Friday, February 18, 2005

Sex-Free Conspiracy

Joe Conason presents a much more reasonable conspiracy theory than mine. His isn't so much a theory as a list of facts that fit together and explain what happened. You see the difference between some joker on a website and a real investigative journalist?

Long before "Jeff Gannon" became a household pseudonym in the nation's capital, he had earned considerable recognition among the political elites of South Dakota. During that state's closely contested Senate race last year, the Talon News writer - whose real name is now known to be James Dale Guckert - dug his claws deep into Tom Daschle, the former Senate minority leader narrowly defeated by Republican John Thune.

In 2004 Republican leaders placed no higher price on any head, besides John Kerry's, than on the Senate Democratic leader's. For years, conservative organizations had attacked Daschle with campaigns that included notorious ads that paired the Army veteran with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The smear efforts damaged Daschle's standing with the state's voters, and as the election grew nearer, Republican blogs and Web sites took up the dirty work. In what has now been exposed as a blatant Republican strategy, the seemingly independent bloggers had in fact been paid by the Thune campaign.

While promoting Talon and Gannon as credible journalistic sources, Lauck's blog reprinted sensational paragraphs posted by Gannon on the Talon News Web site, urging readers to take special note of the Talon reporter's "quite interesting article" about Daschle's "Sopranos-style" tactics. The story contained no actual evidence of misconduct by either the Democratic senator or the Sioux Falls newspaperman, beyond anonymous quotes that accused them of Mafia-like intimidation of "small business owners" and other beleaguered anti-Daschle dissidents. (The "Sopranos" story, like all of Gannon's other works, has been scrubbed by Talon's Republican owners from their Web site.)

The bloggers promoted dozens of Talon News attacks on Daschle, under the false flag of journalistic independence. They proclaimed themselves the paladins of truth, battling against South Dakota's "liberal media." Nobody in South Dakota would know until months after Nov. 2, when Daschle was so narrowly defeated, that those "independent" bloggers dogging him had been subsidized by the Thune campaign. But there, on the final post-election filings, were the names Lauck and Van Beek, who had been paid $27,000 and $8,000, respectively.

And nobody in South Dakota could know, until now, the true identity and purpose of "Jeff Gannon" and his employers at Talon News.
So there you have it. It seems much more likely that BushCo gave Gannon/Guckert special treatment because he was a flaming sword of Republican justice in South Dakota rather than a gay prostitute blackmailing someone on the WH staff. Too bad for them they didn't look into where else his flaming sword had been... [not a family-friendly link]

1 comment:

Capt. Willard said...

Check out this CBS story about the possible Rove/GannonGuckert connection: