Author Topic: Summary of the Bush Administration's Use of Phoney Journalists.  (Read 125 times)

Ant

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Summary of the Bush Administration's Use of Phoney Journalists.
« on: February 08, 2005, 11:28:56 PM »
**Updated**

Feb. 10, 2005 - An unprecedented coalition of citizen DailyKos Diarists have recently investigated and uncovered important details regarding Talon News reporter, James "J.D." Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon).  These details, along with other information reported by Media Matters and other blog sites, have led to Mr. Guckert's resignation from his position as Washington Bureau Chief for Talon News yesterday amid a flurry of controversy.

Prompted by a Jan. 26 report by MediaMatters.org regarding Guckert's "softball" questions to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush, members of DailyKos, an online community, began investigating the matter.

The information discovered by this investigation was in the public domain, readily available to anyone with internet access.  Much of the information was derived from Guckert's own sites which he published himself on the internet, or from comments he himself posted on various sites.

In his Talon News profile, Guckert claimed he had a degree in Education from the "Pennsylvania State University System."  His only journalistic "experience" was attendance at the Leadership Institute Broadcast Journalism School.  The Leadership Institute describes its mission as increasing "the number and effectiveness of conservative public policy leaders" and to "place conservative leaders in the public policy process."  Guckert's "training" at the Leadership Institute was a two-day seminar, tuition for which was $50.

Despite his lack of journalistic experience, Guckert used an assumed name and was granted access to the elite White House Press Corps.  His application for a press pass to the House and Senate galleries was rejected because Talon News shares ownership with GOPUSA.com and did not meet press pass standards.  Yet somehow he was still given a daily press pass to White House Briefings for over two years.

In a press briefing on Feb. 10th, White House Press Secretary McClellan claimed that Guckert was granted White House access because he "showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly." (emphasis added).

However, Talon News came into existence on March 29, 2003.  It was granted White House Press Corps access just four days (approx. 96 hours) later.  During that four-day time period, Talon News published a total of nine "stories." 

During briefings, Guckert's questions frequently revealed not only his conservative bias, but also a possible coordination with White House Press Secretary McClellan.  Guckert's questions were frequently leading, unabashedly partisan, and at times inflammatory.  Moreover, Guckert apparently had unprecedented access, and even claimed at one point to be "entertaining the Prime Minister of Great Britain."

The researchers at DailyKos discovered another issue that suggested close coordination with the administration.  According to the Washington Post, Guckert may have had access to a leaked internal CIA memo which revealed the identity of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife, then an undercover CIA operative.  In fact, because of his possible tie to the leak, Guckert was one of a small number to be subpoenaed to testify in the federal grand jury investigation into the matter.

The Guckert incident is part of a larger story involving attempts on the administration's part to "plant" friendly commentators and journalists in the media to advance their political agenda.  In the last month, investigations have revealed that in addition to having an illegitimate conservative "reporter" in its Press Corps:

*    The Bush Administration paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to advocate the No Child Left Behind Act , even though previous to the payments, he was publicly critical of the policy.  Williams has since admitted that "there are others" paid by the government to promote its agenda.

*    The Bush Administration also paid conservative commentator Maggie Gallagher, who claims no credentials as a marriage expert, to promote its traditional marriage agenda.

Recently, in a letter to President Bush, Representative Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28) demanded an explanation, writing that "'Mr. Gannon' is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the `news' he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel."  Rep. Slaughter asked the President to answer the critical question: "why the individual known as `Mr. Gannon' was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?"

Additionally, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) has written a letter to White House Press Secretary McClellan, asking for the immediate release of all documents relating to Guckert's credentials. Senator Lautenberg, echoing the sentiment of many concerned citizens, has asked for an explanation of "how Mr. Guckert/Gannon passed muster for White House press credentials."

« Last Edit: February 11, 2005, 08:01:36 AM by Ant »
 

Ant

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Re: More Embarassments for Bush
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 12:51:14 PM »
A letter from Cognresswoman Slaughter

 
Dear Mr. President:

In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.

Several weeks ago when it was revealed that radio/TV host Armstrong Williams had received payment from your Administration in exchange for his vocal support of the 'No Child Left Behind' initiative, I was stunned.  For years now I have been leading the fight in Congress for fairness and accountability in the media; the Williams revelation only underscored the need for a media that has integrity, is balanced and expresses the local interests and concerns of its consumers.

Since that time, two more members of the media have been found to have received money from your Administration in exchange for their vocal, yet undisclosed support of Administration policies.

And just this morning we have learned that "Mr. Gannon" has resigned his post at the, so called, Talon News amid growing concerns over his controversial background and falsified qualifications. In fact, it appears that "Mr. Gannon's" presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration.

Mr. President, I am sure we both agree the White House Press Corps is an honored institution in America that should be beyond the scope of partisan meddling, and that a free and independent media is the cornerstone of our success as a democracy.  Likewise, I am sure we can both agree the American people have the right to expect that journalists who question their President everyday are experienced, independent, and perhaps most importantly, unbiased in their approach.

I was already concerned about what appears to be an organized campaign to mask partisan propaganda as legitimate news by your Administration. That we have now learned this same type of deception is occurring inside the White House briefing room itself is even more disturbing.

That is why I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?

Mr. President, your Administration has driven the so-called "values" debate in this country. But the most important value for those of us in public service should always be honesty and integrity, particularly when considering the manner in which we conduct our affairs of state.


I would appreciate your prompt response on this matter.

 

Respectfully,

Louise M. Slaughter

Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules
« Last Edit: February 11, 2005, 07:59:59 AM by Ant »
 

dexter

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Re: More Embarassment for Bush
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2005, 02:29:59 PM »
Bush is a JOKE
 

rafsta

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Re: More Embarassment for Bush
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2005, 06:50:23 PM »
wow this is such a surprise...
 

Sikotic™

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Re: More Embarassment for Bush
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2005, 01:41:37 AM »
lol funny. Cant blame them for trying tho.
 

Ant

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Re: Summary of the Bush Administration's Use of Phoney Journalists.
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2005, 08:01:13 AM »
lol notice the absense of republican commentary on posts like these.