Posted on February 18, 2005
Posted by John Scalzi
Frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t heard something like this out of right-wing radio, concerning the whole Jeff Gannon issue. Or maybe, we just haven’t heard it yet.
(For LiveJournal/RSS feed gackers, there’s a link to an mp3 file here.)
Good gravy, John, is that you?
I can neither confirm nor deny that.
Ah, the alter ego rears his head! Uh, I mean, his voice!
A friend of mine has been foaming at the mouth over this whole Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert episode. But he has a point – imagine the outrage had the Clinton White House hired a gay prostitue to pose as a journalist in the White House press corps so he could lob softball questions at Bill, and then given him confidential CIA documents to leak. We would never have heard the end of it.
You can check out http://www.americablog.org for a boatload of info on this…
Dead on impersonation of the nutbag talk show hosts. I was laughing hard enough that my wife came in to see what the fuss was about. Thanks.
Frankly, I think they’ll try to cover it up like an embarrassed cat pawing at the rug. But, perhaps I misjudge.
What amazes me is that on many of the more hard-right sites, half the time is spent talking about how unfair and evil the takedown of Gannon was and how wonderous and just the takedown of Eason Jordan was. On the hard-left blogs, it is the exact opposite. Neither side (and I’m talking about the true believer blogs now) shows any glimmer of comprehension of the opposing view. It reminds me of the last line of Animal Farm.
I must be some kind of weird mutant. Neither the Eason Jordan nor Jeff Gannon takedowns seem to me to be any huge deal. It’s just more of the same brutal politics of the 21st Century.
Nor do I think that GannonGate teaches us anything about the GOP and Bush White House. Or, at least, it doesn’t teach us anything we didn’t already know.
The only thing that GannonGate has going for it is that it’s freaking hilarious. I mean, he was a himbo homo ho, with a gay porn web site, pretending to be a shill who was pretending to be a journalist in the Bush White House! Political jouranlism don’t get no more fun than this! The fact that the Bush supporters are trying to spin the story to make it look less bad just makes the story even better.
The only thing a politician can do when caught in a sex scandal is shrug it off. Anything the politician says to try to ameliorate the damage just makes it worse. Barney Frank knew this; when his lover was caught running a gay sex prostitution ring out of Frank’s own home, Frank simply shrugged and said something like. “Everyone occasionally makes foolish decisions for love.” (Frank wasn’t talking about the lover, of course; he was talking about himself.)
Forgot to ask: What’s the last line of “Animal Farm”?
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
They’re not so much trying to spin it – they’re truly outraged that these bloggers would try to ruin this guy’s life. Never mind that a) they found practically all this information on the web, b) these amateurs apparently did a better background check on this guy than the White House, and c) the information they gathered would suggest this guy should be in jail, not the White House press corps.
I’m still waiting for the ‘liberal’ press to give this story the coverage it deserves…
John H. – That’s what I mean by “spin it” – the conservatives are trying to shift focus, make Gannon the victim.
The story only deserves extensive coverage in that it’s so bizarre. And the national media can’t cover the bizareness because the national media has to be PG or R-rated – I mean, Monicagate pushed the boundaries, but, still, it’s yet another big jump from discussions of oral sex to hot man-on-man sex.
Aside from the freakshow element of the story, there’s nothing else to make it newsworthy. It doesn’t mean much of anything.
I’ll be curious to see if Gannon faces criminal charges (he may ALREADY be facing criminal charges — I haven’t been following the story that closely). I mean, he did offer himself as a prostitute, which is still a felony just about everywhere in the U.S.
Mitch, to you and me we see what they’re saying and, because we have an idea of what’s really going on, we might take what they’re saying as spin. But that would imply that they have a grasp on reality and are just trying to change the subject.
I don’t think that’s what’s happening here – they look at this guy as if he’s a martyr; an innocent man being crucified for his conservative views. To them, the information posted on the web is unreliable because of how it came to light. The irony is any other time they’d be screaming about media bias, but in this case they’ll point out that since most of the mainstream media has ignored it, the story must be a hoax.
