The ties between prostitute turned White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon and Senior Bush Advisor Karl Rove are receiving wider attention in the blogosphere and mainstream media this morning.
Gannon’s foreknowledge of 2003’s Shock and Awe operation, reported exclusively yesterday on AmericaBlog.org, is highly suggestive that the political operative’s mentor is a significant player in the upper reaches of the Bush administration.
According to an on line column by a woman described as a “Senior Political Editor for CBS News”:
Rove's dominance of White House and Republican politics…make it hard to believe that he [Gannon] wasn't at least implicitly sanctioned by the "boy genius”…[Gannon] was a player in Republican campaigns and his work in the South Dakota Senate race illustrates the role he played.
The highly interesting Nashua Advocate advances the plausible idea that mentor and mentee initially met through the auspices of Morton C. Blackwell’s Youth Leadership School, the home of the infamous $50 2-day journalism seminar.
The Advocate quotes the organizations’ glossy YouthLeadership.org web site:
On a weekly basis our interns meet with some of the conservative movement's top 'movers and shakers’… From Congressmen to Supreme Court Justices to heads of major public policy groups, interns receive personal mentoring.
As a service to the busy power conservative, the Youth Leadership School also maintains a job bank for its eager, aggressive graduates to more easily hook a born-again political sugar daddy:
Resumes arrive within 24 hours, so you can begin to fill open positions immediately. Our prospective candidates can fill every position from chief-of-staff to press secretary.
The informative and amusing Advocate snarks:
Wow! Are you saying you can find a high-priced gay prostitute with an eerie military fetish to pose for more than two years as a credible White House "journalist" in less than twenty-four hours?
But as a Lincoln contemporary once described the 16th President’s male sleeping companions so Jeff Gannon dismissed reports of his X-rated web sites as "so much … stuff" in his second semi-tell-kinda-all tête á tête with corduroy-wearing Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz.
The truth-impaired former male prostitute, fresh from his timorous eye-shifting session with CNN’s aggressive cutie-pie Anderson Cooper last evening, tells Howie that reports of White House coddling and friendships are:
"Absolutely, completely, totally untrue”… "I have no friendships with anyone there.”
It seems that this coordinated end of week effort by someone powerful enough to trot out the tongue-loosened Gannon, a Press Secretary or two and even a President in a brief, non-Gannon and under-reported February 17th Q&A has failed to stem the tide of the GannonGate tsunami.
1998 Leesberg, VA Christmas party
For example, Jeff Gannon’s attendance at a 1998 suburban Washington Christmas sex orgy, reported yesterday by the Washington Blade, wasn’t the only festive holiday event attended by the prostitute turned reporter over the last several years.
Last evening, MediaMatter.org drew wider attention to overlooked implications stemming from statements Gannon made as the scandal was first breaking on the internet during his February 11th Editor & Publisher interview:
"I only met Karl Rove once, at the media Christmas party at the White House in 2003. I was waiting in line for my 'grip and grin' with the president and he passed by. I introduced myself to him, he said hello, and he moved on.” He said he also attended the 2004 Christmas party.
As Media Matters points out, the White House Press Secretary plays a “significant role in arranging the guest list for the Christmas parties" and offers examples of this fact and the staff intensity focused upon the guest list from press reporting during the first Bush presidency, the Clinton presidency and the current Bush occupation of the White House:
From 1992- “Some national correspondents… have apparently been unceremoniously axed from the annual White House Christmas party list. ... Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, who's said to be wielding the ax for the half-dozen gigs, didn't return a call."
From 1995-“The season takes a toll… 'It's 16- to 18-hour days for a month…'Now everyone can turn to their personal Christmas.'"
From 2002-“Fleischer offered to have [the] manager of the White House press office, work as a clearinghouse to sort invitations [to the White House Correspondents Dinner]… the invitation task was not as bad as the job she had in December of overseeing the invitations to the White House Christmas party”
The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin (scroll down to "Turned Away" and "Kicked Out"), just yesterday in an on line posting, offered evidence that this White House is still meticulous in "grooming" lowly but possibly irksome attendees from the President's faux Social Security Town Hall Meetings:
Before the band finished 'Hail To The Chief,' a squad of Portsmouth cops swooped in to unceremoniously 'escort' this 52-year-old guy with a bad leg and a hole in his liver out of the hangar and halfway across the parking lot.
