism schools as "Dowdification"). Gannon didn't have a permanent pass; he had only a daily pass. Almost anyone can get a daily pass — even famed Times fantasist Maureen Dowd could have gotten one of those. A daily pass and a permanent pass are altogether different animals. The entire linchpin of Dowd's column was a lie. (And I'm sure the Times' public editor will get right on Dowd's deception.)
Finally, liberals expressed shock and dismay that Gannon's real name is "James Guckert." On MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews introduced the Gannon scandal this way: "Coming up, how did a fake news reporter from a right-wing Web site get inside the White House press briefings and presidential news conferences?"
Reporter David Shuster then gave a report on "the phony alias Guckert used to play journalist" — as opposed to the real name Shuster uses to play journalist. (You can tell Schuster is a crackerjack journalist because he uses phrases like "phony alias.") With all the subtlety of a gay-bashing skinhead, Matthews spent the rest of the segment seeing how many times he could smear Gannon by mentioning "HotMilitaryStuds.com" and laughing.
Any day now, Matthews will devote entire shows to exposing Larry Zeigler, Gerald Riviera and Michael Weiner — aka Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Matthews' former MSNBC colleague Michael Savage. As a newspaper reporter, Wolf Blitzer has written under the names Ze'ev Blitzer and Ze'ev Barak. The greatest essayist of modern times was Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. The worst essayist of modern times is "TRB" of The New Republic.
Air America radio host and "Nanny" impersonator "Randi Rhodes" goes by a fake name, and she won't even tell people what her real last name is. (She says for "privacy reasons." That name must be a real doozy.) As Insideradio.com describes Rhodes, she refuses "to withhold anything from her listeners" and says conservatives "are less likely to share such things." How about sharing your name, Randi? We promise not to laugh.
Democrats in Congress actually demanded that an independent prosecutor investigate how Gannon got into White House press conferences while writing under an invented name. How did Gary Hartpence, Billy Blythe and John Kohn (Gary Hart, Bill Clinton and John Kerry) run for president under invented names? Admittedly, these men were not reporters for the prestigious "Talon News" service; they were merely Democrats running for president.
Liberals keep telling us the media isn't liberal, but in order to retaliate for the decimation of major news organizations like The New York Times, CBS News and CNN, all they can do is produce the scalp of an obscure writer for an unknown conservative Web page. And unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, they can't even get Gannon for incompetence on the job. (Also unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, Gannon has appeared on TV and given a series of creditable interviews in his own defense, proving our gays are more macho than their straights.)
Gannon didn't write about gays. No "hypocrisy" is being exposed. Liberals' hateful, frothing-at-the-mouth campaign against Gannon consists solely of their claim that he is gay.