—-gate

—-gate

: On l’affaire Gannon, Robert Cox of The National Debate asks:

Does anyone else find it amusing that the leading liberal blogger, Kos, is among those leading the charge in attacking a guy for acquiring a press pass while writing for a partisan, advocacy web site.

This IS the same Kos who, as Chris Nolan noted, showed up at a “Western DNC” event wearing a press and was credentialed at the DNC, right?

Seems to me this is another “whose ox is getting gored” story.

Hmmmm.

: On l’affaire Jordan (I agree with Jay Rosen that we shouldn’t be —-gating everything until we know it’s a —-gate), Hugh Hewitt says that Jay, Mickey Kaus, and I are bloggers from the left who are following the Jordan story. OK, thanks. But the real reason I decided to blog it is more because I follow media. I learned my lesson in l’affaire Rather, when I missed the media story because I was following the mud. Note that the media story takes a little more time to develop as we watch who does and doesn’t report on the tale. That’s why I was late posting on l’affaires Gannon and Jordan, but I did.

: Jay Rosen has a great post this morning on various media fallout clouds from the Jordan and Gannon stories.

: Just asking: FoxNews has covered the Jordan story. Have they covered the Gannon story? (I wish TV news were searchable, too! But it’s not, so I’m asking you.)

CNN has covered the Gannon story. Have they yet made a mention of the Jordan story?

The NYTimes has covered Gannon. Has it covered Jordan?

Jeff Gannon on GoogleNews. Eason Jordan on GoogleNews.

: ABC Radio News called this morning on these stories. Their angle seemed to be that bloggers are a nasty mob going after people. I said this is about people having a voice and more voices and good (usual soundbite). They included in this the tale of the Baltimore mayor, below. I said that tale proved just how effective the internet is at getting to the truth, for in the old days, this stupid political hack would have smeared mud on an opponent in the background and here he did it on the internet and was found out for the smearer he was.

: UPDATE: Someone smart responded to Cox (above) with some points I’d like to make. The response was made on an email list and I didn’t get the OK to use his name so I’ll paraphrase the points:

He said that the real question and the real issue is whether the White House put a ringer in the press corps. If that happened, it’s a misuse of the power; it’s a fraud on the public. I absolutely agree with that.

What if the White House did not actively coconspire with “Gannon” to stack the press deck? Motive still matters. They surely knew he came from a — cough — friendly — cough — news service. If they didn’t let in someone from a service on the other side, then it’s still stacking the deck and that’s still wrong.

Next point: Kos was credentialed as a blogger and wasn’t given a rare space in a Presidential press conference and wasn’t called on by said President to ask a softball question. Fair point.

Is the only issue scarcity of seats or power of the event? Or is it consistency? Kos says he’s not a journalist but an advocate but he gets press passes. In a world of opinionated media and citizens’ media, I can argue in favor of that easily. But then we have to ask where is this OK and not: Is it OK to give an advocate a press pass at a political convention or on a campaign bus — but not OK at an FCC press conference or a White House press conference? If you give such passes to advocates from one side, should you give them to advocates from the other? It’s not a simple issue from either side of the prism.

Cox still has a point about — what should I call it? — hypocrisy, no? He complains about political advocate getting press access but he gets press access. I score that one for Cox.

But this respondent raises one more important point: There is a rhetorical trick in the air with people taking one perceived sin from one side and putting it against a perceived sin from the other side and thinking that is both equivalent and balanced. Are Gannon and Jordan equivalent and does reporting both of them make the reporter balanced? Ditto Bush’s and Kerry’s service records? It not only makes for fake column-a/column-b cable-news balance, it even motivates the press to go after somebody from one side when they start reporting on a scandal from the other side so it can seem balanced.

: UPDATE: The smart person paraphrased above is David Weinberger. Just got his OK to say that.

  • http://tarheelpundit.blogpsot.com/ John Branch

    If I remember correctly, Brit Hume discussed Gannon with Fox’s panel last night, and it got five or so minutes of discussion.

