2/17/2005

Midnight cowboy in the garden of Bush and evil

Excellent.
From Sidney Blumenthal on Salon:
...Thus a phony journalist planted by a Republican operation, used by the White House press secretary to interrupt questions from the press corps, called on by the president for a safe question, protected from FBI vetting by the press office, disseminating innuendo and smears about critics and opponents of the administration, some of them gay-baiting, was unmasked not only as a hireling and fraud but as a gay prostitute, with enormous potential for blackmail.
The Bush White House is the most opaque, allowing the least access for reporters, in living memory. All news organizations have significant economic interests subject to government regulation. Every organization seems to be intimidated, and reporters who have done stories the administration finds discomfiting have received threats about their careers. The administration has its own quasi-official state TV network in Fox News; hundreds of right-wing radio shows, conservative newspapers and journals, and Internet sites coordinate with the Republican apparatus.
Lifting the heavy Puritan curtain draping Bush's Washington reveals enlightening scenes of its decadent anthropology. Even as Guckert's true colors were revealed, the administration issued orders that the words "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual" and "transgender" be removed from the program of a federally funded conference on suicide prevention. But the transparent hypocrisy of conservative "values" hardly deters a ruthless government.
The experiment of inserting an agent directly into the White House press corps was a daring operation. Guckert's "legend," in the language of espionage, was that he was a news director, and his "false flag" was journalism. Until his exposure, this midnight cowboy in the garden of Bush and evil proved marginally useful for the White House. But the affair's longer-run implication is the Republican effort to sideline an independent press and undermine its legitimacy. "Spin" seems too quaint. "In this day and age," said McClellan, waxing philosophical about the Gannon affair, "when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide or try to pick and choose who is a journalist." The problem is not that the White House press secretary cannot distinguish who is or is not a journalist; it is that there are no journalists, just the gaming of the system for the concentration of power.

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