But you’re right – if it were just a tawdry tale of some conservative would-be journalist being caught up in a gay prostitution ring it might make good copy for the scandal rags, but maybe shouldn’t merit much press coverage. On the other hand, I think it’s more deserving than the Michael Jackson freak-show or the Prince Charles/Camilla Parker-Bowles saga.
If you need more than that, how about this – someone in the White House seemed to pull some strings to get this guy in. There is a long line of legitimate reporters waiting to get into the White House press corps, so how did this guy with a fake name, no credentials and a checkered past get a security clearance and immediate access to the President?
There’s also the little matter of him suggesting he was given access to confidential CIA files on Valerie Plame. Even if it turns out to be untrue, it’s certainly worth looking into. Maybe if Patrick Fitzgerald subpoenas him it’ll become newsworthy…
At this point, all we need is a scene where President Shrub, the first Lady, James Dobson and James Guckert run around a darkened White House leaping into each other’s beds for this to become a full-on farce. Maybe with Yello on the soundtrack.
Is there a political satire that could top this story?
I think the lying and the fraud and the coverup are reprehensible, but…
This guy has a past, yes. However, just because he worked as a male sex worker does not mean that he needs to be “the voice of the gay people.” Many male/male prostitutes are straight, they just get better money and more clients than if they tried being the typical “gigolo.”
Many male strippers / escorts hold no love for the gay community, and for gays and lesbians in particular. For him to ask incendiary questions about gays and lesbians is his right; his political views don’t have a thing to do with his turning tricks.
I do believe that the White House failed in screening him. I do believe that he showed piss-poor judgement in keeping sex sites active, and not giving full disclosure in order to get a press pass. I don’t know what kind of behind-the-scenes shenanegins went on to get him this job as partisan mouthpiece, so I won’t comment on that.
This “reporter” did show immeasurably bad judgement and used possibly illegal tactics to get where he was. However, to expect him to be the mouthpiece for gays in America? We’d rather not have him, thanks.
John H. – I don’t think Patrick meant it this way, but his post provides the material for me to respond to your post.
Patrick has outlined precisely why I say the story has no significance except for as a freakshow.
Did someone at the White House leak classified documents to G/G? This is the only element that has the potential to have significance beyond the freakshow. Do we have any evidence to suggest that this happened, beyond Gannon/Guckert’s own statements (which are pretty lacking in credibility)? I’m not asking this question rhetorically; I really don’t know the answer.
The rest of the story is just a freakshow, meaning nothing.
Why did Gannon/Guckert get press credentials, when other legitimate reporters had to wait? We already know the answer to that one: Because he was a shill for the White House, and possibly Bush paying a favor to G/G’s owners.
Is that wrong? Yes it is. On the other hand, it’s pretty petty stuff. If a President whom we supported did it, we wouldn’t think any less of him for it.
Is G/G a hypocrite? You bet he is. He’s shilling for an administration that despises his lifestyle. He may not (as Patrick notes) actually be gay, but (1) the White House and Religions Right will certainly see him as gay and (2) The White House and Religious Right has no more love for sex workers than they do for homosexuals.
Does G/G in some way represent the gay or sex worker community? To bigots, unfortunately, yes. The rest of us know that he’s just a jerk.
As for conservatives trying to make G/G out to be a victim: You’re right, of course, they’re sincere, or else they’ve convinced themselves of the position.
I know from experience what it’s like to convince yourself of a political position: for the entire Bush administration, I convinced myself that I supported the Democrats. Since the November election, I have realized that both the Democrats AND Republicans are knaves and fools, and I feel much more freedom for it. The Republicans can win elections but have no idea how to govern the country. The Democrats are competent — barely competent — or maybe just not TOO incompetent — at governing, but they can’t win elections. The hell with both of them.
The Bush-supporters trying to paint G/G as the victim remind me of some of the conservatives’ reactions to Abu Ghraib. They said: You know, of course torture is a terrible thing, but a lot of good can come of this (they said). It will show the repressive regimes in the Middle East how an enlightened democracy handles war crimes.
Sez I: Oh. I thought that Abu Ghraib was a badge of shame on all America and that the prison guards there couldn’t have delivered more of a setback to the American cause if they’d been spying for the insurgents all that time. I’m glad to be set straight and to realize that A.G. was, in fact, a PR opportunity.
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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