Saturday, April 09, 2005

Some thoughts about Jeff Gannon's National Press Club panel appearance

Fake journalist Jeff Gannon could be seen on C-span today during a National Press Club discussion on journalism and blogging.

One thing that particularly bothered me was Gannon using the panel as a forum to attack other journalists such as Maureen Dowd and David Corn, where in both instances he distorted the truth.

In the case of Dowd he claimed that she was misleading people about the press corps credentialing process by telling people she can't get a hard pass, and then he went on to explain why she does not meet the requirements of hard pass access. Dowd does have access and here is what she actually said in the column Jeff was alluding to
At first when I tried to complain about not getting my pass renewed, even though I'd been covering presidents and first ladies since 1986, no one called me back. Finally, when Mr. McClellan replaced Ari Fleischer, he said he'd renew the pass — after a new Secret Service background check that would last several months.
And from David Corn's response to Gannon's comments
Now he's saying that my appearance in the White House press room somehow justifies how he seemingly scammed his entry into this den of spin. I truly don't want to engage in a debate with Ganon/Guckert, but since this panel has gotten more attention than it deserves, I feel compelled to respond -- briefly.

Unlike Gannon/Guckert, I have been a fully credentialed member of the Washington press corps for almost two decades. During that time, I have had a congressional press pass, which is the main press pass for working journalists in the nation's capital. Gannon/Guckert was turned down for such a pass. As a holder of such a pass, I can call the White House press office whenever I wish to attend a press briefing there--which is not often--and request a day press and expect to receive one.
But perhaps what was most frustrating was hearing Gannon defend the administration paying Armstrong Williams to shill for No Child Left Behind by claiming that the administration had to pay Williams just to get some coverage without a "filter." Thats what Jeff said he does, he bypasses the "filter." Words can't express how badly I wanted to be on that panel or in the audience at that moment. The words came to me instantly. Here's what I would have said to Jeff if I had been there:

You're right Jeff. There is a filter. Its called the truth. I wouldn't expect you to understand, but thats what journalists do: they take what the government says and they scrutinize it to see if the government is telling the truth. Thats why the press is so important to a democracy, Jeff. In a government "of the people, for the people, by the people" the government has to be held accountable.

"Who watches the watchmen?" We do. The press is our watchdog, or at least its supposed to be. You're no watchdog Jeff ... you're a lap dog.


John Lombard said...

As Wonkette said at the time, you don't pay people to get fair coverage, you pay people to get positive coverage. And Fox News not conservative! It's a pathology -- with some people, politics is a pathology.

Here's what Digby had to say:

"Gannon has quite the schtick going for him. I don't know if it's a natural gift or if he has had help, but he handled it all quite deftly, I thought. He makes absolutely no sense, wanders off into unrelated subjects, claims victimhood at every turn, avoids questions like a pro and appears to me to be incredibly stupid, arrogant and deluded all at the same time. A clown that nobody in their right mind could take seriously. In others words, meet the next GOP nominee for President of the United States.

"I spent years right on this old blog screeching about George W. Bush being just as I described, assuming that any sentient person could see that he makes no sense, that he speaks in riddles that he is coached (badly) and that he has absolutely no idea that he is an idiot. It took me a long time realize that that is exactly what a lot of people like about him. He doesn't need to make sense as long as he claims to represent the "real" people who are predisposed to support him against the pointy headed know-it-alls who lord over them. I have little doubt that they think Gannon really kicked ass."

John Lombard said...

And while Gannon's attack on Dowd was incorrent, I think Maureen Dowd is a leftie we can do without. She started the "earth tones" meme in 2000 and was responsible for "Who among us doesn't like Nascar?" in 2004. Read all about it:

I think she's a nice enough person but she's too frothy to take up precious NYT editorial space.