Friday, February 18, 2005

Propagannon, Part 2

While we wait for the Freedom of Information Act documents regarding the White House press room access given to Jim Guckert/"Jeff Gannon", a few new wrinkles have been added to the mix.

It seems that Guckert's first press briefing was on 2/28/03, nearly a full month before his Potemkin "news" agency employer, Talon "News", had been established. Guckert is already on record as stating that he had no journalistic experience before hooking up with Talon.

Therefore, he got access without any news agency affiliation, by his own admission. How and why was he allowed in, and by whom? That's what we'll find out when the FOIA docs are released, one hopes.

At any rate, Raw Story fleshes out the new Guckert allegations. As we already know, Guckert got a look at the classified Valerie Plame memo, as did Robert Novak. For some reason, Judith Miller and Matt Cooper are facing jail time for failing to disclose their sources on the memo, yet Novak doesn't even appear to have been talked to. Is this because Novak knows where all the bodies are buried, or do we have different rules for different people?

Intelligence Squad has the rundown on all the questions asked at that 2/28/03 briefing. Most of the questions were serious and topical, regarding the impending buildup to invasion and war, European allies, Hans Blix, oil prices, economic ramifications, etc.

Here's what Guckert asked, for a "news" agency that did not even exist yet:

There have been reports out of Maine that the children of deployed service personnel are being harassed as a result of their elementary school teacher's expression of anti-war views in the classroom. Could you comment on that?

This was an urban myth spread by the usual wingnut radio suspects, especially Oxycontin Limbaugh. Its veracity has been disputed, but regardless, the angle on this question cannot be drawn with a real-world protractor.

At this point, it behooves us to ask the question, why then? What was so special about that particular point in time, that Guckert needed to be there to lob that kind of softball? And remember -- he was not there by accident. Someone vetted this guy, despite the fact that he had zero journalist credentials, and by his own admission did not work for any news agency at the time, since he has said Talon was his first.

Was Talon's pending formation a known entity, as an in-house pro-war pro-Bush propaganda mouthpiece, and as such, getting Guckert in before the pending start of war was critical to getting the message pushed as early as possible? How is it possible, that in the stepped-up security of post-9/11 America, someone with zero journalist credentials, no credible profession whatsoever, and pending tax-evasion problems in Maryland, waltzes into the White House press room and gets a pass? And what is the practical purpose of such a tactic?

And the Drudge(another weasel that bears scrutiny)-like scoops that were apparently handed to Guckert -- the starting time of the Iraq invasion before it was announced; the name of CBS News producer Mary Mapes' name, which Guckert helpfully passed along to Sean Hannity, so Fox News could break the Dan Rather Memogate scandal. Guckert clearly didn't get these scoops by investigating; someone gave them to him. Real reporters don't give away their scoops, they break them for their own news agencies. Fake reporters hand breaking news scoops off to propaganda arms for their party benefactors.

The most relevant advice comes from that most infamous of anonymous journalist sources, Deep Throat: Follow the money.

1 comment:

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