Images: AP, AmericaBlog.org, Washington Blade
Shock ‘n Gannon!
On March 27, 2003, during the same month that Talon News was registered as a web domain name, Jeff Gannon, the male prostitute turned fake White House Correspondent, told “a news producer for a major network” “four hours before President Bush announced it to the nation” that the Top Secret Shock and Awe Campaign that launched the Iraq War would soon begin, according to a 9:57am post by John Aravosis on AmericaBlog.org.
According to Aravosis’ source:
Gannon specifically told them that in four hours the president was going to be making a speech to the nation announcing the "shock and awe" campaign had begun. The producer told me they were surprised that Gannon, working with such a small news outfit, could have access to such information, but "what did you know, he was right," the producer said today. The producer went on to say that Gannon often had correct scoops on major stories.
Aside from this announcement being major news, which it most certainly is, Aravosis’ exclusive brings to mind another sex scandal that consumed Washington and a young reporter with a string of curious exclusives.
It was 1998 and rumors swirled around the sudden resignation of up and coming young Congressman Bill Paxon and the shocking alleged suicide of congressional daily newspaper The Hill reporter and weekend C-SPAN Journal host Sandy Hume.
Congressman Paxon resigns
According to an undated online report by Charlie Finch on ArtNet.com that I can attest to being on the web for the last several years:
Hume, the son of Fox News chief and former ABC White House correspondent Brit Hume, broke the story of Paxon's revolt against Speaker Newt Gingrich last summer in The Hill, a daily congressional newspaper. As a result, Paxon stepped down as minority whip, but retained his seat, and Sandy Hume was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
According to our source at The [Baltimore] Sun, Paxon…notified House Republicans in January that he intended to challenge House majority leader Dick Armey for his post, the number 2 position in the House. Armey, who has a reputation as a master practitioner of dirty pool, then allegedly threatened to expose a purported homosexual relationship between Paxon and Sandy Hume, which had generated Hume's scoop.
Driven insane at the prospect of disclosure, Hume apparently go so drunk while speeding towards Washington from a Bethesda, Maryland NBA game, that he was hauled off to jail by cops, where Hume attempted to hang himself with his own shoelace. Inexplicably, Hume was sent home on his own, where it appears he put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Two days later, Rep. Paxon, often mentioned as a future House Speaker, shocked Washington by resigning his seat, saying that he would "never run for office again" and that he had "no immediate prospects for a job."
According to a March 9, 1998 Intelligencer Briefing on New YorkMetro.com:
The late Hill reporter Sandy Hume had just finished his first feature for George magazine before his February 22 suicide. The topic? Bill Paxon. Hume, the 28-year-old son of Fox News’s Brit Hume, made news last year when he broke the story that the Buffalo congressman was part of a group trying to oust House leader Newt Gingrich. Hume’s recent work on former congresswoman Susan Molinari’s husband analyzes the congressman’s political origins and future.
Like the matter involving Craig T. Spence in 1989, Paxon and Hume quickly vanished from the minimal coverage afforded them on the media stage.
Modified and Unmodified Images: Google, jeffgannon.com, CNN
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
This morning, the twisting tale of prostitute turned White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon generated additional unsettling storylines, as it largely remained the unseen elephant in the American corporate media’s living room.
The first curious new storyline, discovered by the blog Intelligence Squad, found a discrepancy with the stated start date of Mr. Gannon’s appearances in the White House Briefing Room.
Gannon, born James Dale Guckert, claimed in an interview published by Editor & Publisher that he “first attended a presidential press conference in April 2003…just weeks after starting with Talon News.”
According to research by IntelligenceSquad.com and video uncovered by other bloggers, Gannon was in the briefing room and soft-ball questioning Ari Fleischer on February 28, 2003, two months before his supposedly credentialed news service, Talon News, even existed.
