Monday, April 25, 2005


I've had a rough week and a half, sorry to what are surely my millions of readers who have missed me. Easing back in with a note from the UK's Daily Telegraph, it turns out that the media across the pond are not that different than they are here:

"The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader."


At 5/03/2005 4:41 PM, Blogger JP2 said...

Meanwhile, here in America, we have a Republican funded reporter asking the President questions in the White House. He had no background check and bypassed several secret service protocols to gain access. Also, he was a gay prostitute.


At 5/04/2005 12:35 PM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

Your thoughts here are a bit disjointed, but I will try to respond to your three points even if I can't see how they fit together into a coherent whole.

Starting in the middle, what you say is just not true. He gained access via daily pass(es) and was vetted the same way that all dailies are. I'm not sure if you are confusing the clearance of permanent passes with daily passes or just drinking the Daily Kos Kool Aid here, but yu are incorrect in any case.

Your third point appears to be that you do not believe that homosexuals should be allowed to be into White House press conferences. Sorry, I just have to respectfully disagree here, I don't see that sexual orientation or alternative lifestyle should disqualify a reporter from access. Is it just gay men, or do you also feel that lesbians should be barred? Bisexuals? Swingers?

Your first point is not exactly clear to me. You must not be protesting the acess of partisan reporters, or you would also be calling for the expulsion of the far-left (and increasingly senile) Helen Thomas. Perhaps your point is that no right of center reporters should be allowed access, that the current 90-95% left/5-10% right composition is just too far right. Again I must respectfully disagree with your apparent desire to crush dissent, in fact I think the left-right mix should be as close as is possible to 50-50. I suspect that such a notion horrifies you, however.

At 5/04/2005 3:02 PM, Blogger JP2 said...

Well, I see if you don't have the facts, you resort to insults. Good to know.

"On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out."

So there is that one. And a link to a similar story.

My third point just proves that he had absolutely no background check and no reason to be there at all. You dismissing it as "homosexual bashing" distracts from the real issue - how the citizens in this country are getting bamboozled by a fake media. He had no legitimate reason to be there other than playing his role as a schill.

At 5/05/2005 12:03 PM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

First, I apologize for implying that you get your information from Daily Kos, that was indeed a cheap shot and I can see why you felt insulted. Now I have the (new) facts, and I stand by what I wrote before.

I looked into the new info, digging a bit deeper than the far-left Memphis alternative paper to which you linked – although the irony of your linking to fake media to reinforce a point about fake media is delicious, nice touch there.

Indeed, according to the records it appears that there are 14 times (apparently all exits from press conferences) when the time stamps are missing. This of 196 visits overall, of which 172 were press conferences or press briefings. The other 24 visits were mostly probably what are known as gaggles, unannounced press briefings, with perhaps an odd Rose Garden event mixed in.

The thing is, all of this seems to be unremarkable. The sheer number of press briefings attended is pretty large, which shows that this guy is immune to boredom – I found a few references to how tedious they are and how tough it would be to sit through that many of them in two years (having watched them on occasion, I can imagine!).

But the 14 missing exit times, which seem to be seen as some kind of smoking gun by some of the more fevered conspiracy mongers of the far left, are just not unusual. I give you as an example of how it works the explanation of WaPo national political reporter Dana Milbank, a guy who has been a consistent Bush-basher and who admits in the same interview, “as much as I‘d love to engage in the conspiracy theory here, I don‘t think it adds up.”

[Excerpt From MSNBC’s “Countdown” April 26]

(Host Keith) OLBERMANN: […] this got left behind as the more sordid elements of the story emerged, but originally, a lot of this was about White House security. And here it is again, at least on the surface, 14 times when the Secret Service records don‘t indicate when he went in or when he left. But I gather that is not as unusual as it would seem to the layman.

MILBANK: Not really. I‘ve come equipped to give you a demonstration, so that when I log into the White House, I show them my White House press credential, I enter a security code, get cleared in. But when you go out, you just sort of wave the pass in front of a machine that goes beep. Sometimes the machine doesn‘t go beep, and you leave anyway. I suspect that on these 14 occasions, Gannon waved but did not beep.

OLBERMANN: So that, I think anybody who has an ID card would know exactly what you‘re talking about, as—pulling mine out from NBC here. You just do that, and you‘re not, I mean, you‘re not going to stick around to make sure you‘re logged out.

MILBANK: No, it beeps. But the other thing is, with a day pass, you just drop it in the slot after that. So if there‘s any doubt as to whether he actually left, they have the pass sitting there in this box. They can count out the number of passes issued in the beginning of the day, the number collected at the end of the day. And as long as they add up, they‘re OK.

OLBERMANN: So the upshot of all this is, though, they got some headlines, the two representatives, Freedom of Information filing results were largely free of information.

MILBANK: Free of information, except that he should get a Congressional Medal of Honor for attending so many briefings.

[End excerpt]

If the White House started doing background checks, as you suggest, it really would be a scandal. “Infringement of freedom of the press!” “Violation of privacy!” “Preferential treatment for corporate media!” The screams in press circles and among civil libertarians would be deafening. You’re just grasping at straws there. Gannon/Guckert received no preferential treatment; indeed there are examples of shills for both the left and right everywhere in the White House press corps. I mentioned Helen Thomas, but for an example more on Gannon/Guckert’s level check out Russell Mokhiber.

There is a fair amount of fake media on both the left and the right, and in about equal numbers, no question. But we obviously disagree on how to deal with it. You would silence it; I say bring the frauds to light. Gannon/Guckert was a fraud, and those who are trying to concoct some kind of scandal out of this are frauds. Both should be held to account for their lack of journalistic standards.

There were only two real stories here. First, as Knight-Ridder White House correspondent Ron Hutcheson put it, “The whole story here is that there’s a low bar to get into the White House, which I’m perfectly fine with as a journalist and a member of the White House Correspondent’s Association.”

And second, of course, is the hostile and often vicious “outing” of a gay conservative by liberal bloggers, which really amounted to a big exercise in gay-baiting. That is why I called you on your gratuitously throwing in the gay angle. If you have no problem with gay reporters, then why did you mention it at all? That he was an escort might be germane to the story, but whether he escorted men or women is irrelevant, at least to me. For you, the incidental fact that he is gay is obviously central to the story. Whether your motivation was gay-baiting, gay-bashing, or it was just a non sequitur, I’ll let you work that out on your own.


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