Was Jeff Gannon a “Fake White House Reporter”?

Mr. Gannon has objected to my characterization to him as a “fake White House reporter.”

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.

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About Robert Freedland

A concerned American and supporter of Senator John Kerry, I am the author of the blog "John Kerry for President 2008". I am also the author of the stock market investing blog, "Stock Picks Bob's Advice".
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14 Responses to Was Jeff Gannon a “Fake White House Reporter”?

  1. Pingback: Was Jeff Gannon a “Fake White House Reporter”? | Political news - democrats republicans socialists greens liberals conservatives

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    That’s fairly novel. A source as authoratative as “Jeff Gannon” says that “Jeff Gannon” created quite a controversial, but scholarly body of work that no one has been able to refute. Likewise, the incredibly famous book by “Jeff Gannon” goes hog wild debunking any number of important things, and the truth contained therein has passed unassailed.

    Well that settles it for me. The dude clearly gets the prize!

  3. rabb046 says:

    Fake reporter. True shitbag.

  4. rabb046

    That says it all.

  5. Pingback: The Moderate Voice

  6. Progressive Patriot says:

    Bill Clinton tried to help Monica get a job, it only makes sense that George would try to get his lover a job as a reporter.

  7. Bill Corto says:

    Does anybody else besides me think there was a connection, and not just political, between Gannon/Guckert and Karl Rove?

  8. Does anybody else besides me think there was a connection, and not just political, between Gannon/Guckert and Karl Rove?

    Let’s just say that it would not be surprising for a political operation that uses the most heavy-handed means possible for controlling the media narrative to… use the most heavy-handed means possible for controlling the media narrative.

  9. Pingback: StealthBadger.net » Blog Archive » As Bob Somerby might say…

  10. Russ Weiss says:

    Nowhere did I see mentioned Gannon’s overnight stays at the White House, at least according to Secret Service in/out records.

    I think he and Scotty McClellan had a thing going.

  11. azportsider says:

    I don’t see why you need to pick on Gannon, er, Guckert…well, whatever name he’s using this week. He was no more a fake reporter than anyone else in the White House Stenography Pool, er, Press Corpse. Excepting only Helen Thomas, may the gods bless her.

  12. doug says:

    Clinton had his heterosexual Monica. Bush had his homosexual prostitute Jeff. There certainly was a change in the White House once Dubya took over.

  13. Margie Burns says:

    FIY: Here is an email that Mr. Guckert sent me after I had written about the WH Secret Service access logs, repeatedly accusing me of lying as you see. For the record, I stand by what I wrote. See below.

    [Gannon-Guckert’s creepy email to me:]

    You wrote:

    “On February 25, 2003, the White House began allowing entry by a right-wing
    writer called Jeff Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, as shown by
    Secret Service White House access logs obtained through FOIA by
    Representatives John Conyers and Louise Slaughter. Gannon’s access was
    apparently designed to help the White House handle press briefings and press
    conferences by salting the discussion with friendly questions.” – This is an
    outright lie, there is no evidence to support this claim.

    “Given the extensive manipulation going on in the White House as exposed by
    the Libby trial, Guckert — who declines to answer questions about his work
    at the White House — may also have helped coordinate information on which
    journalists would be willing to boost the march to war.” – This is also a
    lie. I have never declined to answer questions about my work at the White
    House, in fact I have just finished writing a book that discusses the
    subject in great detail. Further, the conspiracy you allege concerning
    other journalists is absurd.

    “On March 6, 2003, the president gave a rare White House press conference —
    devoted almost entirely to scripted ‘questions’ inviting administration
    remarks about Iraq, submitted for approval beforehand by reporters whom Bush
    called upon in the press conference according to a prearranged list, as he
    revealed at the time.” – This is also a lie. The President has a list of a
    number of reporters from the major news organizations that he usually calls
    on first. The list is to make sure he doesn’t leave anyone out that MUST be
    called on (since doing so would spawn another conspiracy theory.) There are
    NEVER scripted questions from the White House.

    Margie, I am gently correcting you in this way for two reasons. First, the
    claims you make are false and libelous and I will take action at some point to correct the record. Second, when my book is published, you will appear
    foolish if you persist in continuing to spread these falsehoods.

    Be well,

    Jeff Gannon”

    [I did indeed email him asking about those WH access logs, and he did indeed refuse to answer questions about his WH access. Then I emailed him back, politely, and he did not answer.]