  • Bruce

    Say, Jeff, were you aware that you’re pushing “a poisonous ideological agenda”? Says so right here:
    http://blogs.salon.com/0003364/2005/02/10.html#a344
    It’s hard to be enough of a Democrat to satisfy the Salon crowd…

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Jeff, I think you would be right to focus on both of these as media stories, which I would summarize as follows:
    1) (Gannon) Is there still any useful definition of a “real” journalist? Or do we in fact have a continuum of trust which is not simply a matter of institutional affiliation.
    2) (Jordan) What does “off-the-record” mean in today’s world?
    3) (Jordan) What tradeoffs does an organization like CNN have to make in order to present a “view from nowhere”? Is such a perspective even useful, or does it objectively serve the interests of our enemies?
    4) (Both) When coverage of these two incidents by major media organs seems to track closely with whose ox is gored, isn’t it time to give up the pretense of objectivity and focus instead on what should be common standards of honesty(transparency, not making shit up).

  • http://the-unequivocal-notion.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Last night on Studio B w/ Shepard Smith the story was briefly covered. I did’t catch if O’Reilly or Hannity and Colmes, frankly I can only stomach them once or twice a week. So last night would have been an overdose.
    Here is a link to FoxNews.com that has a story about Gannon.

  • http://kelegraph.com kelly

    Also, a 2 paragraph mention on Tony Snow’s “Tony’s Takes” at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,147054,00.html
    “An embarrassment on the Right: A freelance

  • RF

    The “left” not satified with their role as thought police now moveon(.org) to morality police.
    Cool… cannot wait for the Kos (is that his real name?)and Falwell joint(haha) press conferences.
    Why has my party abandoned me?

  • http://www.hellblazer.com Hal

    Wow, does JJ know the difference between a white house press briefing and a “Western DNC event”?
    Apparently not.
    You’re earning your toady legs, JJ.

  • beetroot

    Jeff, I have to disagree with the notion that the Gannon story is a “media story.”
    The Jordan story can be described as such; it’s about the opinion/perspective of a media member, and not much more. (whether it’s a media story of consequence is another matter.)
    But the Gannon story is primarily interesting because it is about the Bush Administration and its media strategies. That is, it’s a public policy story about what the government is doing. Does the White House allow pseudononymous ringers to take up time in press conferences? Is it using pseudo-journalists to create fake news, or regurgitate admin spin? What does the White House do to push its stories?
    That’s the story here. And given that, it’s wrong to suggest that the Eason/Gannon stories are equally important left/right bookends. It’s of some interest if Gannon is freaked out or given to make intemperate statements when talking about journos getting killed. But it’s of much greater interest if the Bush administration is using fake journalists to create propaganda.
    The fact that Gannon’s family values credentials are questionable isn’t really important – all that’s really important is what the government is doing.

  • JSinger

    Their angle seemed to be that bloggers are a nasty mob going after people.
    What’s funny about this is that Gannon’s supposed sin is interrupting with a new question when Helen Thomas and the gang were badgering Scott McClellan with the same question over and over again. If we’re going to start demanding professionalism from mobs, how about starting with the mob of professionals?

  • JSinger

    Wow, does JJ know the difference between a white house press briefing and a “Western DNC event”?
    Hal, put aside for a moment that Jeff is quoting Robert Cox…
    I’m similarly confused — what is the “difference” that makes a routine Scott McClellan briefing a sanctum of journalistic purity while the Democratic National Convention is a free-for-all?

  • http://liesandstatistics.blogspot.com Shinobi

    Is there any place where we can find out the frequency of Bush/White House Reps answering questions of certain journalists? (without actually sitting on my butt and transcribing all of the tapes) I think it would be interesting to see if they actually favored him.

  • http://www.hellblazer.com Hal

    JSinger, apparently, “Hmmmmm” doesn’t mean anything to you.
    WRT DNC vs. WH
    Gee, one pretty much is a free for all and is a strictly partisan affair and the other is the communication of the most powerful head of state to those who he works for.
    Is that clear, or do we need more examples and explanation?

  • J. Peden

    I don’t think the WH is dumb enough to have created Gannon. If it did, it is dumb on this count. Why slow a winning horse? Little things become or can indicate big things. and so on.
    At the same time the question of how Gannon became credentialed is a valid concern, apart from the inanity of the MSM.
    Defying Alterman, I would be surprised if the CIA was behind it, but it is possible.
    I think Kos became credentialed because he looks like Barak Obama. And because Teddy Kennedy seems to like Osama Obama, whoever that is.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    TV news IS searchable Jeff… at least Fox, ABC and NBC as far as I can tell thus far. Google Video still needs to work out the kinks… but the Gannon discussion on Fox is easily accessible here – http://video.google.com/videopreview?q=gannon+hume&time=2905000&page=1&docid=3831169166002089751&urlcreated=1108149192&chan=Fox+News+Channel&prog=Special+Report+With+Brit+Hume&date=Thu+Feb+10+2005+at+9%3A00+PM+PST-
    You can search for other words in the discussion to see more of what was said.

