Newsbusters plays the Jeff Gannon card; flops spectacularly

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

You'd think that of all the Bush-era White House misadventures that conservatives would want to never mention again, the strange saga of Jeff Gannon would be at the top of the list. (Real name: James Guckert.) He's the former male escort who, thanks to the good graces of the White House communications staff, was waved into the White House briefing room as a 'correspondent' for a phony, right-wing news organization (Talon News). He was allowed in even though Gannon had failed to go through the proper channels for acquiring a daily White House press pass.

Actually, the Bush team waved Gannon into the White House--without ever submitting him to a standard security background check--even before he teamed up with the amateurish Talon News. Gannon wasn't affiliated with any news org in 2003, but was granted complete access nonetheless. The Bush White House, not known for its close relations with the press corps, just liked the guy and granted him extraordinary clearance for nearly two years.

Those are the Gannon facts.

This week, Newsbusters' Matthew Vadum comically tries to compare the Gannon oddity wtih the fact that for a single Obama press conference, a representative from liberal org Think Progress was granted press credentials. According to Newsbusters, that constitutes "hypocrisy" because liberals protested Gannon's White House presence.

Not surprisingly, Vadum valiantly plays dumb throughout the report, pretending that Gannon's only sins were that he was gay (apparently libs, who uncovered the Gannon scam, don't like gays), and that Gannon asked Bush-friendly questions at White House briefings. The fact that the Bush White House ignored the established media protocol for securing daily White House press passes is politely ignored by Vadum. (His soggy effort was also posted at American Spectator.)

Worse, Vadum makes no attempt to prove that the press pass handed out to Think Progress for a single White House press event is any way comparable to the way the Bush team set aside established rules for securing a daily White House press pass, and did it for nearly two years for Gannon's benefit. Meaning, giving the okay to attend a single, specific White House media event is not the same as being given the green light to stroll into the White House press room whenever you like for two years, as Gannon did, under an alias.

But hey Newsbusters, don't stop talking about Jeff Gannon on our account. Please continue...

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