23:33 - 22 February, 2005
The Senate Still Has a Pulse?
This means the Dems have finally recognized, en masse, that there is a serious problem here and that Bush needs to be called on this. Very very very good news.
Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to contact your two Senators NOW and ask them to sign Senator Durbin's "Dear Colleague" letter about Jeff Gannon/Guckert, the fake GOP journalist that was given access to the White House.
Find your Senators' contact info here - call and email them. Let's have their voice mail boxes FULL when they get to work tomorrow. Please call the Senators from your home state, and let them know what town you live in, so they know that you really are a constituent. And be nice.
Senate Democratic leadership joins push for Gannon inquiry
The Senate Democratic leadership is privately circulating a letter calling for other senators to join a call for an investigation into discredited White House reporter Jeff Gannon.
The letter, issued from Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), calls on President Bush to “order a full inquiry” into how a “fake” journalist working for a “sham” news organization got access to the president.
The letter was leaked to RAW STORY this evening. A decision on taking action on Gannon has been brewing for about a week, since Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on the White House to turn over all documentation relating to Gannon’s credentialing.
The Senate Democratic leadership is encouraging members to sign onto the letter behind the scenes. As Congress is in recess, Democrats will be calling on members in their home districts before the Senate reconvenes next week.
Senator Durbin’s letter follows.
Dear Mr. President,
At a press conference in the White House on January 26, you stated that “there needs to be a nice, independent relationship between the White House and the press.” In that same press conference, you called on a reporter then known as Jeff Gannon, who worked for an organization called Talon News.
Since that time, the public has learned that the real name of that reporter is James Dale Guckert, not Jeff Gannon, and that he had regular access to the White House press facilities for more than a year. We have also learned that the questions he posed at White House press briefings and the stories he filed for Talon News frequently mirrored Republican Party talking points, that Talon News is a news organization in name only and that it has apparently close connections to the Republican party.
Given the unprecedented level of security in Washington since 9/11, it is troubling that that a non-journalist using a false name and working for a sham news organization could have gained regular access to the White House for such an extended period of time.
Another reason the Gannon/Guckert affair is disturbing is because of what we have recently learned about apparent efforts by some in your Administration to try to “buy” favorable news coverage. These other efforts include paying news personalities Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher large sums of money to promote your Administration’s education and marriage initiatives, and using tax payer dollars to produce video news releases promoting the new prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries and other policies the Administration regards as accomplishments.
A recent report by the General Accountability Office called such video news releases illegal uses of public funds. More recently, we have heard troubling reports that Social Security Administration officials may be using public funds and pressuring public employees to promote your goal of privatizing Social Security.
As you know, concerns that government officials may be trying to deceive the public by manipulating the media can be extremely corrosive to public trust.
For that reason, we respectfully request that you order an immediate and thorough investigation into the Gannon/Guckert matter. How is it possible that a man using a fake name, with dubious journalism credentials, was able to clear the White House’s extensive security screening process and gain such close access to you and your staff for such an extended period of time? Have there been other, similar breaches of security and journalism standards?
We appreciate your prompt attention to this important matter. We urge you to order a full inquiry so that the American people know the facts.
Keep the fire alive....
17:23 - 22 February, 2005
Money And Gannongate Makes The World Go 'Round
Gannon considering book, paid speaking tour, and thinks he'll get invited to WH correspondent's dinner
This man is slowly going insane.
From Editor and Publisher:
"I have every intention of attending this year's [dinner]," Guckert, a guest at the last two dinners, told E&P today. "Don’t you think I could? I'm sure someone is going to ask me or offer me the opportunity to go. It is a great publicity event." This year's dinner will be held on April 30.
In other matters, Guckert said he is spending most of his time these days writing in a journal he has kept since he first began covering the White House in February 2003, a journal that could become a book.
"I have probably one page for each day at the White House, about 200 pages of stuff," said Guckert. "Is it all interesting? Probably not. But it could be [a book]. I haven’t thought that far ahead."
Guckert, who contends he still has a future in journalism, also added that entering the paid-speaker circuit is another goal. "It is likely that I will start making some appearances and speaking," he said, declinig to name specific efforts he has taken in that regard. "There are people who are definitely interested in some of my behind-the-scenes work in the press room." That is certainly an understatement.
When asked about what journalistic opportunities he could find, Guckert said only: "I still think, despite the bad things being said about me, I am a journalist, I have been one for two years and have written about 500 articles. I paid a big price for the privilege to call myself a journalist."
Although Guckert said no one had asked him to be their guest at the 2005 White House Correspondents dinner, scheduled for April 30, he believes his recent fame will make him a potential guest. "There is still time," he said, noting that the dinner had often prompted attention because of some controversial guests in the past, such as Monica Lewinsky. "There is always someone there trying to make news," he added. "Maybe this year it is going to be me."
It gets weirder...Looks like Mr. Guckert is trying to profit here and In America, Profit does come from misfortune indeed.
I have made mistakes in my past. And these are all of a very personal and private nature that have been"
And he told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: "I've made mistakes in my past."
It's not "a mistake" when you try to make $15,000 off of it TODAY, and write coy little messages in the ad about how "this is the site you've been hearing about!" That sounds like crowing and profit-taking, not a good Christian admitting a mistake
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