No sooner had the stories about right-wing closet queen Armstrong Williams and two other alleged “journalists” being paid by the White House to shill for the administration died down than the far gaudier “Jeff Gannon” affair arose, flamed up and flamed out, though it’s afterglow continues to smoulder and that’s not to mention a not easily abated stench.
There’s growing buzz here in Washington, as well as over on the Internet, about a White House reporter some say was acting on behalf of a conservative group.
Howard Kurtz of CNN’s “RELIABLE SOURCES” and “The Washington Post” joining us from “The Washington Post” newsroom.
What’s going on here, Howie?
HOWARD KURTZ, “RELIABLE SOURCES”: Well, Jeff Gannon is his name. At least that’s the name he uses professionally. It’s not his real name.
And he’s a reporter for a couple of online sites. He’s a self- described conservative journalist. One of the Web sites his work appears on is called GOPUSA. And he pretty much operated below the radar until he got the chance to ask President Bush a question two weeks ago. Let’s take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock-solid and there’s no crisis there. How are you going to work — you said you’re going to reach out to these people — how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, that question, Wolf, kind of put a target on Jeff Gannon’s back. A lot of liberal bloggers began digging into his background. In the last 24 hours, they’ve exposed his real name. They’ve raised questions about some sexually provocative Web addresses that he registered on one of his companies, but never actually did anything with.
“Never actaully did anything with”? How do you know, Howie? Is that what he told you?
Is that what your wife told you?
LESLIE BLITZER: Is there any evidence that there’s a connection, that the White House put him up to this to throw these kind of questions whether to Scott McClellan or to the president? Any evidence of wrongdoing, first of all, on the part of the White House?
HOWARD KURTZ: No evidence whatsoever. I talked to Scott McClellan about this today, the White House spokesman. He said, first of all, President Bush didn’t know who Jeff Gannon was when he called on him at that news conference.
In other words, “no evidence that anyone at the White House has offered me.” A real reporter wouldn’t settle for what the White House has to say. A real reporter would get to work on this story. But then Howie Kurtz isn’t a real reporter. He’s a “Reliable Source.”
Really? He knows “Jef Gannon’s” real name?
Gannon, by the way, says, sure, he’s very conservative. He makes no bones about that. But he thinks that a lot of the reporters in the White House press room are liberal, and he provides some balance.
And a lot of the reporters at the White House don’t sell their ass on the internet — so he provides balance on that score as well ?
HOWARD KURTZ: Well, he writes for a site called Talon News, which appears to be kind of a straight news site. But all of the stories that he writes also appear on a site that’s called GOPUSA, which, as you might expect, is a conservative site. In fact, it’s motto is: We’re bringing the conservative message to America.
Operative word:”appear.” Does CNN “appear” to be a news organization?
Doesn’t the fact that an alleged “reporter” operating under a pseudonym, and lobbing softballs at Scotty discredit him in and of itself? The internet whoring’s a a whole ‘nother ball game.
Maybe there’s a blue cum-stained dress from the GAP at the bottom of all this. That would make it “impersonal,” right Howie?
HOWARD KURTZ: I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, as long as they make clear what their views are, as Jeff Gannon clearly did.
But he didn’t make claer that there is no “Jeff Gannon” did he Howie?
Really? Can Duncan get one too?
What “family”? Is he married like McGreevy? I tend to doubt it. Hustlers love married men as clients, but marriage would crimp their own style would it not?
Surprised these two didn’t ask someone who’s had experience with hustlers.
Really? Has he called the cops? How about the FBI?
Aw gee, Leslie — that would be the whole point, wouldn’t it? And don’t you want to take the spot light off that pic of “Jeff” in his tighty-whities?
HOWARD KURTZ: Thank you.
Thanks for nothing, Howie.
Well what do you expect? It’s “honor among whores” after all.
All three of them.