Saturday, February 19, 2005


Guckert/Gannon on record at CNN (updated)

Gannon/Guckert was interviewed Friday night on CNN by Anderson Cooper. E&P has helpfully provided the transcript, certain portions of which piqued my interest.

COOPER: Was anyone at the White House aware of your private activities?

GANNON: I would say that — I would say no, absolutely, categorically no.

What intrigues me is the false start to his answer. Obviously an "absolute, categorical no" is the right answer. But it is not the answer that came first to mind.

COOPER: There are many questions that have been raised about whether or not -- people raising the specter that you are somehow a White House plant. Are you a White House plant? Were you (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

GANNON: Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, how I came to be at the White House is I asked to attend a briefing. I asked the White House Press Office. They gave me a daily pass to get in.

It's really just that simple, isn't it? So expect to see me soon in the White House Briefing Room. I'll be the one with the spiked wig, heels and pseudonym.

COOPER: The first record we have now of you actually being at a White House press briefing was on February 28, 2003, as you said, before Talon News even existed. So why were you given a White House pass?

GANNON: I was given a White House -- well, you will have to ask the White House that. But I asked to attend the White House briefing because I was -- you know, because I wanted to report on the activities there.

Yes. The activities at the White House briefing seem a great deal more interesting than the content.

COOPER: Did you receive information from the White House that others didn't get?

GANNON: Absolutely not.

An interesting answer in light of the Joe Strup interview with Susan Farris, producer for San Antonio's right-wing KTSA—

He [Guckert/Gannon] was not only anxious about pushing his story of the day, but seemed to always have some kind of inside knowledge about the White House, as well.

"I said, 'How do you have such great sources?' and he just laughed it off," she told E&P Friday. "Now we all know how."

Guckert, she said, frequently passed on what he clearly thought was insider information, during his 12 appearances on KTSA during 2003 and 2004. She first heard from him the expression "shock and awe" to refer to the massive U.S. bombing attack at the start of the Iraq war, and he fingered Mary Mapes as the producer of the so-called "Rathergate" segment on "60 Minutes" before she had seen that mentioned elsewhere.

Then there's the plea for "fairness." I'm surprised he didn't show up with a Bible.

COOPER: You have been very clear that you believe this is politically motivated. And I think just about everyone probably agrees with that, that you asked that question, it was a softball, and liberal bloggers went after you to find out what they could in the public domain about you. But isn't that -- and you say that's unfair. Isn't that -- aren't those the same techniques that you yourself used as a reporter that sort of -- to publish innuendo, to publish advocacy-driven, politically motivated reports?

GANNON: Well, I don't see it that way. But what was -- what's been done to me is far in excess of what has ever been done to any other journalist that I could remember. My life has been turned inside out and upside down. And, again, it makes us all wonder that if someone disagrees with you, that is now your personal life fair game? And I'm hoping that fair-minded people will stand up and say that what's been done to me is wrong, and that -- that people's personal lives have no impact on their ability to be a journalist, you know. Why should my past prevent me from having a future?

As for his "personal" life, since when is public advertising of yourself as an escort "personal"? It was actually his journalistic skills, or lack thereof, that had an impact on his ability to be a journalist. And I believe Jeff/James will always have a future. First the book. Then the movie.

Am I psychic? From a Joe Strup interview yesterday—
Guckert he [sic] had been consulting a publicist for guidance. "I am going to try to find the best possible way to do it," he said. "And the best possible place to do it and get the widest audience possible."

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