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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    February 10, 2005
    Why Report When You Can Just Read Blogs Over The Air?

    I don't want to address the bizarre story of Jeff Gannon here, especially since Dan Froomkin has a terrific roundup on the whole story in today's Washington Post. I am certainly not prepared to defend a guy who used a fake name to "report" as a "member" of The White House press corps. This is OlbermannWatch.com so I am going to focus on Keith and his "reporting" on the Gannon story tonight.


    (click image for quicktime movie)
    Jeff Gannon

    Rather than do his own reporting, Keith once again heads to the internet and, without fact-checking, does his usual rip and read from a collection of far-left blogs and other lefty outlets. Keith's "sources" tonight include such estimable media outlets as the lefty Editor & Publisher, the The Daily Kos which even John Kerry broke with during the 2004 campaign and the always high-brow World 'o Crap. KO used sources like Kos and Crap to put bits of inflammatory, unsubstantiated, personal information about "Jeff Gannon" on-air that would not pass the journalistic smell-test in a responsible newsroom.

    Yesterday, that reliably right-wing rag, The Boston Globe, quoted Kelly McBride, an ethicist at the Poynter Institute, saying "the investigation of Gannon's personal life crossed traditional boundaries and was characterized by 'mean-spiritedness and snarkiness.'"

    Countdown, however, isn't just any ordinary newsroom. This is the newsroom that not only cited a fake story on the satirical web site Hoosier Gazetta as an authoratative news source in Indiana but had Keith Olbermann claiming to have direct quotes from a non-existent professor discussing a ficticious report on a study that was made up as a joke.

    Given the various hat tips to the loony left, KO inexpicably failed to credit the Soros-funded lefty propaganda web-site, Media Matters for America, for their well-documented research into Jeff Gannon's history of tossing softball questions at Scott McLellan and, more recently, President Bush.

    Almost all of the Gannon clips Countdown aired were sourced, without credit, directly from David Brock's "crack" ("crack" not "crackhead") research staff at Media Matters for America.

    - Gannon asking about Abu Ghraib Photos v. Saddam Rape Room Photos

    - Gannon asking whether Joe Wilson owes an apology

    - Gannon asking about UN inspector reports saying that Saddam was dismanling WMD sites before and after the war.

    - Gannon asking about an angry mob at Karl Rove's house

    - Gannon asking why the President said he was "reaching out" to press corps when they were supposedly non-partisan

    - Gannon asking whether there would be work requirements in any new welfare reform legislation

    - Gannon asking whether after he left the military he marched with Jane Fonda, testified that U.S. soldiers committed war crimes or tossed away his medals.

    Since David Brock is so often shilling for Keith, the dis is hard to understand.

    What makes all of this especially humorous is Keith's attempt to dismiss Talon News because it is an online news source. In OlbyWorld you can take a blog like World 'o Crap or the Hoosier Gazette at facevalue but a web site from the right is de facto suspect. I am not defending Talon News here just pointing out yet another example Keithpocrisy.


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (29) | | View blog reactions

    29 Comments

    While we're on the subject of hypocrisy, perhaps we should take a look at what Ms. McBride, an ethicist at the Poynter Institute, had to say about this very same subject several months ago during the Dan Rather Scandal:

    http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=53&aid=71447


    This seems to be the fairest and most comprehensive summary of the issue to date:


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14148-2005Feb10.html?sub=AR


    However, inexplicably, I don't see anyone offering commentary on how a guy using a fake name got a WH press security clearance. It's pretty obvious to me. The guy works for a conservative organization operated by a Texan with Republican ties.

    I think this certainly lends credence to Paul's assertion that the WH is quick to turn every forum for conveying information to the public into a mircromanaged PR stunt in order to get out its message (Paul would use the term "propaganda").

    m,

    I think McBride missing a point but I don't see any hypocrisy. In one column, McBride talks about blogger holding the old media's feet to the fire but in her Boston Globe comments she says that delving into Gannon's personal life and effectively outing him is over the line. I think that's a reflexive action that most people have to such a circumstance.

    What's she's overlooking is the internet aspect of all this. Talon News is an internet "news" source. It and Gannon's credentials are relevant. To comment that one of Talon's chief reporters has owned sites that seems to be part of the internet porn industry is relevant.

    He didn't use a fake name to get his press pass, he used his real name and did everything according to procedures established by the WH. He uses a pen name in his job because his real name is hard to prounounce and remember, like many involved in the media.