  • http://oliverwillis.com Oliver

    WTF is the Jordan story? He said, she said, with neither side with much evidence of any sort on their side.

  • http://www.aboutwrite.com gregburton

    As noted above, there is no equivalency between Kos at DNC and Guckert at the WH. I predicted that this line of attack would emerge, though, so I’m gratified to be right. Despite the varieties of over-the top commentary on the whole thing, left and right, the NY Times got the story correctly – and it has very little to do with Guckert as Guckert, and even less to do with Kos.

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    He said, she said, with neither side with much evidence of any sort on their side.
    But Dodd and Frank are on the “she said” side, no? And isn’t there a tape? It would be interesting to see it (just as it will be interesting to find out the details of the issuance of press passes to “Gannon”).

  • Franky

    Are you just full-time deflector for the White House these days, constantly jumping on Kos whenever the most powerful administration in the world commits another one of its moral uglies?
    Leaving aside the fact that Kos didn’t act alone in rooting this guy out, Kos makes a decision to take a press pass when he’s an opinionated blogger. White House takes accreditation from news agency formed days beforehand, with a guy who’s using a fake name, who has no training as a journalist, whose job it seems was to deflect (while lying) uncomfrotable questions from the rest of the press. And these two somehow become equivalent?
    You know why a rabid partisan hack like Hewitt quotes you? Because you’re never the voice to let him down as he pushes his agenda. This is not about crossing partisan boundaries, this is about the deranged right (the equivalent of the “Bush=Hitler” crowd) knowing that you’ll cite kos as they get away with something else.
    And you know what if you’re going to make comparisons that are absolutely absurd (Kos/White House) why not start blogging about Coulter who said she wishes the military would start tragetting journalists instead of yet more blogging on Jordan?

  • EverKarl

    Oliver wrote:
    “WTF is the Jordan story? He said, she said, with neither side with much evidence of any sort on their side.”
    Gee, I dunno… let’s ask Clarence Thomas. Except in this case, David Gergen, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were there and all managed to be upset about it. And there is video.
    I do find it interesting that some people (e.g., hacks) are asserting that statements are not “evidence.” In a court, statements are the most common form of evidence. Of course, in court, if a party fails to produce evidence within his or her control, the jury may consider that against that party. Here, Jordan could ask the WEF to release the video, but he has not done so. A jury would also consider Jordan’s apparent pattern of claiming that U.S. troops and the IDF targeted, arrested, tortured, etc. in evaluating whether his explanation in this case is credible.

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    Jeff,
    Are you just full-time deflector for the White House these days, constantly jumping on Kos whenever the most powerful administration in the world commits another one of its moral uglies?
    I’m sorry, but I have to agree with this. For example, expressing your suspicion regarding possible election fraud on the part of Bush vis-a-vis withholding parts of the 9/11 report until after the election was an impressive masterstroke in your continuing effort to blindly protect this administration. Will your super-secret-right-wing-shill duplicity, skillfully masked by your frequent criticism of the administration, ever end?
    P.S. See you at the meeting when the crow flies at dawn. Wink, wink.

  • W Everett Dunn

    Well, This Gannon/Guckert thing gets fishy and rather complicated. JD Guckert went to West Chester University and was a frat brother at TKE. In the minutes of their May 1st 2004 meeting they raised questions whether he was CIA or NSA or such before that meeting and he answered back he was a reporter. This is odd at least. Not to mention that John J “Jack” Devine former CIA Director of Ops graduated from that small school too. Albeit Jack graduated long before Guckert got there. Odd indeed.

  • http://www.personaldemocracy.com Micah Sifry

    Maybe this is a tempest in a teapot? I mean, isn’t the real issue all the ways the Presidency has become more imperial and sealed off from the people, in what ostensibly is still a democracy? Yeah, I’m amused/outraged to learn that this White House gave a press pass to a ringer, but what about all those so-called professional journalists who ask nothing but softball questions, too? Anybody need to watch the tape of the infamous press conference on the even of the Iraq War, when peacocks of the press all stumbled over their ties and red dresses in abject acquiescence? By bumping Gannon, are they making room for someone who will ask tough questions? (And, really, given that the White House press office, whether controlled by a Democrat or a Republican, long ago learned that it could tame the professional journalists by offering or withholding access, including threatening to push them to a back row or out of the press room entirely, do we really expect any of these men and women of the Fourth Estate to prove that they’re not all that different from “Jeff Gannon”?)

