Friday, February 11, 2005

Bush secret propaganda undermines free press

So first we have it revealed that a reliable partisan hack had been furtively put on the government payroll... and urged to recruit others while 'undercover.' Then a second and a third media-crony are found secretly drawing retainers from your taxdollars and mine in order to to spew their partisan filth.

And now news that a 'news organization' (Talon news), which is in reality a partisan PR operation had placed an undercover asset (false name and everything) into daily press briefings and even a white house press conference to lob false and misleading questions -- 'lifelines' -- to further the partisan agenda of dehumanizing Democrats or anyone who questions Der Fuehrer.

Finally the MSM (mainstream media) has found it fit enough to report on the latest degradation of reporters and reporting:
Democrats Want Investigation of Reporter Using Fake Name: "Democrats in Congress are pressing for investigations into how a Washington reporter who used a pseudonym managed to gain access to the White House and had access to classified documents that named Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative."
But this brief item does not even begin to plumb the depths at the roots of this instance of media machinations. After all, someone had to credential this bogus 'reporter.' And background check would have revealed his true identity. Hence the White House had to be complicit with the deliberately covert planting of a media shill posing as a reporter in the press corps, and one who was called upon frequently.

As usual, one finds better coverage overseas:
Fake reporter unmasked at White House: The White House faced fresh accusations of a clandestine propaganda campaign yesterday after it emerged it granted regular access to a rightwing blogger with a habit of asking President Bush easy questions.

Jeff Gannon, who represented a rightwing site owned by a Texas-based Republican activist, had been a regular at White House briefings since 2003 but aroused reporters' suspicions after posing ideologically loaded questions....
[But note that it wasn't reporters that uncovered his chicanery.... it was MediaMatters and independent bloggers.]

But questions remained yesterday about why the White House suspended the normally rigorous vetting process to issue daily passes to an organisation rejected by the [Republican controlled] Senate last year for not being a legitimate media outlet.

Gannon's unmasking comes only weeks after the Bush administration admitted paying handsome sums to three conservative commentators to promote its social programmes in print, radio and TV, and has led to calls from Democrats for an explanation.

"It appears that Mr Gannon's presence in the White House press corps was merely a tool of propaganda for your administration," the Democratic congresswoman Louise Slaughter wrote in a letter to Mr Bush.

In its investigations, Media Matters for America discovered that Talon News was owned by a Texas-based Republican activist called Roger Eberle, and that its so-called correspondent was in the habit of lifting verbatim large chunks of White House and Republican party press releases without attribution.

It also discovered a disturbing pattern at White House press conferences during the year or so when Gannon was a regular fixture.

"You could see there was a pattern in which the White House press secretary, Scott McLellan, would be getting a more aggressive and less friendly question, and then would seem to call on Jeff Gannon to change the subject. And when he did he got a softball question in return," Mr Brock said.

The fake reporter's downfall came last week when he attracted suspicion with a particularly loaded question to the president on how he would enlist Democratic support for his social security reforms.

After falsely attributing quotes to Democratic leaders, Gannon asked: "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
Of course, these wingnut whackos have no shame when it comes to propaganda, subversion of an open society or intimidation of public discourse. But when it comes to their hypocrisy on sexual issues.... well, that's a different story. Cue the Shadenfreude music:
Bush press pal quits over gay prostie link: A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White House and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution.

"The voice goes silent," Jeff Gannon wrote on his Web site. "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family
[mother, brother and sister-in-law], I have decided to return to private life."

Gannon began covering the White House two years ago for an obscure Republican Web site ( He was known for his friendly questions, including asking Bush at last month's news conference how he could work with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."

Gannon was also given a classified CIA memo that named agent Valerie Plame, leading to his grilling by the grand jury investigating her outing.

He came under lefty scrutiny after revelations that the administration was paying conservative pundits to talk up Bush's proposals. By examining Internet records, online sleuths at figured out that his real name was Jim Guckert and he owned various Web sites, including, and

"The issue here is whether someone with connections to male prostitution was given unfettered access to the White House and copies of internal CIA documents. For a family values administration, that's pretty creepy," said John Aravosis, one of the bloggers chasing the story.

The White House didn't return a call asking how someone using an alias was given daily clearance to enter the White House.

On his TalonNews Web site, Gannon had written that liberals were out to get him because he's a white conservative man who owns a gun, drives a sport-utility vehicle and is a born-again Christian.

Yesterday, however, he abruptly quit, and all of the stories he wrote were erased from the Web site.
[Holy George Orwell, Batman!] A great many were on gay issues, including one detailing John Kerry's "pro-homosexual platform" that was headlined mockingly, "Kerry Could Become First Gay President."
If you click on the above story link, you'll also see an online photo of Jeff Gannon/JD Guckert -- if you can stomach it.

Now of course the bushies are trying to turn this into a story of gay-bashing (poor poor JD Guckert), to hide the real story of this being a baltant example of their illegal and ongoing efforts to undermine the integrity and transparency of public discourse through secret government funding or sponsoring of propaganda aimed at the people -- secret government payoffs, leaks from the secret police, staged 'town meetings' paid for by your tax dollars but limited to GOP faithful, and media plants -- both of stories and 'reporters.' (Government sponsorship direct from the White House is the only way Guckert could have got credentialed despite what his background check turned up.) What else I wonder?

FoxNews and Limbaugh are only the most open example of the GOP's politically correct police attempt to pervert the public sphere. Now that some of the rocks have been inadvertantly turned over, we are getting to see some of the covert aspects of the GOP's war on an open society. Bush and the GOP are determined to make the U.S. more like Russia, where freedoms exist in name only. Rather than Marx they have the gospel according to Falwell and Robertson: a twisted, hateful creed of envy and vengence. And they want to eliminate people who 'don't know their place' and want to think for themselves, like you.

PS: Here is a congressional call for investigations that delineates the key points clearly, particularly the issue of White House involvment.

PPS: a Guckert/Gannon primer