Thursday, February 17, 2005

Why is the Jeff Gannon story important?

Bloggers are continuing to lead the investigation into Gannongate. Today, after reviewing historical C-Span White House press conference coverage, it has been revealed that Jeff Gannon (AKA James D. Guckert) had access to the Whitehouse Press Corps before Talon News even existed, and before he had taken the $50 two-day course at the leadership institute to obtain his so-called credentials as a reporter. In addition, video evidence indicates that Guckert was using a hard pass in those early videos way back in February 2003.

This new evidence completely contradicts the testimony of Scott McClellan, who indicated that Gannon/Guckert had received daily passes because he had press credentials, and because he had published regularly. Talon News did not exist until March 2003, and did not begin publishing regularly until April 2003. This evidence, along with the massive purging attempt of all website content published by Gannon, points to an attempted coverup by the Whitehouse.

Salon, Democratic Underground, and Daily Kos are all covering this story today. Members of the Daily Kos are in the process of obtaining higher quality than the relatively low-quality media offered on the C-Span website. The videos in question are the March 3rd and February 25th C-Span Videos available here.

All of this evidence appears to point to the following -- The Bush Administration was having difficulty selling the War on Terror. For some reason, an uncredentialed Guckert (AKA Gannon) was ushered into the Whitehouse Press, and given a hard press pass. Someone high up in the Whitehouse made a decision to bring in Gannon. The questions we need to have answered are who did this and what was their motive?

Further evidence appears to implicate Gannon in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity. Was Gannon given access to the internal CIA memo which leaked Plame's identity? Was the memo given to Gannon in an attempt to quickly discredit Joseph Wilson dissent of the evidence used to invade Iraq? How high up does this go?

These are questions that need to be answered. This is not about Jeff Gannon. This is about an abusive Bush Administration willing to go far beyond reasonable ethical limits in order to sway public opinion and justify their agenda. This is an administration that has already been caught red-handed using tax-payer funded journalists to advance their agenda, in a deliberate act of state-sponsored propaganda.

I'd to leave you with a video clip I first brought up in a February 5th entry. This clip shows President Bush being questioned about Armstrong Williams and the administration's use of propaganda to promote their agenda. Immediately following three straight hard-nosed questions on the issue of Propaganda, Bush switches to a inane softball question from Jeff Gannon, which allows him to quickly move the entire focus of the press conference. Open this clip in Real Player, and advance to 34 minutes and 43 seconds. How much did President Bush know of Jeff Gannon, his background, and the inappropriateness of his presence in the Whitehouse press room? There are many questions to be answered, and we must all hope that those responsible are held accountable.