2/17/2005

Frank Rich, Daily Show, Christian Science Monitor weigh in on Gannon Scandal

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/arts/20rich.html?adxnnl=1&8hpib=&adxnnlx=1108616618-E7y/rbhtXRWZKxiJ7ZVKpA
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0217/p01s01-uspo.html
http://www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/thedailyshowwithjonstewart/

And an update from Eric Boehlert of Salon. The plot thickens:
Thanks to the continued digging by online sleuths, there's now documented evidence that Guckert attended White House briefings as early as February 2003. Guckert, using his alias "Jeff Gannon," once boasted online about asking then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer a question at the Feb. 28, 2003, briefing. The date is significant because in order to receive a White House press pass, Guckert would have needed to prove that he worked for a news organization that, in the words of White House press secretary Scott McClellan, "published regularly," in itself an extraordinarily low threshold. Critics have charged that while Talon News may publish regularly, it boasts a nearly all-volunteer news team which includes not a single person with actual journalism experience. (The team does, though, have quite a bit of experience working on Republican campaigns.) In other words, the outfit is not legitimate nor independent, two criteria often used in Washington, D.C., to receive press credentials.
But what's significant about the February 2003 date is that Talon did not even exist then. The organization was created in late March 2003, and began publishing online in early April 2003. Gannon, a jack of all trades who spent time in the military as well as working at an auto repair shop (not to mention escorting), has already stated publicly that Talon News was his first job in journalism. That means he wasn't working for any other news outlet in February 2003 when he was spotted by C-Span cameras inside the White House briefing room. And that means Guckert was ushered into the White House press room in February 2003 for a briefing despite the fact he was not a journalist.

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