According to Merriam-Webster “fake” means “counterfeit or sham” when used as an adjective. Following this line, “counterfeit” is defined as “made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive”. And “sham” means “an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine.”
So was Mr. Gannon a real reporter? And does a real reporter report to a real news service or agency?
As this article by Sidney Blumenthal relates:
“For almost two years, in the daily White House press briefings Gannon had been called upon by press secretary Scott McClellan to break up difficult questioning from the rest of the press. On Fox News, one host hailed him as “a terrific Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent”. Gannon was frequently quoted and highlighted as an expert guest on rightwing radio shows. But who was Gannon? His strange non-question to the president inspired inquiry. Talon News is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a group of Texas Republicans. Gannon’s most notable article had asserted that John Kerry “might some day be known as ‘the first gay President’”.
Gannon also got himself entangled in the investigation into the criminal disclosure of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent by the Bush administration to discover whether Saddam Hussein was procuring uranium in Niger for nuclear weapons. He learned that the suspicion was bogus; appalled that the administration lied about nuclear WMD to justify the Iraq war, he wrote an article in the New York Times about his role after the war.
In retaliation, Plame’s CIA cover was blown by administration officials. Gannon had called up Wilson to ask him about a secret CIA memo supposedly proving that his wife had sent him on the original mission to Niger, prompting the special prosecutor in the case to question Gannon about his “sources”.
His real name, it turned out, is James Dale Guckert. He has no journalistic background whatsoever. His application for a press credential to cover the Congress was rejected. But at the White House the press office arranged for him to be given a new pass every single day, a deliberate evasion of the regular credentialing that requires an FBI security check. It was soon revealed. “Gannon” owned and advertised his services as a gay escort on more than half a dozen websites with names like Militarystud.com, MaleCorps.com, WorkingBoys.net and MeetLocalMen.com, which featured dozens of photographs of “Gannon” in dramatic naked poses. One of the sites was still active this week.
Thus a phony journalist, planted by a Republican organisation, used by the White House press secretary to interrupt questions from the press corps, protected from FBI vetting by the press office, disseminating smears about its critics and opponents, some of them gay-baiting, was unmasked not only as a hireling and fraud but as a gay prostitute, with enormous potential for blackmail.”
But of course that article is from a British Newspaper. And a liberal one at that the Guardian. Not really as authoritative a source as Talon News, now defunct after the Gannon affair.
I am glad that Mr. Gannon has gotten a book published. I look forward to reading it. I am glad that he had articles written. But it is not clear how he managed to get into the White House Press Pool as a representative of a pseudo-news service that folded quickly after his problems surfaced. I haven’t read of any real credentials that Mr. Gannon had to qualify him to be a reporter, and everything I have read indicates he was there as a sham. As unreal as the FEMA news conference recently revealed.
Read Jeff Gannon’s response here.