Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Smoking Gun in the White House

Here's a great posting we're reposting here. Its originally from the politics forum of We have no association with the author other than admiring her logic:

The Smoking Gun in the White House

February 15, 2005

By: Melissa Carr
Independent Media TV

Material about:
Bush Administration Lies and Deceit

Material about:
Top Stories Ignored By U.S. Media

I rarely like to dwell in liberal vs. conservative arguments, as I don’t think simplifying our nation as two distinct groups serves a valid purpose. But the latest media scandal to rock those who pride themselves as conservatives is too tantalizing to simply ignore. First, we had Armstrong Williams quietly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in government money to push the No Child Left Behind initiative on his televised broadcasts. Next came Maggie Gallagher’s admission that she was paid to promote Bush’s marriage initiative, though she insisted that contract didn’t influence her op/ed column. Sure it didn’t, Maggie. This time around the exposed conservative sycophant in question is Jeff Gannon. Or should I say James Guckert? For all intense purposes, I’ll refer to him as Gannon.

Gannon resigned this week from his position in the elite White House press corps. An Associated Press article suggested that his resignation was fueled by a recent “pointed” conservative question for President Bush. It also hinted at his link to several gay pornography websites. The real news story is not what the Associated Press said, but rather what they left out.

First and foremost, online bloggers are to thank for exposing this entire scandal. The White House failed to realize Gannon was using a phony name as it gave him top access, and corporate media journalists seemed to turn the other cheek while this shady character was sitting in their midst. Yet a few observant bloggers on the website DailyKos persevered in their online Mystery Machine and ultimately exposed Gannon as a fraud.

A number of troubling questions emerge with this latest exposé. The most troubling involves the criteria for obtaining a White House press pass. Journalists are eligible for ‘hard passes’ or ‘daily passes’, and the decision is ultimately based on whether the news outlet they serve is deemed a valid one. In Gannon’s case, he worked for a website called A Texas Republican allegedly operates the site, and there is no evidence it is valid news source. Most of its articles are copy/pasted from other sites, and even then it doesn’t bother attributing credit where credit is due.

Gannon insists that he applied for daily press passes with his driver’s license and he never had to reveal his real name. Hmmm…. I was not aware that it was legal to obtain a driver’s license under a bogus name. Hopefully Gannon can clear this up at a future date. I would hope the Office of Homeland Security would want clarification on this matter, too!! I also hope Gannon will also address concerns by another White House correspondent, Dana Milbank, who insisted on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC program that Gannon’s press pass appeared to be the permanent ‘hard pass’ variety complete with photo identification. That suggests the White House knew he was a fraud but allowed him to participate anyway.

Another most fascinating question that has arisen from the Gannon scandal involves the question of who is or isn’t a journalist. Gannon’s website no longer portrays his ‘bragging right’ as being a graduate of the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism, but others have archived his ‘meticulous academic record’. What’s wrong with Gannon’s story? Listen closely.

The Leadership Institute is a conservative tax-exempt organization operated by Morton Blackwell since 1979. The ‘journalism’ school Gannon graduated from is a two-day, $50 conservative workshop that promises its students the following:

·Learn how to find good internships and make the most of them ·Gain networking skills to help you land your job and increase your effectiveness ·Develop a top-notch resume and learn how to make yourself stand out in an interview ·Learn a proven, step-by-step job hunting strategy and much more

Interestingly, the Leadership Institute asks its potential customers if they know what Larry King, Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings, and Bill Clinton all have in common. Besides the fact that all 4 have been on television, there is no common similarity. Walters has an English degree and is known to make people cry during interviews. Jennings has been in broadcast since he was 9 years old and is an anchorman. Clinton has NO journalistic experience. And Larry King has years of broadcast experience but is still no more credible than Oprah or Dr. Phil when it comes to hard news. Does the Leadership Institute think that appearing on television is a worthy commonality to peddle its broadcast journalism program???

The media placement and recruitment coordinator for the institute is Denise Chaykun. Chaykun is a recent graduate of Bucknell University, and her majors were history and psychology. How does a recent history and psychology graduate now qualify as a media expert who can recruit and place people in the field of journalism?

Does a two-day workshop really make someone a viable contender for a journalism job these days? There is hard news and there is soft news. There are feature stories, op/ed articles, sports spreads, and hard news. That anyone, especially through an admitted program that does little to hide its biased slant, could think that he/she could learn the ropes of journalism in two days seems to show how some conservatives prefer sharing their opinions instead of disseminating factual information per the media.

The same organization claims it can teach people how to write like Congressional champions in a single day. It promises to “take you to the top and teach you the writing skills every Chief-of-Staff demands.” As an English instructor, I’m not sure whether I should be alarmed by this organization’s claim or by the possibility that Congressional writing is so substandard it can be learned in a day.

I must admit, I’m a bit curious about the Leadership Institute’s Internet activism workshop that claims it can teach its students the ropes of “guerilla Internet activism.” I’ll overlook the typo of the word “guerrilla” because I’m more interested in knowing the definition of guerrilla Internet activism. The term “guerrilla” conjures up notions of warfare, yet I’m not quite sure why a tax-exempt, non-profit organization would be doing that.

The last question to be raised is the bombshell that Gannon was questioned for his role in the Valerie Plame/CIA media leak investigation. How did a $50 ‘journalist’ manage to get his hands on such sensitive information? And when he testified during a federal grand jury, which of his names did he use?

It is only after these questions are thoroughly answered that I might be able to fathom how certain conservative circles are touting their moral values as righteous compared to the ones I know.


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