Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Tart Fest: Tucker Carlson interviews Guckert/Gannon (updated)

I've been slumming. And like any good Catholic boy left with that slimy feeling the morning after, I'm going to confess. Here.

Friday night, quite by accident as I channel-surfed, I caught two tarts in dialogue on PBS. Naturally I could not change the channel.

There was Tucker Carlson "interviewing" Jeff Gannon, known now to most of us as James Guckert. Until then I had not realized that they had been together before.

The younger one opened by saying to the elder: "Jeff Gannon was outed in every possible way, and he hasn't been back to the briefing room since. But he joins us now. Jeff Gannon, thanks a lot."

This theme—that Gannon/Guckert was "outed"—continued through the interview, but I have yet to figure out how you "out" someone who is selling their services on the internet. That is not an "outing"; it's a referral.

Carlson uses James Guckert's professional name throughout.

Since neither of them had much to say, the interview was brief. But it still merits the Reader's Digest treatment [all emphasis added].

Carlson: .... This is the first thing that occurred to me when I saw the now-famous clip of you asking the president that question, how can you work with these people. Why would you waste your one opportunity, or one of your opportunities to ask the president a question, on a sort of non-question, even, you sympathize with the president. You're a conservative. So am I. Good for you. But wouldn't you want to ask him a tougher, harder question, simply because it's more interesting?

Guckert/Gannon: I think the question was valid. And there's a lot of people that want the answer to that question. How do you expect to work with people who have expressed no desire to work with you? As a matter of fact, they have said that they're going to oppose you at every turn. And his answer was a good answer. I'm going to go directly to the American people. Meaning that he's going to bypass the Democrats and he's also going to bypass the mainstream media in getting his message about Social Security and the rest of his agenda through to the American people.

The truth is that Bush has trouble understanding "tougher, harder" questions. He does best with pre-arranged questions for which he has already been prepped.

Carlson: Now ... there are allegations floating around the Internet that that question ... was a setup. People have said that you were attempting to give the president breathing room, some space, an easy question so he could collect his thoughts. Is there any truth to that at all?

Guckert/Gannon: That's an insult to the president. He certainly doesn't need me to do that. As a matter of fact he did a briefing without me yesterday and I think he did just fine. My question was my question. If you look at the map from the 2004 election, ... all that red space out there, those are the people that want to hear the answers to the questions I ask....

As usual, Guckert/Gannon does not answer Carlson's two-part question, which was (1) Was the question a setup, and (2) Did you ask it to take the heat off the President. He implies the contrary but denies neither.

As for the Red-Staters, their predilections are well recognized. Among them is a fascination with tarts.

Carlson: Now you spent a couple of years sitting in the back .... [T]he front seats are reserved for mass-market dailies and the networks and the wire services.... What did you think of your colleagues up front?

Guckert/Gannon: I felt that their questions were sometimes tilted in one direction. But they had every right to ask them. All I wanted was my chance to ask my question my way. And I got that.

But the question is: How was it that you got the right to ask your questions while the rest of us must sit in dumb incomprehension, unable to ask the simplest questions of this administration such as "Why did you really go to war with Iraq?"

Carlson:, your Web site, is owned by the same person or company that owns a couple of Web sites with pornographic sounding names anyway - or whatever has gotten a lot of press. I'm not going to ask you questions about what those sites are beyond what they apparently are. But here's my question. Isn't it obvious to you that that's sort of discrediting in the eyes of a lot of other people? Why would you have any tie at all, if you want to be a mainstream journalist or - regardless, a legitimate journalist, to Web sites with names like that?

Guckert/Gannon: Well, first of all, people misunderstand what those names represented. They're just Web site names, they're just domain names. Years ago I was doing Web site development and these names were reserved for a private client. They were never hosted. Nothing was ever on them. And as we know on the Internet, things never disappear. And these are all things that are from a long time ago that people have dug up just to destroy my credibility and damage my reputation.

The short answer to Carlson's question is that Guckert/Gannon is a tart. But Guckert/Gannon's answer is more entertaining. "" has been misunderstood in much the same way that "" might be misinterpreted. It's just a domain name. The domain names were reserved by Guckert/Gannon's company for a "client," but it has never been demonstrated that his company had any clients for web development other than himself. In fact, when he actually wanted to develop a website, he went to a professional for help.

