Thursday, February 17, 2005

MoDo on Gannongate: Bush's Barberini Faun

I am very impressed with James Guckert, a k a Jeff Gannon.
It's hard to believe the White House could hit rock bottom on credibility again, but it has, in a bizarre maelstrom that plays like a dark comedy. How does it credential a man with a double life and a secret past?

"Jeff Gannon" was waved into the press room nearly every day for two years as the conservative correspondent for two political Web sites operated by a wealthy Texas Republican. Scott McClellan often called on the pseudoreporter for softball questions.
I'm still mystified by this story. 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 to cover a White House that won a second term by mining homophobia and preaching family values?

Thanks, MoDo, for hitting on the real issue -- not the fundamental issue (why he was really there, and called on), but the crowbar that we all need to stand on to crack open the real scandal.

Frank Rich takes on Gannongate today, too. While it is good to see the MSM finally touch this story, the profound weirdness here is this: The normal course has been that the regular "news sources" break stories and the blogosphere reacts and comments. In this case that chain of causation has been inverted: The news desk seems to be leaving it to us to do the heavy lifting, and OpEd clucks and scolds. There was some of this in the Dan Rather imbroglio, but that one made the front page and got abundant coverage, so I count this one as different.

If FOIA requests still worked, we could do their entire job, and I might never have to read a newspaper again.


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