John Aravosis told me last night that the only person who seems to be able to reach Jeff Gannon/James Guckert is Michelangelo Signorile, who previously interviewed Gannon/Gukcert in a two-hour interview.
Gannon/Guckert seems, in part, driven by the spotlight — and he could really rehabilitate his image and do something good for the politics of this town if he (1) identified the person in the White House who helped him with a couple of years of day passes for press briefings; and (2) identified the person or persons who shared with him classified intelligence regarding Valerie Plame’s CIA role.
Gannon/Guckert has a chance, now, to get ahead of this controversy and turn the embarrassment about his side-line hustler business into something that could turn him into a celebrity. I imagine his other options at this point are pretty bleak.
Jeff/Jim, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org — and I’d be happy to have an offline, off-the-record exchange with you about this. There are costs and benefits to any action, and you should think them through.
The story has moved from the Howard Kurtz column to new articles in the New York Times by Frank Rich and the Guardian by Sidney Blumenthal (and probably elsewhere — but haven’t done a full scan yet).
I have to agree with Frank Rich that there is a broad cast of complicit characters in the Gannon/Guckert scandal, and just a portion of these in the White House.
The inability of real journalists to penetrate this White House is not all the White House’s fault. The errors of real news organizations have played perfectly into the administration’s insidious efforts to blur the boundaries between the fake and the real and thereby demolish the whole notion that there could possibly be an objective and accurate free press.
Conservatives, who supposedly deplore post-modernism, are now welcoming in a brave new world in which it’s a given that there can be no empirical reality in news, only the reality you want to hear (or they want you to hear). The frequent fecklessness of the Beltway gang does little to penetrate this Washington smokescreen. For a case in point, you needed only switch to CNN on the day after Mr. Olbermann did his fake-news-style story on the fake reporter in the White House press corps.
“Jeff Gannon” had decided to give an exclusive TV interview to a sober practitioner of by-the-book real news, Wolf Blitzer. Given this journalistic opportunity, the anchor asked questions almost as soft as those “Jeff” himself had asked in the White House. Mr. Blitzer didn’t question Mr. Guckert’s outrageous assertion that he adopted a fake name because “Jeff Gannon is easier to pronounce and easier to remember.” (Is “Jeff” easier to pronounce than his real first name, Jim?).
Mr. Blitzer never questioned Gannon/Guckert’s assertion that Talon News “is a separate, independent news division” of GOPUSA. Only in a brief follow-up interview a day later did he ask Gannon/Guckert to explain why he was questioned by the F.B.I. in the case that may send legitimate reporters to jail: Mr. Guckert has at times implied that he either saw or possessed a classified memo identifying Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative.
Might that memo have come from the same officials who looked after “Jeff Gannon’s” press credentials? Did Mr. Guckert have any connection with CNN’s own Robert Novak, whose publication of Ms. Plame’s name started this investigation in the first place? The anchor didn’t go there.
Gannon/Guckert could call this sham what it is, write about it, speak about it, expose the hypocrisy at play here.
— Steve Clemons