This fact means that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan joins Jeff Gannon as having been caught lying in supposedly exculpatory public statements.
Three days ago McClellan told E&P, seemingly the preferred faux confessional vehicle for GannonGate, that aliases are common in everyday life and that:
"He [Gannon] was cleared in and received day passes under his legal name…In terms of the news organization, he showed he represented a news organization that published regularly…”
So, dispite Mr. McClellan’s claim, Gannon managed to appear in the White House and question a press secretary without the benefit of an association with any news organization, legitimate or not.
The second unsettling storyline was posted in a DemocraticUnderground.com forum and suggests collusion among the leadership of the Democratic and Republican campaigns during 2004:
Jeff Gannon worked for Talon News. Talon News and GOPUSA… The members of the board of directors are mostly active GOP Operatives from Texas.Board member, Richard M. Powell is the Managing Director for Quinn Gillespie & Assoc. LLC. Gillespie is none other than Ed Gillespie who was on a 'leave of absence' running the RNC for the 2004 Election…[while Quinn] is a fellow named Jack Quinn, a top DEM DC lobbyist.
Following on the Democratic Underground forum posting, UnknownNews.org reports:
Marc Lampkin, a Quinn Gillespie lobbyist, was a Bush campaign manager, while another employee of the firm, Bruce Andrews, was political director for the Kerry/Edwards coordinating committee in Pennsylvania. Yet another employee, Manuel Ortiz, was involved in the overall leadership structure of the Democratic Party, including both policy and fundraising, raising money for Kerry.
This equally unreported stunner adds a subtly different flavor to Democratic candidate John Kerry’s oft-reported curious campaign behavior including his, what some considered, premature decision to concede the presidency.
Others on line in a wide variety of forums and comments areas are also suggesting a connection between Gannon and the 1989 Bush I callboy ring with the possibility of ongoing sexual blackmail in the nation’s capitol as a primary factor in many of Washington’s otherwise inexplicable decisions and behaviors.
I would urge you, dear reader, to take direct actions like telephoning or emailing members of Congress and the media and expressing your desire for a full investigation of these matters.
No matter Gannon’s absence from mainstream media’s center stage, the story which has set the blogosphere aflame (or, is that aPlame?) has achieved a new level with today’s published columns by Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of the New York Times and former Clinton Senior Advisor Sidney Blumenthal of the London Guardian.
Images: C-SPAN, Google
At The Gates...
c. 2005 Universal Press Syndicate
I have hero-worshipped this brilliant cartoonist for more years than I care to remember.
I'm proud that I, once met him and prouder still that I managed to get my grabby mits on an original drawing 25 long years ago.
Oliphant's glorious profession, some have argued, is doomed but I think this funny and on point political cartoon proves otherwise.
Punk the Penguin, I know, would agree that Pat drew Nixon better than Nixon was Nixon and that GannonGate will prove another cartooning triumph for this master of ink and art board.
Follow the link and enjoy the work of a living treasure working amid the smoking wreckage of what was once the free American press.
Image: Washington Post
Another Cold Queen
The Independent is reporting, this morning, that Her Britannic Majesty Betty Windsor is, perhaps, “less insulated” than our own beloved queens in Washington.
As the Kyoto Pact, today, goes into effect seemingly everywhere but a large northern hemisphere superpower, the London newspaper is reporting:
Photographs taken using a thermal imaging camera reveal large amounts of hot air escaping…Buckingham Palace, where heat is seen disappearing through its large windows.
The paper also deadpans that large amounts of hot air are escaping “the Houses of Parliament.”
Image: laubach.ca, Google
Gannon Goes Mainstream
John Aravosis of AmericaBlog.org and author of Monday’s A Man Called Jeff post, this morning, links to a Howard Kurtz Washington Post article on l’affair Gannon, GannonGate or, my favorite, The Manchurian Beefcake as we witness the official mainstream press arrival of what could prove to be the greatest political scandal in American history.
