2/24/2005

Mark Crispin Miller on "Gannongate"

From BuzzFlash:
The media's bizarre avoidance of this very juicy story makes a few things very clear--or I should say, very clear again. First of all, it's further proof that there is no "liberal bias" in the US corporate press--none whatsoever. It also reconfirms the fact that this media system is not simply "sensationalistic," and therefore apt to print whatever lurid stories its employees can dig up. There is a tabloid element, of course, but it works according to a double standard that is more ideological than commercial. Simply put, the US media reports sex scandals only when they seem to tar "the left," i.e., the Democratic party. As long as they involve the Democrats, the press is clearly willing to report such scandals even when they're fabricated. On the other hand, the press goes deaf and blind to "moral" scandals that involve Republicans, no matter how egregious and well-documented.
So Clinton's sex life was fair game. Not only did the press go ape over his affair with Monica, but US journalists were often not reluctant to run rumors, or at least allow the rightist rumor mongers to rave on uncontradicted. Clinton's sex life made careers in journalism, or what passes for it nowadays. Although it wasn't all that interesting, let's face it--it was a consensual affair with Monica, and he was strikingly inhibited throughout--it took up hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks of air time and print coverage. It made Mike Isikoff's career, gave Maureen Dowd innumerable columns, and pushed the likes of Matt Drudge and Lucianne Goldberg into prominence.
Now Bush's White House is embroiled in a sex scandal that is both more sordid and more serious than anything involving Clinton's infamous libido. This involves not just a huge security lapse, but what appears to be yet one more case of the Bush White House illegally deploying propaganda tactics through the institutions of the Fourth Estate.
Moreover, Gannon/Guckert seems to have been given classified information. He evidently knew of "shock and awe" before it was announced, for instance. The story's busting out all over, and getting uglier and weirder by the day--but not on the networks, not on cable, and, in print, primarily in opinion pieces. If this had happened in a Democratic White House, there would be no escaping it, and the rightists would be shrieking that the President of the United States had taught our precious children all about gay sex for hire. (According to the right, remember, it was Clinton--not his enemies, and not the press-- who went public with the news about those blow jobs.)
It's typical. There was a big sex scandal back in 1989, reported by, of all organs, the Washington Times, which broke the story of a male prostitution ring with lots of clients in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and a midnight tour of the White House by six revelers, two of them male prostitutes. Did anybody ever hear of that again?
The same silence persists today; and what's crazier about it now, of course, is that this bunch purports to be real big on "moral values." In other words, they--unlike Clinton--just don't do that stuff. These are the ones imposing giant fines on radio stations for "indecent" speech, and the ones pushing abstinence-only sex education, and--above all--persecuting gays in every way available. And yet their various illicit recreations get no press outside of cyberspace.
So William Bennett's gambling got a lot of press, but his employment of Mistress Lee was not reported anywhere. Gary Condit's affair with--and alleged murder of--Chandra Levy was The Story You Could Not Escape for weeks right up to 9/11, even though there was no evidence that he had harmed her. On the other hand, Laurie Klausutis, an intern in Joe Scarborough's office, was allegedly murdered, right in his office, but it was all, some would contend, hushed up completely (and yet Scarborough sometimes whines about it anyway). We heard a lot about Woody Allen's situation--Newt Gingrich even crowed that it was typical "liberal" behavior--but when it turned out that the president of Hillsdale College, a far-right institution, had been boffing his own daughter-in-law, who went and blew her brains out in despair, that icky item had no legs. In fact, it had no torso, and no head. It simply wasn't, because the press will not go there when it involved the right.
...Those liberals who refuse to speak out on this issue just don't get it. They think they're being politically correct concerning gays, when all they're really doing is covering for the sickest homophobes. It was much the same thing with those Democrats who wouldn't make an issue of Bill Frist and his family making major profits off abortion. The Frists own a chain of hospitals that do abortions. That's astonishing hypocrisy, and ought to have been named as such, but it was not, because of Democratic shyness about saying anything that might sound anti-choice. But the sanctity of reproductive rights was not the issue there. The issue was the insincerity and greed of those Republicans who moralize about abortion even as they make a big fat buck from it. This fact would have appalled some on the right, alienating them from Frist & Co. Other, less scrupulous rightists would have been hard-pressed to defend Frist's practices, and that would have enabled a rhetorical victory in the eyes of the majority. That's how you play to win. And it would ultimately have been much better for the policy of reproductive freedom, as it would have weakened some of the leading players in the anti-choice propaganda war.
It's much the same with this issue. The point of going after Gannon/Guckert for his day job--and outing all his rightist clients--is not an anti-gay move. Rather, it's a way to demonstrate the bad faith of the homophobes, and, still more important, the psychological impossibility of their position. To note that this whole gay-baiting movement is itself the work of closet cases is to illuminate the pathological dimension of that movement.
...There's a big difference between hypocrisy and projectivity. Hypocrisy means "dissimulation" pure and simple. A hypocrite does one thing privately while playing a very different role in public. Insofar as he's capable of happiness, he's happy just to live such a divided life. What he does not need is to have some demon-figure(s) onto whom he can relentlessly project those aspects of himself that he unconsciously detests. This is the animus that drives the Bushevik movement--more than greed, more than oil, more than imperialism. The movement is, ultimately, pathological. Which explains its compulsive hatefulness. Every time the Bushevik vents his spleen against "the liberals," he's actually referring to himself. "The liberals," he insists, are lying, bitter diehards, who would do anything to stay in power; they steal elections; they are "a coalition of the wild-eyed"; and on it goes forever. If the movement weren't relentlessly projective, it would just disappear. They have to stay on the attack against the demon, which they can never finally kill, because that demon is inside them.
So this episode is not anomalous. Guckert/Gannon is no oddity, but just another fine example of projective nastiness. He's by no means the only gay homophobe in this movement, which appears to be the work primarily of closet cases. There are others who have not been outed, but should be. The rest of us should be taking this quite seriously, not just because it might enable a political advantage, but because it cuts right to the heart of what this Christo-fascist movement's all about.
Now we know how reasonable people feel, and have felt, in closed societies. You see one thing with your own eyes, and see something wholly different in the press. It can drive you nuts--which is, of course, the way you feel, having that surreal experience day after day. The trick is not to let it throw you, but to channel all that righteous indignation into trying to tell the truth in every way you can.

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