Friday, February 11, 2005

White House Press Stooge

From the administration that tried to launch the "Office of Strategic Influence" comes the strange story of James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, the fake journalist who was a welcome stooge at White House press briefings for his bootlicking questions, disguised as normal unsolicited genuflection by the Press Corps. Bless the bloggers who blew the doors off this story! Apparently the White House went an extra mile to get Guckert into the briefings, bending some of their rules for hard-to-get press passes––and then they took a lot of his "questions" too! I tried to get a press pass to the Republican Convention (tweve months prior)and I wasn't allowed to get any closer than Seventh Avenue!

Guckert, who proclaimed himself "A Voice of the New Media," tearfully resigned from the astroturf-like Talon news organization after the temperature became too toasty (He claims he's getting death threats from liberals which is sad but probably true).

For those of us who enjoy watching things done badly, you've had to love Jeff Gannon's efforts, which were so obvious they should have even been notice by the "legitimate" news agencies. Here are some of the questions he lobbed at Dubya and his press secretary, Scott McClellan, that started to make people wonder if he might have motives other than pursuing journalistic excellence:

"Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy... You've said you are going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

"...Do you see any hypocrisy in the controversy about the President's mention of 9/11 in his ads, when Democratic icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign issued this button, that says, 'Remember Pearl Harbor'?"

" President Bush is obviously the most intelligent Commander-in-Chief we've ever had, the pure victory in Iraq is proof. And with his blend of charm, values, and outstanding physical attributes, he's obviously God's choice to rule the planet. So what do you think is preventing God from striking down Barbara Boxer by spontaneous combustion?"

(The first two were real, but, okay, I made up the last one. You couldn't tell the difference, right?)

Anyway, look what we've had now: real journalists paid to shill for the administration, fake news reports produced by advertising agencies and placed into real TV news shows, and fake journalists planted into press conferences to inject propaganda into the questions! Wow! And that's just the stuff done so badly that we know about it. It looks more and more like Dan Rather and his crew took the bait and swallowed it when they reported on those fake Dubya military records. Why else would anyone pass fake documents to Rather containing very little new information about Dubya's "military service"? It smells like the Office of Strategic Influence at work after all.


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