Aravosis, in an early Wednesday morning AmericaBlog post, describes the Kurtz story, as of this posting not yet linked from the Post’s own home page, as:
Totally fair, presents both sides, and spells the entire story out. Only one mistake - the escort site was live until May 2003, not March. i.e., AFTER he started covering the White House. And other profiles remain live to this day.
The Post story, essentially, begins with a fib Gannon told both Kurtz and Wolf Blitzer on CNN last week in separate off and on camera interviews:
The problem for Gannon, whose real name is James Dale Guckert, is that he told The Washington Post and CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week that he never launched the Web sites whose provocative names he had registered, such as hotmilitarystud.com. But a Web designer in California said yesterday that he had designed a gay escort site for Gannon and had posted naked pictures of Gannon at the client's request.
Kurtz provides details readers of this space will already be familiar with and ends the story with quotes from Aravosis and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan:
Aravosis said: "If you were just looking at this as a matter of his hypocrisy, the story's over now that he's gone. The larger issue is how did someone like this get access to the White House." White House spokesman Scott McClellan told the trade publication Editor & Publisher that he didn't know Gannon was using a pseudonym until recent weeks…"People use aliases all the time in life, from journalists to actors," McClellan said. He said he has discussed the Gannon matter only "briefly" with the president.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan
In answering a reporter’s question regarding the Valarie Plame leak investigation during yesterday’s White House Briefing McClellan said:
“Anybody who has information ought to come forward and present that information so that the people investigating this can get to the bottom of it. That's what the President's views are…The President has made it clear that he wants to get to the bottom of this matter, and that anyone who has information that relates to this that can help the prosecutors move forward and get to the bottom of it should provide that information to the prosecutors.”
Are you listening, Mr. Gannon?
Get thee to a safe house.
Images: Google, C-SPAN, americablog.org
Tuesday dawns with a smattering of C-SPAN phone callers and a brief discussion on CNN Inside Politics (scroll until you see "KURTZ") being the only broadcast network utterances of the radioactive name of truck painter turned male escort turned White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon.
The chatty Mr. Gannon re-re-re-surfaces in another interview with Editor & Publisher published this morning.
And what does our Jeff, so recently free with his verbal charms, have to say to E&P?
Why nothing more than he is clamming up, lawyered up and returning to the down low:
"I talked to attorneys, and I am no longer talking to anyone anymore. It doesn’t seem to clarify anything any longer. Everything I say, people start a new conspiracy theory. I am not going to answer any more questions. It seems to distract from what is really going on."
Mr. Gannon doesn’t offer his 2-day journalism seminar perspective on what it is that is “going on” though more Americans than listed on Talon’s subscription rolls would be hanging on the well-hung Gannon’s every word.
Gannon, who by our count has spoken in the past week to CNN, the loose association of FM stations that comprise NPR and Editor & Publisher (E&P states that he also spoke with “several other news organizations" but I cannot verify this), has picked, after archived and live versions of his escort web sites were published yesterday along with invoices from his web designer, a curious time to zip his well-exercised lip.
Though the sexual aspect is salacious and attention grabbing, I would urge a visit to the Mens News Daily site where Jeff’s published output is still responding to search queries.
At MND, amid Jeff’s written thoughts, one can see the clear role he played in disseminating false information throughout Campaign 2004.
For example, Jeff’s July 21, 2004 article headlined Kerry Receives Communist Endorsement:
The head of the communist movement in Nicaragua and Sandinista Leader Tomas Borge announced his support for Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) presidential bid. The endorsement is not the first friendly relationship between the Massachusetts senator and the Sandinistas.
Then there is Gannon’s February 10, 2004 Kerry Haunted by Votes to Cut Intel Funding:
The appointment of a presidential commission to investigate intelligence failures may prove troublesome to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)… Responding to a question from Talon News, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan suggested that the commission's investigation would be looking backward as well as forward…Kerry questioned the size of intelligence community…Kerry proposed a bill to slash $1 billion from the budgets of the National Foreign Intelligence Program and from Tactical Intelligence.
