Wednesday, February 16, 2005

If Gannon was a Democrat...
What with Media Monday and all, I skipped over the new revelations uncovered by americablog in the "Jeff Gannon"/JD Guckert story: namely that not only were those scandalous websites owned by him, and not only did he go live with an escort service targeting men in the military, he was himself the "escort." So, the man who asked easy questions of the White House, who got daily WH credentials despite writing for a brand new "news organization," with a $50 GOP-led 2-day journalism seminar as his only training, was in fact a whore. And not just a metaphorical kind. A bona fide hooker. With leaked classified documents related to the outing of a CIA operative (Valerie Plame).

It is worth pondering which parts, if any, of this story are worth pursuing. Kevin Drum fears that this kind of "scalp-hunting" game helps Republicans, because of the things they care about, but does not help Democrats. I'm especially on his side when it comes to the gay angle. We're the ones that aren't supposed to care whether he's gay. Prostitution, now that's another story. And I know, there is no shortage of hypocrisy in his homosexuality. But I would prefer we not tag on that "gay" modifier , as if it carried an extra indictment all by itself. It does not.

While Democrats wrestle with what kind of fuss to make about this, we at least should not let Republicans say one word. This is an internal soul-searching moment. Because we know damn well what Republicans would do, if the naked online photos were on the other foot. As Joe Conason says, via Kos,
Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart—or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps—and listen to the placid mumbling of the "liberal" media now.
Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post has actually weighed in on the x-rated twist. Also, Digby thinks it's a story. He makes a good case, but I'm not sold. I would like to know how "Gannon" got such access and with a pseudonym. That's the part that doesn't wash for me. And if it turns out that his credential-express pathway was paved by a former client, who is in the White House, then we've got something to talk about. My guess is less conspiratorial: I'll bet they'd let just any damn conservative who wants in the WH briefing room and has the nerve to ask. And that our Jeff has that compartmentalizing thing down, just like Clinton did. I hope "the conservative guy" would appreciate the comparison.

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