Friday, February 18, 2005
Wha' the f....?
"The last thing our nation needs is for anyone in the White House to concern themselves with the private lives of reporters. What right does the White House have to decide who gets to be a reporter based on private lives?"
--Ari Fleischer to Editor & Publisher
According to E&P:
--Fleischer said he did not know much about Guckert and could not recall exactly when he started covering press briefings.
--He said he did not know at the time that Guckert had been using a false name and did not know if Scott McClellan, now press secretary but then Fleischer's aide had known then either.
--He said he did not know the method the White House Press Office used to keep records [Fleischer was the head of the White House Press Office]
--Fleischer stressed that he did not go to Guckert more often than others or in the hopes of getting a "softball"
--Fleischer said he purposely did not get involved in deciding who should get passes…”It was such a low-level thing that it would be below the radar of the press secretary.”
--He recalled that there was a rule about credentialed reporters being part of news organizations.
--Fleischer also said Guckert was "just as legitimate as some of the fringe organizations in the room."
GOPUSA's Bobby Eberle
Anne Kornblut of the New York Times, in her curiously unlinked from the NYT homepage rewrite of the E&P story this morning, interestingly rephrases Fleischer’s description of his call to GOPUSA head Bobby Eberle:
Fleischer said a telephone conversation that he had with the organization's president and chief executive, Robert R. Eberle, satisfied him that the writer met his one standard for access to the West Wing briefing room, that he was not directly financed by a political party.
In her story’s final paragraphs Ms. Kornbult reports on a Thursday evening interview with current White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan who repeats a claim previously made to E&P and, then, elaborates:
McClellan, said on Thursday night that Mr. Guckert had used his real name in applying for day passes…About two dozen reporters are given one-day passes.
Crediting “current and former White House officials” Kornblut also says:
In Mr. Guckert's case, after he had established himself as a reporter, he faced no further questions about his credentials when he called seeking access.
Kornblut also reports that “972 hard passes are in circulation.”
She, however, does not mention yesterday’s web-published reports that videotapes of White House briefings show Gannon asking questions two months prior to the creation of Talon News.
Also, yesterday, bloggers uncovered further links between Gannon and John Thune’s campaign against former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
A January 28th post on Poli’s Blog was reported and linked to by Josh Marshall:
Conservative activists in the state also tout a series of stories written by Jeff Gannon, the Washington bureau chief for TalonNews.com, as their ultimate proof of bias.
Modified Image: Google, AmericaBlog.org- A Man Called Jeff, Houston Chronicle