Of course, I have a personal favorite Gannon campaign report in his very rovian September 29, 2003 story under the lengthy headline Kerry Attacks College Republicans Over Convention Vendor’s T-Shirts:
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) issued a condemnation of the College Republican National Committee…over some T-shirts sold by a vendor at their convention in July. Kerry says the T-shirt slogans, creations of a Florida company, are racist and anti-gay…One has a photo of filmmaker Spike Lee and the message "Bring back the blacklist." Another says, "No Muslims No Terrorism." Rosie O'Donnell and her lesbian partner appear on another questioning which one is "Mr." in the relationship. A fourth shirt shows the World Trade Center after a plane crashed into it with the caption, "The Clinton Legacy”… the Kerry campaign told Talon News that the T-shirts were spotted at the College GOP convention…The CRNC fired back at Kerry…"I hope bullying college students makes Senator Kerry feel big and strong…We simply did not have the manpower to approve the contents of every book, t-shirt, and bumper sticker sold.”
I’ll betcha security-cleared White House Correspondent Jeff got a gold star for the T-shirt story.
How did he escape the Pulitzer committee?
The day is young and there is a glimmer of hope that a lone liberal cable voice will join this week’s Gannopalooza.
Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown, in a blog entry dated yesterday and within a parenthetical remark says:
The saga of “Jeff Gannon” resurfaces some time this week, when it could turn into the political scandal of the year — more in a subsequent blog.
And, hopefully Keith, more information detailing l’affair Gannon in subsequent editions of Countdown like, maybe, tonight’s?
The parody site whitehouse.org has a very funny Valentine’s message from the President.
Images: jeffgannon.com, CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, Editor & Publisher, whitehouse.org
$1,200 per Weekend!
According to an investigative report by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, former Talon News White House correspondent Jeff Gannon or JD Guckert, in direct contradiction of statements broadcast last Thursday on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Report, owned or was involved in several web sites where he and other young men sold themselves to high end male clients in the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas for $200 per hour or $1,200 per weekend.
The ubiquitous watch
Readers following the link to AmericaBlog, posted in this post's first sentence on this generally G rated blog, should be forewarned that the AmericaBlog story contains some adult material while the links to archived and live Gannon escort pages at AmericaBlog will contain gay pornographic images.
According to John's amazing report:
It's looking increasingly like they made a decision to allow a hooker to ask the President of the United States questions. They made a decision to give a man with an alias and no journalistic experience access to the West Wing of the White House on a "daily basis." They reportedly made a decision to give him - one of only six - access to documents, or information in those documents, that exposed a clandestine CIA operative…What kind of leadership would let prostitutes roam the halls of the West Wing? What kind of wartime leadership can't find the same information that took bloggers only days to find?
The ranks of bought and paid for reporters and punditry will be anxious to quickly dispose of this story.
The phrasing of Mr. Gannon’s escort sales pitch, the array of web sites and the staggering cost of access to his private parts suggests a very high end client list...a client list that exists somewhere...and some very nervous and powerful clients currently living and working very high profile jobs in our nation’s capitol.
A black-banded wristwatch, visible in many professional and pornographic images of Gannon, was an early clue in establishing his very busy extra journalistic activities.
The networks' dainty reticence and spin (“Mark Twain used a nom de plume” was suggested on FOX over the weekend as CNN railed against the invasion of Gannon’s privacy) suggests some preknowledge or complicity in l'affair Gannon to say nothing of the shocking security breech at the highest levels of our government.
Why, the word conspiracy comes to mind.
The similarities with the quickly hushed Craig Spence affair in the first Bush White House are almost as shocking as what AmericaBlog reveals today and I would urge you to explore those links.
I remember being somewhat taken, during the now infamous late January presidential press conference, with the President's facial composure when giving Gannon permission to ask his preloaded question.
Bush's face was tight, guarded and very different from its usual cocky composure when snapping out reporter nicknames.
Some network videotape I’ve watched, mid Gannon's question, show a cutaway of the President drinking water and arching an eyebrow when Jeff mentions "soup lines".
I'm curious to hear the thoughts of some type of psychological expert comfortable with facial analysis for a read on the President's interesting composure with Mr. Gannon, a reporter known for leaving an impression and not bruising marks.
In a related GannonGate development, RawStory.com is reporting that several Texan sources confirm that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellen was a frequent habitue of Austin, TX gay nightclubs in the 1990's:
“He was often seen in gay clubs in Austin, Texas and was comfortable being there...He’s been seen in places that normal people who are looking for heterosexual relationships are not seen alone.”
According to RawStory, the White House has been aware of these allegations since last September.
And Flash Again!
The White House rushes Scott McClellen out for damage control with Editor & Publisher this afternoon on a story that has recieved minimal attention by the mainstream media:
Asked if he had discussed the Guckert/Gannon episode with President Bush, McClellan said, "We've only talked about it briefly..."I first came across him two years ago when I was deputy press secretary and he started covering the White House," McClellan said...McClellan always called on him as “Jeff.” Asked if he'd ever talked with Guckert outside the briefing room or at social events, McClellan said, “Nothing like that'...The press secretary also did not find fault with Guckert... "People use aliases all the time in life"...When asked if Guckert's link to several sex Web sites should have had an effect on his getting credentials, McClellan said, "I don't think it is my place to express my personal opinion."
Didn't Scotty play Sgt. Schultz in his high school's musical production of Hogan's Heros?
Jeff Does Ebay
During this past weekend a photo of "Jeff Gannon" entering the May 1, 2004 White House Correspondent's Dinner appeared on Daily Kos.
Later, a commenter on AmericaBlog mentioned that an enterprising Ebay'er was auctioning "Jeff Gannon's" fake White House day pass.
AmericaBlog's John is promising a major "Gannon" development today involving "invoices".
One More Note
By Monday evening Ebay had scrubbed the fake Gannon item.
Yet Anoter Note
On Tuesday morning the Ebay Gannon pass reappeared!
Images: Daily Kos, ebay's tiger peanut
Many people and organizations involved with mass communication and our national government long for those lost golden days when one could count the stone-skippers wading in the pond of media on the fingers of a single hand.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, the placid, lightly rippling media pond of yore has become a foaming cauldron of whitecaps, its muddied shore teeming with a bell-curve of rock-toting opinionated humanity.
I find this sometime confusing swirl of babble rather beautiful but other more established opinion molders are fearful and increasingly turning toward the attack suras of America’s Mahdi of Political Manicheism, Karl Rove; techniques described by Progress the monthly magazine published by the party of Bush chum and ally Tony Blair:
The dark genius of Rove is to attack the opposition’s greatest strength as well as trying to increase their weaknesses…by creating pseudo-scandals…the right achieved maximum leverage.
An observable corollary to this Rovian sura has been noted by others too numerous to mention:
It is a typical Rovian strategy to take Bush’s own weaknesses and hammer his opponent on them first, as if Bush wasn’t vulnerable himself on the issue.
But it doesn’t take an evil political genius to see, in an opinion pool as muddied and storm-tossed as our modern one, that the stark, simple contrast would rule the rue-filled news cycle.
This bloody technique, as we have noted of late in the partial aftermath of GannonGate phase 1, seems to be aimed increasingly at bloggers or as I prefer to describe the majority of them, ordinary citizens.
Oh sure, as Frank Rich details in this morning’s New York Times, the residents of “Holly-weird” still make yummy cannon fodder for the easily kerflutzed and spongebobulated cannons of fundamentalist wingerdom:
The commissars of the right cooked up a new, if highly unlikely, grievance against "Holly-weird," as they so wittily call it…the campaign against Clint Eastwood, a former Republican officeholder…There hasn't been a Hollywood subversive this preposterous since the then 10-year-old Shirley Temple's name surfaced at a House Un-American Activities Committee hearing in 1938.
But, increasingly, it seems to be the blogosphere’s rank and file on the receiving end’s of big political and media’s hairy eyeball.
This morning’s Washington Post continues this new trend with the interesting reworking of Mahdi Karl’s “hammer your own weaknesses” sura in an article screamingly headlined, Cloak of Internet Propels Deceit, Sneak Attacks by the interestingly named Lena Sun.