    Also, to say that Bush's WH is doing anything but working to get its own message out and support the very programs it is sponsoring for America is propaganda and a micromanaged PR stunt is unfair. It is battling a media that is largely dead set against it so of course they have to do whatever they can to support and argue for their own view. They have a responsibility to stand behind the programs they propose and give reasons why we should support them as well. That is not a micromanaged PR stunt.

    Also, Gannon never owned any internet porn sites. His previous job was as a web designer and one of his clients requested that he save those names for possible future sites, which he did in their name. The sites never went up. I think all this proves is that he is not prejudiced against gays, anyway.

    The fact that he works for a conservative news organization, that has 700,000 paid subcribers btw, means nothing. The New York Times has reporters in the WH pool that work for a liberal activist publisher who knowingly has altered news stories to promote an activist liberal agenda is worse than anything Talon has ever been accused of. Maybe some of their reporters should be questioned about why they are admitted to the WH press room.

    At least Talon openly admits they are conservative, the NY Times preposterously claims to have an "urban" perspective, whatever that is. Gannnon says that the questions he asked are questions that he is recieving from his readers and he is trying to get answers for what they want to know. Aren't the liberal media like the Wa Po and NYT doing the same for their liberal readers, asking over and over about Abu Ghraib and WMD?

    The more I find out about this story, the more it seems like through lying and false implication the left wing blogosphere is trying to create a left wing "rathergate", but they are way off the mark.

    What is really a shame is that this guy had to quit his job because of threats to himself and his family from nut jobs like Daily Kos and World o Crap losers.

    Cecilia-- My problem with McBride isn't that she said "the investigation of Gannon's personal life crossed traditional boundaries and was characterized by 'mean-spiritedness and snarkiness.'"

    It was that she went on to say that the investigation was full "tactics you would not see practiced in most traditional newsrooms." The Hypocrisy is in that she argues (in the article for which I provided the link) that those "non-traditional" tactics are exactly what will "change journalism for the better."

    She seems to only have changed her opinion after a conservative journalist got nailed by the bloggers. When it was Dan Rather, it was fine, in fact, it was a good thing for journalism. Now, it's over the line and not fair.

    As far as I'm concerned, Gannon's personal life is fair game. Moreover, until the WH can tellus why they seemed so obviously aware that he was using a fake name, they've got some 'splainin to do.

    And nappa-- since when is James a difficult name to pronounce? Or Guckert for that matter? Please.

    C,

    Thanks for the WaPo link. Good stuff.

    "However, inexplicably, I don't see anyone offering commentary on how a guy using a fake name got a WH press security clearance. It's pretty obvious to me. The guy works for a conservative organization operated by a Texan with Republican ties." --> True that!

    "I think this certainly lends credence to Paul's assertion that the WH is quick to turn every forum for conveying information to the public into a mircromanaged PR stunt in order to get out its message (Paul would use the term "propaganda")." -->You had me at "I think". I almost didn't need to respond. But then I read Napa's post. Drat! Thanks, C.

    More on Gannon/Guckert: He's a liar.

    On CNN, "Gannon" claimed that Talon News had 700,000 users. But, it's ranked 640,000 on the web. That is, there are roughly 640,000 sites on the web with more traffic than Talon News.

    For comparison, Daily Kos, with 365,000 average daily visits, ranks 3,365. Instapundit comes in at 6,918, with about 171,000 average daily visits.

    Talon News isn't 700,000 users strong, obviously.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and make the prediction that, by the time this investigation is over with, the claim that "Gannon never owned any internet porn sites. His previous job was as a web designer and one of his clients requested that he save those names for possible future sites, which he did in their name. The sites never went up" (along with just about everything else he has said) will be proved equally as false.

    And perhaps we should address the question that Mr. Cox raises in his post: KO reading from the blogs insead of doing actual reporting.

    Um, Hello? the blogs is where this story originated. As logic would have it, if you're going to report this story, you are effectively going to be reporting stuff that was on the blogs. Is Mr. Cox actually going to make the argument that the Rathergate story was suspect becuase the MSM was "reading from the blogs"?

    "At least Talon openly admits they are conservative..." Yes, honesty is the best policy. And clearly this dude's all about being a straight shooter. I may name my next kid after him...or his alias.

    "...the NY Times preposterously claims to have an "urban" perspective, whatever that is.
    -->That may be explained by the inclusion of the words "New York" in their masthead, which hints that they're based in the most populated U.S. City--with a headcount double that of its nearest competitor (LA). Preposterous indeed.

