February 15, 2005


The scandal over "Jeff Gannon"-- the alias of the so-called reporter for the so-called Talon News Service (a hard-right propaganda outfit financed by a prominent GOP contributor) who was seeded among the bona fide White House correspondents to serve up Nerf-ball questions to George Bush and his press secretary, Scott McClellan -- has taken a fascinating new turn.

It now appears that "Gannon," a.k.a. James Guckert, was a male prostitute who extensively advertised his wares, for sale to gay men, on the 'net. John Aravosis' Americablog has all the details, with photo captures of "Gannon"/Guckert's various websites that include pictures of the phony journalist in the buff displaying his erect equipment.

Raw Story raises questions about whether "Gannon"/Guckert got his credentials to participate in White House press conferences thanks to some sort of gay relationship with McClellan, the Bush press secretary whose closet homosexuality has been long rumored.

The sex lives of "Gannon"/Guckert and McClellan would not be relevant, had not both been spear-carriers in the vicious Republican campaign of gay-baiting demagogy. But if, as appears to be the case, both men are closet-case kapos whose twisted self-hate has transmogrified them into persecutors of those with same-sex hearts, they deserve to be exposed. And they join a raft of other prominent Republican political gay-baiters who are themselves gay: from powerful California Rep. David Dreier  and disgraced paid-for-propaganda columnist/talk show host Armstrong Williams to new Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.

This latest example of the Bush White House's sexual hypocrisy comes hard on the heels of Bush's hate-preaching State of the Union address which singled out gays as targets for lies that encourage anti-gay violence. But not a single mainstream media outlet has had the guts to connect the dots and expose Bush's double standard -- one for the gay people he bashes, another for the closeted gays among his shock troops who help carry out this administration's virulently anti-gay agenda. All this is a legitimate news story with enormous policy and political implications. What are the Big Boys in the media waiting for?

P.S. My friend David Corn has a particularly obtuse online Nation column about the "Gannon"/Guckert affair denouncing bloggers for exposing "Gannon's" multiple deceptions in which he declares that "Gannon" is "no Armstrong Williams." Oh, but he is -- like Williams, "Gannon" is an overpaid, closet-case, anti-gay propagandist for so-called "family values" whose distorted secret homosexual life has little to do with the way most same-sexers conduct themselves (Williams is a serial sexual harasser, "Gannon" a $200 an hour hooker). But for some reason David doesn't even mention "Gannon's" well-publicized gay-baiting, including his declaration during the campaign that Kerry would be "the first gay president" because he was allegedly the captive of the Human Rights Campaign (even though Kerry constantly said he was opposed to gay marriage, the HRC's principal --some would say only -- issue, and Kerry had even gone so far as to support enshrining anti-gay discrimination in the Massachusetts Constitution in the form of an amendment banning legal marriage for loving same-sex couples.) The issue of politicized sexual hypocrisy in the service of the Bush-Rove Republicans that "Gannon" and Williams have in common Corn misses totally. Either David had his hetero blinders on, or he didn't do his homework.

NOT ENTIRELY UNRELATED READING: In the September-October 2004 issue of Legal Affairs, my old friend and sometime colleague Joanne Wypijewski had a careful, thoughtful, and fascinating dissection of the case against Paul Shanley, the Catholic priest just sentenced to 12-15 years in prison for child rape. Joanne digs past the national media hysteria about Shanley to produce a nuanced portrait of the man and a dissident view of the evidence against him, including a look at the intense sexual hypocrisy of the era in which Shanley grew up. It takes a courageous journalist to go against the tide in a case of pedophilia and produce a calm, reasoned review of the evidence--or lack of it--in such a case (The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz, a noted conservative who exposed the lies in the child-abuse day-care center phony scandals a decade ago, is another). Joanne has always been fearless, and so is this important piece of hers--make sure you read it by clicking here.

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This story keeps getting bigger and bigger:

(1) White House alerted Gannon to the 3/19/2003 invasion of Iraq -- 4 hours before Bush announced the invasion to the public (AmericaBlog)

(2) Gannon bragged of feeding stories to TV networks (Raw Story)

No wonder the Bushies want to bomb Iran and Syria. That would surely "Wag the Dog"!

Posted by: Charles Everett | Feb 18, 2005 1:08:22 PM

This is turning out to be a major scandal, and a pretty damned embarrassing one, at that. Good thing for Bush the media is steadfastly ignoring it. Had this happened under a Democratic president, does anyone doubt that we'd be seeing that picture of Guckert in his undies trumpeted from every newsroom 24/7? Can anyone imagine the reaction of the GOP? We'd never hear the end of it, so why are the Dems continuing to drag their asses on this? This is ammunition tailor-made for firing at Dubya's base of fundie neandrathals, and it's practically handed to the Democrats on a silver platter. Why aren't they using it?

And it's bad enough the "liberal" media is looking the other way; that was predictable enough. But what on earth has gotten into David Corn? He's not stupid, so that's no excuse. He should fucking know better.

Posted by: John D. | Feb 16, 2005 3:11:03 PM

Here's more.

Posted by: ally | Feb 16, 2005 3:04:10 PM

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