As Howie Kurtz, this past week, feverishly tried to spin “Jeff Gannon’s” self-published nudie pic into some sort of leftist blogger privacy crime, this morning’s Post, as with previous articles on an RNC-sponsored anti Daschle blog, begins with a right wing stabbing then veers toward an subtle implication of left wing crime with the handy hand-cleansing tool of a think tank quotation:
When an aide to Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) went online to fuel damaging rumors about the Democratic mayor of Baltimore, he entered a world where public and private boundaries are treacherously blurred…"It's the era of drive-bys, where the Internet can be used for sneak attacks and dirty tricks," said Pew Project Director Lee Rainie.
Ooooh, it sounds so scary, doesn’t it?
Scarier when one realizes that the chief architects of drive bys, sneak attacks and dirty tricks, pre web ascendancy, are the very same political parties and major news organs whose tears, now, fall so hypocritically on, they hope, the partially attentive ears of your typical mid 40’s, Bush-supporting, un-read and born-again first time voter.
An associate of a major liberal blogger had this to say this morning:
It's amazing to listen to whores like Howie crying about liberal bloggers digging into Gannon's "personal life." You know, the "personal life" that he spread all over the internets. Sorry, Howie, but I read the Starr Report, and I sure don't remember the same outrage over that incursion into personal lives.
It seems that this latest tempest in a e-teapot is more a reflection of old media’s continuing inability to understand this fractal new medium of chatrooms and mostly remuneration-free self-publishing.
This morning’s “Cloak of Internet” Nancy Drew mystery reloads and fires another think tank Dum-dum:
In e-mail messages, chat rooms and instant messaging, "people take the gloves off much more quickly than they do in person," said John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “There is something about the remoteness of the medium, the speed of typing and reading, the ease of hitting 'send,' the instant gratification . . . that leads people to be less polite online than they might be in person”.
Jeez, anybody remember an attractive little feature of snail mail called privacy and the present general public’s misunderstanding of that privacy’s unlegislated and non adjudicated digital presumption?
As usual with the major organs, truths that obviate scary lead paragraphs are buried in the article:
But if the Internet encourages nastiness, the near-instant information it delivers also creates more transparency and accountability…Experts say Internet users should assume that anything typed is a permanent record.
As a former Prodigy member, I should make it clear that I’ve been a computing dabbler since the mid 1980’s.
I’ve not ever really been a fan of chat rooms or instant messages.
Perhaps it is my age or, more likely, the fact that I’ve always been somewhat of a non tower-sniping loner.
In the past I’ve politely smiled and nodded as friends proudly display their instant message capability.
Though I’d never be so rude as to criticize an aficionado, the endless sound effects and banal greetings from anyone even partially familiar with the user’s web identity presented no appeal to this proud individualist.
Only recently have I been a semi-regular reader/participant in certain blog comment areas.
I find their informational gestalt more interesting than particular comments, though, on many, even non-political occasions, certain individual comments have been razor-sharp and highly entertaining.
Additionally, it would be misleading in the extreme to pretend that the business and political titans of information technology, in zealous pursuit of market penetration, did not make pornography and false implied assurances of privacy a major factor in the home computing success story.
The crime in GannonGate is not “Jeff Gannon’s” old semi-nude and, what some have found, very attractive AOL profile or the wider publication of what the Post described as that "permanent record” by leftist bloggers.
George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Chris Matthews or Tim Russert should be so buff or so easily tossed aside.
The crimes in GannonGate, barring its disappearance down the memory hole, cannot, yet, be fully known but are likely to include his false color membership in the White House press corps as it relates to the Plame Affair and the ongoing paid pundit scandal to say nothing of the late 20th and early 21st century Republican leitmotif of male prostitution in and around the halls of gov'ment.
As of this morning I still feel free enough to say that blogdom, barring the cessation of electric power across the United States, will not allow big media to rovanize privacy and freedom of speech into a simplistically ignorant left/right cartoon death match.
Modified Image: C-SPAN