As for domain names disappearing, all you need to do to relinquish them is to stop paying your annual fees.

Carlson: .... I'm struck by how you were essentially outed, or these implications about your personal sex life, were made by people on the Left. Somehow the implication was because you may be gay, that you shouldn't have access to the White House.

Guckert/Gannon: Well, I mean the hypocrisy is stunning. If I were a liberal there would be marches in the streets with pitchforks and torches in support of me. But because I'm a conservative, it seems to be that there are no rules and we can - those people can leave their principles behind about personal privacy and sex doesn't matter and diversity and inclusion. They can leave all those things behind if it's useful to attack somebody who's a conservative.

We're back to the "outing" theme. Republicans seem to be having great difficulty with words such as "personal" and "private." Here we have Carlson talking about Guckert/Gannon's "personal sex life."

I for one have never had any interest in—nor have I ever made a comment about—his personal sex life. I don't even have a glimmer as to what it might be. It is his public and commercial sex life that is of interest.

And Carlson is not being honest by suggesting that anyone (at least on the Left) has implied that Guckert/Gannon should not have access to the White House because he may be gay. But then we shouldn't expect honesty from these people, should we?

As for Guckert/Gannon's response, the only hypocrisy that is stunning is that of the Republican anti-gay "family values" rhetoric. The simple fact is that if he were liberal, his ass would never have darkened the doorway of the White House press room. Now how did it happen that his did?

Carlson: Has anyone on the Left stood up for you?

Guckert/Gannon: Well, actually, David Corn from The Nation wrote a great article that took a look at this. Of course, he has disagreements with, obviously, with some of my political beliefs, but he pretty much stood up for my right to practice them.

I've written about David Corn previously.

Carlson: Good for David Corn. Now what about on the Right? Presumably a lot of your friends are conservatives. You have a lot of ties to the conservative establishment in Washington, some, anyway.

Guckert/Gannon: Uh-huh.

Carlson: And yet you're - and so you're essentially outed in public, at least somebody who owns these kind of racy-sounding, gay-sounding domain names. Did you have any conservative friends who said, I'm not talking to you anymore? What was the reaction from the Right?

Guckert/Gannon: Actually, the reaction has been fairly supportive. I've had messages of support. You know, I don't ask anybody to be responsible for - for my past, for personal issues, anything that I've done prior to this. And I wouldn't ask anybody to defend those things. That's my responsibility. I will do that at some point in time when I'm able to clear the air and counter some - some of this very inaccurate information that's out there. I think you're seeing much more tolerance on the Right than you are the Left. The Left is - loves diversity, except for people that don't agree with them.

Yes. We are all of sudden seeing a lot more tolerance on the Right—or at least a lot more silence. While Guckert/Gannon fingers someone he says is on the Left, no names from the Right are mentioned. Of course, there's always Tucker Carlson.

And we're all eager for Guckert/Gannon to clear up the "inaccuracies." Carlson's show might have been a great opportunity.

Carlson: So what do you do now?

Guckert/Gannon: Well, I think there's plenty of opportunity here for me. I'm still writing. I think I have a great story to tell. I've continued to write these things. I've kept a journal for several years about my coverage of the White House. I'm going to continue to do that. And who knows what that will turn into? But, look. I was a legitimate journalist, still. I'm going to go back to practicing journalism at some point in the very near future. And there's no reason that I shouldn't do that.

No. We can hardly wait for the memoir. And there are a number of journalistic precedents. Assuming the Position, Rent Girl and Mayflower Madam spring immediately to mind, though there are many other fine examples.


Via Buzzflash, SusanG of Daily Kos has been unable to verify Guckert/Gannon's service in the Marines.

All I can say is that of all the times I've seen him he has never been in uniform.

Related posts
Tucker Carlson - What we're losing (7/1/04)
Doing the Watusi at the polling station: Reflections on David Corn
Another press outing? (updated) (2/16/05)
Letter from Joystick re Guckert/Gannon-McClellan (2/18/05)
Guckert/Gannon on record at CNN (updated) (2/19/05)
More Guckert/Gannon questions (2/23/05)
Talon News retracts its claws (2/25/05)
The juiciest speculation yet (2/26/05)
NY Times finally covers White House press pass episode (updated) (3/8/05)

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