Jejudo, South Korea
Personally, I don't have a problem with this guy. All administrations have certain member of the press in their pocket. What's different perhaps is that this guy is proud of being a stooge.
Taken from the Boston Globe, Feb. 5.
The Bush administration has provided White House media credentials to a man who has virtually no journalistic background, asks softball questions to the president and his spokesman in the midst of contentious news conferences, and routinely reprints long passages verbatim from official press releases as original news articles on his website.
1. The man has no journalistic background.
Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for TalonNews.com, a website that says it is "committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers." It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, a website that touts itself as "bringing the conservative message to America."
2. false advertising.
Now, the question of how Gannon gets into White House press conferences is coming under intense scrutiny from critics who contend that Gannon is not a journalist but rather a White House tool to soften media coverage of Bush.
3. Show me the money!
The issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers, who linked Gannon's presence in White House briefings to recent controversies over whether the administration manipulates the flow of information to the public.
4. No, he doesn't manipulate the media, he just tells you what the White House says, word for word. Yeah, but does he use quotes?
These include the disclosure that the Education Department secretly paid columnist Armstrong Williams to promote its education policy and the administration's practice of sending out video press releases about its policies that purport to be "news stories" by fake journalists.
5. This is what it's all about.
. . . transcripts of White House briefings indicate that McClellan often calls on Gannon and that the press secretary -- and the president -- have found relief in a question from Gannon after critical lines of questioning from mainstream news organizations.
6. Ahhh, the plot thickens.
When Bush called on Gannon near the end of his nationally televised Jan. 26 news conference, he had just been questioned about Williams and the Education Department funds, an embarrassment to the administration. Gannon's question was different.
"Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the US economy," Gannon said. "[Minority Leader] Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you said you're going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
7. One, he gets the the paraphrase wrong. It's actually from Rush. Two, he gets his news and quotes from Rush?
As it turned out, Reid had never talked about soup lines. That was a phrase attributed to him in satire by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.
Last year, during the presidential campaign, Gannon's comments could be even more pointed. In a Feb. 10, 2004, briefing with McClellan, for example, Gannon rose to deliver the following:
"Since there have been so many questions about what the president was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard? Did he make speeches alongside Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam? Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam? And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting?"
8. Remember, this is a briefing with Scott McClellan. I find this absolutely hilarious. This is a reporter? Like I said, this a guy who doesn't even pretend.
. . . many of the reports Gannon filed for Talon News "appeared to be lifted verbatim from various White House and Republican political committee documents."
9. Yeah, but did he use quotes?
. . . Gannon declined to comment. He did reply to Brock's group on his personal blog: "In many cases I have liberally used the verbiage provided on key aspects of the issue because it is the precise expression of where the White House stands -- free of any 'spin.' It's the ultimate in journalistic honesty -- unvarnished and unfiltered. If only others would be as forthcoming."
10. Yep, plagiarism is the ultimate in journalistic honestly.
Is any of this important? No, not really unless something turns up in the Plame, CIA operative scandal, it's not that big a deal.
Ratner works for Fox News and Worldnetdaily. She probably wouldn't be working there if she wasn't biased.