    "Aren't the liberal media like the Wa Po and NYT doing the same for their liberal readers, asking over and over about Abu Ghraib and WMD?"
    --> You have the AUDACITY to compare what this hack was doing to the press coverage of Abu Ghraib and absent WMD? I know that Iraq's now all about "freedom on the march" and reversing tyranny, but how many troops died thinking it was all about finding WMDs? How many prisoners who got their nuts fried or stuff jammed up their butts thought we honored the Genva Convention? And to answer you about the "Liberal Media...doing the same for their `liberal readers'" (which of course, truly, honestly describes the circulation of the WaPo and NYT), pretend I'm Ann coulter..."one is like farting in church. The other is like crapping in the Pope's lap." And you call US "nut jobs." And speaking of "nut jobs," I wonder, how much evidence you've accumulated re the alleged death threats on this creep and their sources? Are they legit? How do you know?

    "Also, to say that Bush's WH is doing anything but working to get its own message out and support the very programs it is sponsoring for America is propaganda and a micromanaged PR stunt is unfair. It is battling a media that is largely dead set against it so of course they have to do whatever they can to support and argue for their own view. They have a responsibility to stand behind the programs they propose and give reasons why we should support them as well."

    --> Blindly accept. Never question. The end justifies the means. It's us or them. Be afraid; be very afraid.

    I'm waiting. If peculiar PR-related incidents keep popping up, I'm gonna evaluate the cumulative evidence--and even read rightie accounts/explanations. Eventually I'll draw some conclusions, which may include that these events are related, perhaps even coordinated. I may even agree with the recently surfaced opinion that they constitue a pattern of disinformation intended to divert attention from the truly meaningful political events/stories of the day. Keep the press busy and they'll miss the "big story."

    If you can back up this "Cheez Whiz," please do.
    Sorry, Napa....This one was bunk.

    m,

    Thanks and keep up the good work. Love reading your stuff.

    I am not really interested in becoming an expert on Jeff Gannon/Guckert so I am not reading every story but besides the hyperbole there are few facts:

    1) Jeff Guckert wrote for Talon News under the pen-name "Gannon"

    2) Jeff Guckert registered the domain names Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com and Militaryescortsm4m.com.

    What other facts have been established? Because if this is it then I am no seeing the issue here.

    NOTE: to the loons who toll on this site, if you want to respond this question with more hyperbole in conspiracy theories I am not going to stop you but I am not going to count your conspiracy theories as "facts" no matter how loud and long you rant.

    Actually, Bob, you've got your facts wrong...and you're missing a few.

    The facts are actually the following:

    ) James D. Guckert wrote for Talon News under the pen-name "Jeff Gannon"

    2)James D. Guckert registered the domain names Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com and Militaryescortsm4m.com.

    3) "Jeff Gannon" has been sitting in WH press conferences as a part of the WH Pres Corps. for about two years-- being referred to by McClellan and the President as "Jeff"

    4) Jeff Guckert's application for a press pass to the House and Senate galleries was rejected because Talon News shares ownership with GOPUSA.com and did not meet press pass standards.

    And let me help you out here: The issue, I believe, is in the disparity of outcome between fact #3 and fact #4. Moreover, the WH (the Bush administration) seems to have a history of using the media to spread propoganda, and doing so without divulging it's connections to certain members of the media. It's a valid ethical question. I fail to see the connection to conspiracy theories here. Until someone asked, no one had any idea how Guckert/Gannon had gained access to the WH. Or under what name he had done so. In fact, I'm still not sure we've seen evidence as to what name he gave the WH.

    "M",

    In all of your loony e-mails to me over the past week or so I am not clear on whether you are still hiding behind one of your many psuedonyms or whether you "outed" yourself on this site. I know you said something about providing an e-mail in TypeKey but are we supposed to still address this version of your online persona as "m" or can we address you by your actual name or whatever fake name you use here or elsewhere?

    Whatever name/persona you are using today, I must say this is the last topic on which I would expect YOU, the Queen of Psuedonyms, to surface: jumping on this guy from Talon News for using a Psuedonym.

    God, you just gotta love the hypocrisy of liberal loons.

    Anywho, where were we? Oh yes, Keith lifting materials directly from blogs.

