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February 26, 2005

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Incertus

It ought to hurt them in the long run, but I have my doubts as to whether it will or not. Here's the reason: Gannon makes the press look just as bad as the White House on this. You can't tell me that a press corps worth its salt wouldn't have outed Gannon as a shill long before this, and yet they all just accepted him without question for two years. This was a huge story sitting right under their noses, and they never once broached it, and that shows them up not only as incompetent, but as being in the bag for the White House (like we didn't know that already). No wonder Peter Jennings has time for UFO stories but can't bring himself to mention the Gannonball.

So big media, knowing that if they withhold coverage to a story, it never becomes a story in any larger sense, decides to cover their collective asses by ignoring it, and the reach of the bloggers, while longer than it has been in the past, is still woefully short even of the reach of cable news on CNBC.

That said, we still need to keep hammering them on it, both the White House and the press, to get this some coverage. Thus far, the majority of newspaper coverage I've seen on this has been on the op-ed pages, but those get pages read regularly, even by people who don't read much of the rest of the paper, so we're extending the story a bit that way as well. Letters to the Editor are still effective ways of reaching an audience, and we need to write them.

Cheryl

The salient strategic points seem straightforward.

The right lies like a rug all the time. They drape themselves in pseudo-morality based on religious brainwashing and then adopt their moral stance on the basis of political expediency. If the left hires a gay prostitute to lob soft ball questions to a moronic left-wing president (has there ever been such an animal?), it is immoral and a heinous sin to be hollered from all rooftops. If the right hires a gay prostitute to service George W. Idiot in the same way, it is just an inconvenient oversight that should be forgiven and forgotten. The right offers itself special dispensation all the time.

The left will win no points hollering about this one. I think the true vulnerability of the right lies elsewhere, but so far I am unsure of exactly what to do about it.

Rather than concentrating on the salacious moral stories, we should hammer away on the meat-and-potatoes side of morality.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

This is the oft-misquoted 'body is the temple of the soul' passage. Now besides the fact that Guckert was a prostitute and therefore completely deserving of condemnation as outlined in the Bible, there are plenty of other ways that this theme applies to conservatives.

Who owns the tobacco and alcohol companies? Who legislates in their favor? Who lets polluters off the hook? Who supports nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants? Who makes a fortune from junk food?

Ding! Correct, the right wing. Thanks for playing. Now that this elephant is standing inside the tent with us, is there any way to bring it to its knees before it squashes all of us?

Imagine this MoveOn mid-term campaign advertisement: (background music: 'Body and Soul' by Charlie Parker; foreground camera frame sweeps slowly across industrial skyline of smog and smokestacks; continuous ghostly background frame: famous tobacco and alcohol symbols such as Joe Camel, Budweiser label etc. crossfade from one to another) "The body is the temple of the soul, yet George Bush and his theocratic allies in Congress are polluting our bodies like never before." (foreground camera pans down to a sewage pipe that empties into a narrow drainage channel, then crossfades to a young school child struggling to read simple sentences aloud from a storybook; background cross-fades to a steady stream of fast-food symbols such as golden arches, ping-pong-ball clown face etc.) "Throwing money at testing agencies only distracts us from the reality of malnutrition and environmental pollution." (foreground crossfades to naked deformed Middle Eastern infant with its brain growing outside of its skull; background frame crossfades to a series of depeleted uranium shell casings and burned-out tanks) "Not only that, they are using our tax dollars to do the same to Iraqi children with low-level radiation." (foreground crossfades to Gulf War syndrome rash on the back of an Iraq Chapter 1 veteran; background crossfades to a stream of flag-draped coffins returning from the Middle East) "Even our own troops are suffering from the recklessness and immorality of this administration." (foreground pan right to double amputee vet in wheel chair) "Just how much of this carnage are we willing to put up with?"

(background fades out as foreground crossfades to Bush making one of his incredibly moronic faces) "Now they are bringing prostitutes into the press corps to mislead us about their true agenda." (music fades out as Bush's image rapidly morphs through deliberately unflattering computer-modeled aging) "Theocrats. Bad for the body. Bad for the soul."

The message is there. All we need to do is stay on topic.

DavidByron

Coulter either knows that and is intentionally lying or is too stupid to understand it

Well which is it Michael? Seems pretty damn obvious to me.

Incertus

Of course it's obvious--Coulter's a liar. The only real question is an existential one--if Coulter is batshit crazy enough to think that she's not really lying, that she is in fact telling her personal version of the truth, does that mean that she's not a liar and is instead only batshit crazy?

But in the real world, there's little doubt--Coulter's a liar. She does this kind of shit too often, and is corrected publicly too often, to be able to plead ignorance.

dmeyers

Micheal,

I am still trying to figure out where the "there" is on this story. I still don't know what has gotten you so riled up about? Here are the issues that keep showing up in stories

1. Guckert was a gay escort/prostitute and had registered domain names to this effect..
---> I don't see how this has anything to do with the story, unless you think there should be some sort of background check on everyone applying for day press passes... So on this point I can't see how it has anything to do with the story

2. Guckert said he worked for Talon News.
---> On this I guess the story is what is considered a "news outfit" and who decides what is a "news outfit" when approving day passes. I don't know. I really never gave much thought to "day press passes". Does the White House have some official rules for issuing "day press passes"? If so I guess it would be interesting to see those rules. It sure would be nice to get a list of all "news" agencies that were issued "day press passes" over the last 2 administrations so we can compare. Why not do some real journalism and see if that list is available. It might shed some light on just what groups/organizations are awarded "day press passes"

3. Guckert writes/asks questions under an assumed name.
---> It is my understanding that he applied for his day pass using his real name. If I am wrong than so be it. The real investigation that should be done is to see if there is a list of EVERY individual who was issued a "day press pass" to see if there are others who write/ask questions under different names. To me this doesn't seem like a big deal especially if the "day pass rules" do not address this issue

4. Guckert asked soft ball, favorable questions, etc.
---> This one is the most interesting. It seems like the White House issues lots and lots of day press passes. Are these people supposed to submit their questions in advance? Just what is the big deal if someone asks a favorable question? Just like if someone asks a totally stupid, false, meaningless question. Are press people going to be forbidden from asking favorable questions? I just don't get it...

5. Was Guckert a "Rove" plant?
---> Black Helicopter stuff. Get some evidence, otherwise this is just crazy conspiracy stuff..

6. Guckert and classified materials..
---> don't know about this but if anyone is given classified material improperly than obviously that is a problem. If that happened than the justice dept should pursue it...


I guess what I am getting at is I still don't see what the big deal about his story is. Can someone please post the "Big Rock" issues that you all seem to see is the problem/story.

Incertus

I'm going to reply, dmeyers, not because I think you care, or even that you'll listen, but I suppose because I'm a glutton for punishment.
1. The prostitute part of the story is more important than the gay part of it. The gay part is more salacious than anything else, more so because of the great antipathy much of the Republican party has for homosexuals, but it's the prostitution part of the story that's important. Here's why. You do have to pass some sort of background check to get a press pass, even a day pass, and considering that Guckert had ads up as recently as a few days ago (they may still be up for all I know), it would seem to me that to offer White House access, including the opportunity to question the POTUS, to a practicing prostitute is a serious breach of security.

2. Talon News, it has been shown repeatedly, is not a news organization in any sense of the word. It's a front for GOPUSA. More importantly, Guckert popped up in a daily press briefing before Talon News even existed, as a shill for, you guessed it, GOPUSA. Guckert's experience as a journalist consists of a two day course in "journalism"--I have more experience than that, simply by virtue of the one year I spent as Editorial page editor of my undergraduate college weekly paper, and I doubt I could get a sniff at a White House press pass, especially when experienced newspeople like Maureen Dowd are being denied access.

3. He applied for his press passes under Guckert, but was known in the press room as Gannon--that was his major undoing, by the way, because he was using his prostitute name as his reporters name. How dumb do you have to be? The question here would seem to be one more of seemliness to my mind, but you have to wonder why the people giving the press passes would allow such a practice, and even more importantly, why they would actively participate in it--that's what they did every time they referred to James Guckert as "Jeff," which they did more than once.

4. In the case of the Presidential question, there's no doubt that the question was planned. Presidential press conferences under Bush have long been scripted--both the White House and members of the press have admitted to it. It's largely because Bush can't hold his own under serious questioning and both he and his advisers know it. In the case of McClellan, what makes the most sense is that Guckert was a lifeline for whenever Scotty got dizzy from all the spinning. Were the questions planted or planned? I don't know, but it doesn't really matter who came up with the questions--they were supposed to act as a way for McClellan to change the subject and give him some time to collect himself, and they worked.

5. A Rove plant? Why not? It's not like Rove hasn't done this stuff in the past. I don't have any proof positive that he is, but then again, I've not been on the front lines of this story. Aravosis might have something working, maybe not. We may never know for certain. But one thing is certain--he was a GOP plant. Whether he was Rove's baby or someone else's, he was certainly in the hire of the GOP through his connection to GOPUSA.

6. It's awfully easy for you to say "if anyone is given classified material improperly than obviously that is a problem. If that happened than the justice dept should pursue it..." when you know that the only people with the ability to fully investigate this are controlled by the people with the most to lose by any investigation.

If you don't see the story now, dmeyers, then you're beyond help.

Cheryl

I think the real story is so far not even touched upon.

People are routinely being stripsearched (or close to it) before boarding airplanes now. Some people have had their genitals probed in the process.

How the holy fucking christ can anyone in their right mind suggest that it makes no difference what kind of investigation is used to determine who is safe to sit within a few yards of the President of the United States?

That is, unless the whole Department of Fatherland Security thing is a sham to terrify the populace and no one in the White House really cares that much about security in the first place.

So which is it, dmeyers? Is security important enough to justify an investigation, or is the whole Fatherland Security thing just fascism bordering on Nazism?

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