RE: George Bush - The "Propaganda President" ?
Congresswoman Asks for Probe After 'Gannon' Quits WH Reporting Post
By Joe Strupp
Published: February 09, 2005 updated 2:00 PM ET
NEW YORK Jeff Gannon, the controversial reporter for conservative Web site Talon News who drew complaints for gaining access to White House press events, resigned from his job last night amid liberal blogs' allegations about his real name and his personal and professional life.
Today, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to President Bush asking him to "address the matter" in light of "mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies."
Last night, in a message on his Web site (www.jeffgannon.com), Gannon announced: "Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life. Thank you to all those who supported me."
In an e-mail to E&P last Friday, not published until now, Gannon wrote: "Much has been made about whether I use a professional name or not, but I am reluctant to provide information one way or another because of the threats that have been made against my person, property and family in both internet postings ... as well as in e-mails that I have forwarded to law enforcement. I'm sure you understand."
E&P has not been able to reach Gannon again today.
Gannon, whose real name, according to investigators at DailyKos and other blogs, is James "J.D." Guckert, first gained attention several weeks ago when he asked a question at a presidential press conference that some in the press corps considered so friendly it might have been planted. Later it was revealed by E&P that Gannon had been turned down last year for a congressional press pass because he could not prove his employer was a valid news organization. That denial barred him from receiving a White House "hard pass," allowing regular access to White House press events.
But Gannon had been obtaining daily White House press passes, a situation that had irked some veteran White House reporters who also questioned his credentials or considered him to be too partisan in his questioning.
Gannon's refusal to deny he used a fake name sparked investigations by a number of blogs, including Daily Kos, Eschaton, and World O' Crap, that probed his true identity. In addition, those sites posted allegations yesterday that Web sites such as hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, were registered to the same owner as Gannon's personal Web site, according to the blog MediaCitizen.
In her letter to President Bush, Rep. Slaughter charged that "it appears that 'Mr. Gannon's' presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration."
Dan Froomkin, the Washington Post columnist, said today in an online chat, "I had less of a beef with Gannon than I did with the folks who actually on him (at press conferences)." He said "the heat should be on" Bush spokesman Scott McClellan: "Why did he call on Gannon? Did they ever pre-arrange anything? Did they have contact with his parent organization?"
Another intriguing issue is his involvement, along with better known Robert Novak, Judith Miller and others, in the Valerie Plame/CIA episode. His name turned up on a list of reporters targeted for questioning by the federal prosecutor in the case. Froomkin of the The Washington Post wrote last spring that "the reason Gannon is on the list is most likely an attempt to find out who gave him a secret memo that he mentioned in an interview he had with Plame's husband, former ambassador and administration critic Joseph Wilson."
The Talon News site today scrubbed its archives of many "Gannon" articles and removed his biography.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address