  • Hunter McDaniel

    The US press conference is and always has been a poor substitute for the British custom of Question Time.
    Hardball/Softball is beside the point. Most of the questions at the typical press conference are just so damn lame. The press corps are so caught up in their games of gotcha, that informing the public has become secondary.

  • stevek

    Micah, I think you’ve said it all. The ‘press’ has become a mechanism of government propaganda, and little more. There is no liberal bias or conservative bias – just a general worship of the State, coupled with meek and abject adoration of anyone with the charismatic virtue of ‘leadership’…
    Every institution is ever more bent to the central, Imperial will. And the people have utterly abandoned the cause of freedom: some are seduced by the illusory glories of war, others by utopian fantasies of how fair and just the would could be. Sadly, it seems that Americans, like other people, are willing to allow themselves to be deceived (the rationalizations of the right on the Gannon affair are just astounding) if they find the deception flattering.

  • anna

    Wow, Eason Jordan resigned. Without releasing the tapes, one is left with the impression he more than stuck his foot in his mouth, rather than backpedaling, he dug in deeper.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Next time there’s a Democratic administration, can we heave out all of the liberal reporters and replace them with conservative reporters? Why is it only unethical for a Republican administration to have someone sympathetic in the pool?
    The other night, PBS promoted a new Frontline piece featuring “unprecendented access” to the Bush White House, similar to the “unprecedented access” that Bob Woodward and many other media have had, including embedded reporters in Iraq. At what point do we acknowledge that this administration actually has a policy of giving reporters *more* access than most administrations in the past, and stop pretending, because we hatehatehate them, that they are scary-secretive and call it “unprecedented” every two days when they actually aren’t?
    As a dreadful scary neocon, even I’d be angry if it turned out that the White House was going out of its way to eject unfriendly reporters, but geez, they deserve at least some balance. A criminal on trial at least gets his own lawyer, for goodness sakes. Gannon probably was ill-advisedly let into the pool because he seemed like one potentially friendly face in a sea of antagonists, but I just can’t see how there’s anything there that threatens democracy.
    Until there’s some sign that Democrats are more willing to allow challenges from the right themselves, instead of whining every time the right gets access to media, they have absolutely zero credibility on this issue.

  • Jim S

    For those who try to make a comparison between Kos getting into a major DNC event and “Gannon” getting into a White House press conference there is a simple answer/question. How many press passes were issued for the DNC event? How many reporters got into the White House news conference? Also, Kos makes no bones about who he is. How well known and clearly admitted is the Talon/GOPUSA relationship?

  • wayne

    The WH press office should have been more upfront about the credentialing if they wanted to practice affirmative action and try to balance the tendentious polemics of the Helen Thomas’s in the WH press corps. If they weren’t upfront and aboveboard they were wrong.

  • Kat

    Good quote here–I hope he sues the ass off some people and wins.
    {There are more than a few angles to this story, but that

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Up front in what way, Wayne? The man wasn’t an invisible spook, or working behind closed doors. Was someone supposed to make a loud announcement and issue a press release every time a right winger entered the room?
    This aspect of the story is political hypocrisy, and is a thinly veiled extension of the DemocraticUnderground-type belief that right wing policy is defacto criminal, and so all right wingers are therefore criminals. The very existence of a right wing reporter is suspicious and must be explained. Why? Because he’s right wing. Try to do that with any other group, and you’ll see how perverse a practice it is.
    Why didn’t the administration warn us there was a black reporter in the pool? The White House should have been more up front about the existence of a journalist from the Green party. That reporter from the AsianNews.com… the AsianNews.com isn’t a *real* news organization, is it?

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Nice to see the new standard is “well, let’s drag sex into it if we can’t get attention for what he’s done any other way.” Not a tad hypocritical coming from a hard-core Democrat… nope, not at all.

  • rosignol

    WRT DNC vs. WH
    Gee, one pretty much is a free for all and is a strictly partisan affair and the other is the communication of the most powerful head of state to those who he works for.
    Is that clear, or do we need more examples and explanation?
    Do you really think that the Presidency is a nonpartisan office? Did you *intend* to say that the President works for the DC press corps?