    There is nothing wrong with reporting what is being said on the blogs but legitimate news outlets have policies not to report information and quotes taken from other sources without confirmation (two "reliable" sources or speaking directly with an individual who has been quoted). Keith's routine failure to follow this policy is the source of his greatest embarrasments including his "quoting" a non-existant professor from an Indiana University about a ficticious report published in a satirical online "newspaper" - The Hoosier Gazette.

    My point is only that Keith is once again demonstrating that Countdown is not a legitimate news outlet and Keith is not a journalist.

    Regarding Dan Rather, I happen to know most of the blogging folks who were involved in getting the Rathergate story out to the MSM. Papers like the Washington Post looked at what the blogs wrote but did their own reporting and fact-checking and found that SOME (not all) of what was being said on blogs was true and reported the information they could verify plus whatever else they found themselves. For instance, no blogger spoke directly to executives at CBS News or Mary Mapes or her "source" in Texas but reporters in the MSM did. What unseated Dan Rather was not the blogs per se but that the MSM looked into what the blogs were claiming, discovered some damning evidence and began to report out the story in a way that ultimately led to the internal investigation that resulted in Rather being demoted, Mapes being fired and other producers being asked to resign.

    There would be nothing wrong with Keith reporting information first disclosed on blogs but Keith does not do that. He has a documented (on this site) history of lifting material directly from the internet without fact-checking and putting it on the air AS IF he or someone at MSNBC had reported out the story.

    There would be no problem with this if Countdown was presented as comedy/entertainment of commentary/opinion show and Keith presented as a "news analyst" but it and he is not. Keith is listed as a "news anchor" just like Brian Williams, Lester Holt and John Siegenthaler. This issue touches on a question that has been raised at various conferences I have attended at Harvard, Stanford and elsewhere: if a journalist (supposedly objective) discloses their personal opinions on events or people they cover in a speech, in an OP-ED, on a blog, or whatever, can they then go back and claim to be objective.

    The answer is generally "no" but most folks at these conferences recognize that we have entered a new media landscape and the old rules are changing. In this brave new world, reporters may well move back and forth between commenting on the news and reporting the news. Blogger/Partisans may be credentialed as journalists. PR firms may produce news segments for distribution to local news outlets. The only consensus I have heard in all of these discussions is that IF you are going to do this kind of stuff you have to be totally transparent. It is why what Armstrong Williams did was wrong - not disclosing he was being paid by the Education Department - but what Peggy Noonan did last fall was fine - she left the WSJ to work for Bush-Cheney but disclosed this in her last WSJ column and was open about it on shows like Hardball.

    I know that someone who routinely hides behind psuedonyms to lie and make foul-mouthed personal attacks about her betters will have no idea what I mean by transparency but I am sure there is a dictionary at your local public library so, to quote Yogi Berra, you could look it up.

    Bob-- if you have one example of my making "foul mouthed" personal attacks, I'd like to see it. Moreover, I'm not using a fake name here, as Guckert did, so I fail to see the relevance of your analogy. M, is the first letter of my first name and, as it happens, also the first letter of my last name. I'm hardly "anonymous", as you've mentioned we've exchanged emails, you know who i am. You could out me if you wanted, so I hardly think I'm hiding.

    And for the record, the "foul mouthed" behavior that Mr. Cox is referring to occurred over on some other KO discussion space where Bob often anonymously trolls and lurks. This has become increasingly obvious as Bob has started repeating things that were only said on that particular board. To further make my point, the site on which Mr. Cox anonymously trolls and lurks , is a site full of women who sit around and talk about how hot and sexy KO is.

    You just gotta love the hypocrisy of Bob Cox.

    and to add to the hypocrisy, Mr. Cox is accusing me of making personal attacks. When I think it's perfectly clear to eveyone on this site that he takes every oppotunity to make personal attacks against me. Name calling and all.

    "To further make my point, the site on which Mr. Cox anonymously trolls and lurks , is a site full of women who sit around and talk about how hot and sexy KO is."


    So, Bob, we thought you were spending your time with a relief effort for sick people who had been deluged, not sick people who are deluded.

    C-

    Ahhhh. More name calling. Very well done. And as usual, no sense of humor.

    "And as usual, no sense of humor."

    ??????!! :D

    You know what really makes me mad about this, two things:

    1 With a lack of evidence, liberals have pilloried this guy, made him lose his job and awakened the yahoos into making threats on his mother. He was crying when he talked about it to the guy on KO, Frankenfilter or whatever.

