Off Bolton Momentarily: Jeff Gannon Sketch in <em>Vanity Fair</em> Can’t Help But to Raise Questions about White House Judgment


The June issue of Vanity Fair hits New York newsstands on Wednesday, May 4th — and goes national on May 10th.
The Jeff Gannon expose in it will make this VF a “below the Beltway” blockbuster — and while I’m not too keen on taking too much attention away from the serious matter of exposing the wrong-headedness of George Bush’s nomination of John Bolton to the United Nations, I wanted to share this brilliantly scripted segment of the Gannon profile:

In a wide-ranging interview, Jeff Gannon (ne James Guckert), the gay male escort turned White House reporter, tells Vanity Fair that the charge that he is a fake is what stings him the most: “I’m not discredited, not in any way, shape, or form, and that annoys me. Is Dan Rather discredited? I mean, I think he is, but nobody says ‘the discredited Dan Rather.'”
Gannon talks of writing a tell-all book and suggests he has good gossip on important Washington, D.C., people, though given his ordeal, he’s not sure he’d dish. He implies that there is much “misinformation” about him in circulation, but he won’t say what it is. He claims that his “team of lawyers,” whom he won’t identify, is weighing possible libel, slander, and defamation-of-character charges against unspecified parties for offenses he will not disclose. He volunteers that his story is more complex than described, involving secret work for which he needed security clearance, although he refuses to elaborate: “My history isn’t exactly linear.”
Gannon calls some of his prime offenders “radical gay activists.” He accuses them of “hyper-hysterical homosexual hypocrisy” and reveals that some of his fiercest gay detractors had even come on to him, shedding their convictions “like a sweater on a hot day.”
Gannon sees his comeback happening via an interview show, or talk radio, or even the White House briefing room, saying that the person who would hire him would be “someone who didn’t care, somebody who’s a maverick, who wants to create a little controversy … might have the stones to say, ‘We want him as our White House reporter.’ Because that’s news, and that’s going to attract readers.” Scott McClellan tells Vanity Fair, “I don’t think anybody expects it. It seems like he’s moved on.”
John Aravosis of tells Vanity Fair, “It’s hard to believe that someone with no background in journalism or politics could simply waltz into town, get access to the White House on a regular basis, be invited to Grover [Norquist]’s meetings, and then uncover scoops that take down the minority leader of the Senate.” Vanity Fair proves that easy passage to the White House press briefing room still exists, writing “we sailed in on little more than Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and the claim that we worked for Vanity Fair.”

I once proposed on this blog that critics stop piling on to Gannon/Guckert long enough to see whether he might be “turned” and help expose some of the shenanigans in White House press-meddling and information control techniques that needed to be highlighted.
It would have been a risky enterprise anyway and still worth trying in my view — but clearly, what I suggested would not have worked.
Now, back to John Bolton.
I want to publicly thank once again Gannon-nemesis John Aravosis for his present to me last week of the URL,, that leads — well, you guessed it, right back here to TWN.
Paste into your browser. It’s fun — and then compare to the folks running
More later.
— Steve Clemons