Monday, February 21, 2005

Hi there!
I am Hepkitty's signifigant other, and would like to introduce myslf. While i have always held the same views as my beloved, i have remained decidedly silent where she would stand up and give her opinions at large. This was fine... for a while... but now i find myself with something to say (a term friends of mine may find amusing coming from my mouth ;) )
In the following few days i will be posting my own opinions and analysis on a subject that has very much raised a bit of my ire, that of one Mr. James Guckert (AKA Jeff Ganon).
For my first post, let me offer up my first editorial:

In the last few weeks, it has been brought to light that an individual calling himself Jeff Gannon, who had been attending White House press briefings for the past two years, was in actuality James Guckert, a man whose journalistic credentials are questionable to say the very least. Unlike others who attend the White House daily briefings, serving the function for their respective news services of asking questions and reporting back to their media outlets, Mr. Gannon served a function for those being asked the questions. Jeff Gannon it seems was at the White House to offer a lifeline to Scott McLellan, and even Mr. Bush himself just two weeks ago. On occasions when other reporters were asking questions that no one was fond of answering, McLellan could always count on Jeff Gannon to be there with the ‘softball’, or as I prefer to call it the ‘Tee-ball’ question, that would either change the subject to something that the administration wanted to talk about, or just a question filled with venom and misrepresentations directed toward opponents of the administration’s policies. With Mr. Gannon’s politics and connections coming forth these past few days, there is nothing in the way of a valid answer as to his presence at the briefings from the White House.

Quoting Mr. McLellan: My understanding was, when he started coming to the White House about two years ago, the staff asked to see that it -- that he represented a news organization that published regularly. And they showed that, so he was cleared and has been cleared ever since based on that time.

This speaks directly to the definition of a ‘News Organization’, and if Talon News (an organization that apparently didn’t exist until 2 months after Gannon got his first press pass) or GOPUSA fit the definition to Mr. McLellan or White House staffers, than anyone can go to the White House, be admitted to the briefing room and not only have the chance to ask a question of the press secretary, but of the president himself on nationally broadcast television. This notion in and of itself is ridiculous for McLellan to even have implied given this administration’s rightful obsession with security in the days following 9/11. Mr. 'Gannon' is no more a reporter than my wife is, who also ‘publishes regularly’ for her blog, and I am willing to bet that neither she nor I would get past the front door if we tried to gain access to the briefing room. Guckert, or Gannon, or what ever he prefers to be called is the most recent symptom of a horrible malady; an administration that has taken manipulation of the media to an art form. Whether or not there was a profit motive for Mr. Guckert, and I genuinely think that this was most likely an unspoken arrangement based on his loyalty to the administration’s agenda, the evidence in this instance, taken with the administration’s payments to three other journalists for support of it’s policies, along with the treasonous offense of the possible outing of an undercover CIA operative to Robert Novak and others in the media in apparent retaliation for a report that contradicted an administration assertion about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, leads to one ugly word: Propaganda.

This is a word that I have heard being used quite a lot over the past few days, and it is a word that should never be taken lightly. Propaganda is defined as the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause. By this definition, propaganda should by default be considered totally unrelated to the concept of ‘news’, which is defined as information about recent events or happenings, especially as reported by various outlets including newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, and in the modern age, websites.

People use the news to stay informed as to things going on in the world around them. Propaganda is used to shift people’s opinions in a specified direction. I have a very old-fashioned thing that I like to do, while some of my friends who enjoy things like Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh radio show may think it is quaint, but I would like to offer this hobby of mine up for general consideration. I like to call it ‘Thinking for Myself’. It sounds strange, but in my spare time when not working or puttering around the house, I like to sit and read, watch television and browse websites with the idea of formulating my own opinions based on what I consider to be valid information on a given subject.

President Bush on January 26th, 2005 said it himself when responding to a ‘hard’ question about the administration’s payments to journalists for supporting his agenda: Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet. It should also be noted that following his answer, he called on, you guessed it, Jeff Gannon for his next question: Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy: Harry Reid, who's talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. You've said you're going to reach out to these people. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?

This question, one of Mr. Gannon’s last questions asked in a ‘professional’ capacity, was based on comments made by Rush Limbaugh, confirmed by Limbaugh and posted on what once was Jeff Gannon’s own website.

In the interest of honest discourse, one must never be afraid to, or so secure in their opinions as to not, ask justifiable questions that pertain to the country in which we live and how it is run. Ask these questions to yourself, your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and your representatives in government. Ask these questions because the media isn’t going to ask them for you. These are not unfair or unwarranted questions, and there is no harm in asking so long as you receive a definitive and reasonable answer.

1. If this administration is honestly working for the best interests of the American people, why does it make use of ‘ringers’ in the White House briefing room to lighten the mood when too many ‘hard’ questions are being asked?
2. If the Bush administration has policies that are indeed good for the American people, why has this administration felt the need to pay for commentators to promote it’s agenda?

This final question is for the media:
3. With all of this being brought to the light of day, where are the Woodward and Bernstein of the 21st century?

If we as Americans truly care about this republic, we should never be afraid to ask questions about how our affairs are being conducted at the highest levels, and we should be truly afraid for the state of our democracy when we receive no answers. There are so many examples of impropriety by this administration over the past four years, yet the major media outlets seem to have forgotten an old term, and for their sake and ours I feel compelled to remind them at this time that ‘Where there is smoke, there is fire’.


There will be more i will post later that will range far afield from this first post, but this is as good of a place to start as any given the loads of material we liberal's have been given to work with. I have seen enough of this garbage that passes for government these past 4 years, and i would be commiting a personal sin by remaining silent. I am outraged, and I am determined to add my voice to the others that see problems with this administration. Hopefully someone will read this and feel the same.



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