    2. The real reason they went after him is that he was asking conservative questions in the WH press corps, and the liberals feel it is their devine right to control the atmosphere there. Helen Thomas can be blatanly rude from a delusional left wing perspective and give flat out anti America speeches in there for thirty straight years, but one conservative comes in and that automatically means he is doing something corrupt.

    That infuriates me from the perspective of one who holds a minority opinion and whose views have been shut out of the WH press process for years. Finally someone gets in there who thinks how I do, doesn't do anything wrong, and he is crucified on the alter of arrogant entitlement of liberals who think only their view should be represented. It is a shame and I hope after no evidence comes out to defame this guy, that Kos is blasted til he apologizes for what he did to this guys career and family.

    We really need to hold Kos's feet to the fire for this one. And isn't Kos a fake name btw? And isn't Kos the one with the fake credential to the Dem convention or something?

    Napa,

    Here's your chance to own a keepsake from this poor lamb.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=4103&item=3957884948

    Napa--

    "And isn't Kos a fake name btw? And isn't Kos the one with the fake credential to the Dem convention or something?"

    I really hope this another attempt at lame humor or satire. If not, I'll clear this up for you: Kos' name is Markos...as in marKOS. Get it?

    Cecilia, that's pretty funny, twenty bids already, not bad. Who is going to pay $20 bucks for that when you can make your own.

    Kos is a fake name then, my point is that a lot of people use fake names, M, lets see Gannon and Guckert both start with G, so everyone should have known, right?

    I had been reading Kos for awhile, then saw that a Markos Moulitas was blogging the Dem convention and had a huge internet following, and I had no idea he was Daily Kos. Who would if that is all you knew, so your argument is weak. At least it is not delusional this time.

    For the life of me I cannot understand that even if the worst is true, that the Bushies let a conservative journalist into the WH press pool to mix with the 50 or more liberal attack dogs, what is wrong with that? What if a black journalist was let in because, let's face there are an awful of white faces in there, who worked for a left wing black journal with limited subscribers just to get another voice in there? What happened to diversity? Let's have diverstity as long as it is all liberal. Just like on campuses.

    Are there any conservative blogs blogging on this story? Anyone? I saw TND did one piece last night, and Powerline said he wasn't going to talk about it because there was nothing he could see that the guy did wrong, so he agrees with me, but I think the conservative blogs are falling down by not actively defending this more. Even if all the worst is true this guy did nothing wrong.

    Actually, Kos is a shortened version of his name. Not a fake name. Just like Tom for Thomas or Bob for Robert. Are you really trying to make the argument that Bob Cox uses a fake name by identifying himself as Bob instead of Robert? On the other hand Jeff is in no way a shortened version of James. And the real difference is that he changed his last name, something neither Kos nor Bob has done. And while I understand that someone could have seen Markos' name and not realized he was Kos, it certainly is easy to find if you go to DailyKos. That's not the case with Gannon/Guckert. Hence the problem when people realized his real name was different. There was no way to determine whether he was just using a pen name or trying to obscure his true identity, even from the WH. So, no, my argument is hardly weak. Stop trying to make this seem like some normal everyday event and that everyone does it. It isn't and they don't. Doesn't mean he did anything wrong, but it's weird, at best.

    It doesn't mean he has done anything wrong? Are you starting to see the light??? :)

    My point exactly on the rest of it, people change their names or use other pen names all the time, ie Napablogger for me. I just like the sound of it, it is like an identity for me. I could call my site michaelhaleyblogger but Napablogger is more fun. This guy wanted an easy to prounounce name that didn't sound ucky like Glucker, rhymes with... well, you know.

    Commentary about Gannon and Jordan Eason matter on CNN's Reliable Sources today:

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0502/13/rs.01.html

    Napa,

    I just got back in town and haven't checked to see if you'd reacted tp any earlier posts, but while I'm here...

    Comparing anonymous posts on a blog to what Glucker did under an assumed name is like comparing a Van Dyke to Billy Gibbon's beard. Could it ne that conservatives are avoiding this issue because would prefer it go away quickly?

    When you've gotten WH credentials as Napablogger or whatevever pseudonym you prefer and lobbed softballs at an administration, come back to discuss what's not wrong with that. In your heart, do you, truly believe that's the purpose the press is to supposed to perform?

    It's not often I agree with David Corn but he's gotten it almost 100% right about Gannon:'

    http://www.davidcorn.com/2005/02/problems_with_g.php

    I, too feel that Corn's is a worthwhile analysis of "Gannongate". Thanks, C.